The Trattoria in St. James: First bites

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Ribollita, traditionally a soup made with leftovers, is Ribollita, traditionally a soup made with leftovers, is fresh and bracing during January 2014 at The Trattoria in St. James. Photo Credit: Newsday / Peter M. Gianotti

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

There is a cure for this winter's merciless chill: ribollita at The Trattoria.

This Tuscan-inspired soup, traditionally made with leftovers, is bracing, enriched with chicken and full of freshness at The Trattoria, the successor to Kitchen A Trattoria.

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Chef-owner Steve Gallagher, who for years was chef at Kitchen A Trattoria, has improved on a very good thing, with ribollita and just about everything else at the compact eatery.

Gallagher bought the restaurant in November from Eric Lomando, who still owns Kitchen A Bistro in St. James and Orto in Miller Place.

Enjoy the fresh ricotta and the crusty bread. Try the roasted garlic and Gorgonzola cheese. Revel in lasagna or spaghetti alla carbonara. Savor the pork loin with apple-braised cabbage and rye gnocchi. Cut into a delicious apple crostata.

And reserve early. The Trattoria seats fewer than 25. No credit cards; checks and cash only. It's also BYO. Bring a celebratory wine.

The Trattoria, 532 N. Country Rd., St. James; 631-584-3518.

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