Feed Me

The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.

Sophia Italian Bistro has opened in Amityville, a collaboration between two veterans of the Nassau County Italian restaurant scene.

In the kitchen is chef Enrique Bermeo, who earned 3 1/2 stars when he was cooking at Luigi Q in Hicksville. The dining room is the domain of Riccardo (Richie) Sanseverino, formerly of Tesoro in Westbury.

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Bermeo's menu is composed mostly of modern and classic Italian-American dishes -- clams oreganata, tuna carpaccio, tre colori salad, penne vodka, gnocchi pesto, veal Francese, roasted branzino. Most starters are less than $15, most pastas less than $20, most main dishes less than $26.

Villa d'Avanza was the last tenant of this Merrick Road spot. The new owners gave the dining room and lounge a much-needed update, replacing the 1980s era decor with lots of warm wood and brick.

Back in the 1960s, the spot hosted a restaurant called Vesuvio, whose owners, the Gandiosi family, were the grandparents of Sanseverino's wife. "Sophia" was the name of his wife's late aunt, who worked behind the bar and also became a second mother to the young couple. Sophia's photograph graces the back of the menu.

Parking note: Driving by, the situation looks bleak, but in fact there is ample parking (and a rear entrance) around the back of the restaurant, behind the neighboring South Shore Auto Sales.

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Sophia Italian Bistro is at 71 Merrick Rd., Amityville, 631-598-1150, sophiaitalianbistro.com