The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
It was the bread at St. Rocco’s Bakery in Glen Cove that first caught my attention. In October 2012, John and Lisa Sacchetta resurrected the brick-oven bakery that had started making rustic Italian loaves in 1940.
Under the Sacchettas, the savory bakery also branched into sweets with an immense range of cakes, pies, tarts, pastries and cookies. Also on offer — to take home or to enjoy at one of the bakery’s wrought-iron cafe tables — fresh sandwiches made with St. Rocco’s fine loaves and rolls.
But I also kept hearing about the pizza, made in a wood-burning brick oven. I stopped by yesterday to sample it and was very impressed. The spare topping — sweet tomatoes, fresh cheese, good olive oil, basil — could not be improved upon. The crust was crisper and less puffy around the edges than a true pizza Napolitana. (For good reason: It’s been my experience that most Americans don’t like the droopy, doughy pie that they find in Naples.)
A fellow customer asked how I liked my pie. I gave him a slice and in return I got to try some of his Sicilian slice. Also excellent. And yet another example of achieving world peace through pizza. (A 12-inch Margherita is $12; a slice of Sicilian is $3.)
I couldn’t leave St. Rocco’s empty-handed, so I took home a box of assorted cookies. The standouts were tender, nut-topped pecan-bourbon cookies ($16.99 a pound) and what the bakery calls “the greatest chocolate chip cookie on earth” ($9.99 a pound — one costs about $1.10). I wouldn’t go so far as that, but they were pretty darn good, with the bittersweet chocolate melting right into the cookie proper.
St. Rocco's Bakery is at 4 St. Rocco Place, Glen Cove, 516-427-5333.