For almost half a century, Rose and Frank DiMartino and their equally able staff have been unfurling handrolled Neapolitan and Sicilian crusts, piled high with pizza-appropriate ingredients. Using family recipes brought over from Napoli, the brick oven torch is now carried stalwartly forward by their four children. Thin- and thick- rimmed crusts are laden with old standbys, including sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, anchovies, and peppers found on the Pappardelle’s supreme ($19.95/neopolitan) or more elaborate garnishments like fresh eggplant ($17.50/neopolitan). Beyond sauce-ensconced saucers, Pappardelle's invites diners to orally explore Italy with fresh salads ($6.25–$13.95), pasta al forno ($9.25–$14.95), and meaty entrees ($7.95–$20.75).
Inspired by their travels throughout Italy and the Mediterranean, the Ferrara and Gironta families decided to bring a bit of the Old World home by opening Serata—a restaurant committed to Italian cuisine made using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Housemade marinara sauce and imported prosciutto evoke the flavors of Italy, but the chefs depart from tradition by introducing their own modern spins on time-honored classics.
Much like the menu, the decor toes the line between traditional and contemporary. The dining room resembles an Italian cottage, surrounding diners with brickwork arches and faux Tuscan plaster walls. Simple wooden tables and wrought-iron chandeliers add to this rustic charm, but the restaurant's spirit changes drastically after the sun sets.
A display case of oven-fresh pizzas and savory side dishes greets diners when they approach the counter at Vincent's Pizzeria. The cooks bake dough in all shapes and sizes, selling slices or entire pies of Neapolitan, Sicilian-style, and deep-dish pizzas. Each cheesy canvas emerges from the oven with a layer of toppings from a selection of 12 meats and vegetables, which includes garlic, bacon, and spinach. Pizza eaters also have the option of customizing their pie-crusts with sesame, garlic, onion, poppy seeds, and salt, known as "The Edge." To lend a rustic touch to the pasta entrees, the cooks roll meatballs and simmer housemade tomato sauce over smoldering copies of Little House on the Prairie. Although the restaurant only holds a handful of tables in its dining area, it can also serve its customers by delivering orders to homes and catering special events.
The cooks at Frankie's Eastside Pizza prepare all pies and pastas fresh daily, which is no small feat when you consider the massiveness of their menu. It includes more than 45 specialty pizzas alone, loaded with eclectic toppings that run the gamut from eggplant rollatini to sweet barbecue rum chicken. The culinary team even crafts pies with gluten-free crusts or in the classic Brooklyn style, where each slice is shaped like the letter B.
The rest of Frankie's menu encompasses plenty of Italian classics, from generous portions of chicken scampi to hearty servings of housemade lasagna. For more American appetites, cooks toss fries in Cajun seasoning, pile roast beef into heroes, and fill wraps with ingredients like honey maple turkey.
A Long Island native born into an Italian American family, Joseph Balbo knew early on that he wanted to devote his life to cooking. He honed his skills at the Italian Culinary Institute in Calabria, learning to combine traditional, Old World sensibilities with a New World spirit of innovation. Now manning the stovetops at Porto Vivo, which the New York Times called “Huntington’s latest hot spot,” in 2009, Chef Balbo runs a kitchen that has served numerous celebrities, including Serena Williams, celebrity chef Todd English, and Billy Joel.
The menu brims with familiar yet refined Italian staples, such as lobster ravioli with shaved black truffle and parmesan-crusted veal milanese. The chefs also demonstrate their creativity by glazing pan-seared Alaskan halibut with a yuzu vinaigrette and frying grappa-soaked grapes. To accompany this range of flavors, the restaurant also features an extensive wine list, which earned Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. The selection emphasizes Italian producers, but it also boasts an array of bottles sourced elsewhere, including rare Californian wines as well as a first-growth bordeaux.
In many ways, the decor dovetails with the cuisine in its elegance and bringing together of disparate yet complementary elements. The clean, modern space features multiple levels, with high ceilings, taupe walls, leather booths, rich wood accents, and exposed brick.