The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
There’s a feeling of calm that comes over me when I sit down to dinner at Trattoria Diane in Roslyn Village. The restaurant opened in 1993, and though the menu has changed in the ensuing decades — evolving from French to Tuscan to Roman to its current Roman-pan-Italian-New-American fusion — it remains one of the most satisfying, consistent venues on Long Island.
Here’s what hasn’t changed: John and Diane Durkin still own it. John is the executive chef and Diane, who also runs Diane’s Bakery next door, looks after the baked goods. The staff is well-trained, friendly, efficient. The tasteful dining room has a low-key elegance that is almost as rare in Nassau County as is its hushed decibel level. The flatware and stemware are lovely, the fruity olive oil hasn't been “enhanced” (read: tainted) with balsamic vinegar or herbs, the wine list is excellent. Aaaah.
One of the only clues here that you’re in a Long Island Italian restaurant is the size of the portions. I started with a plate of delicate, ricotta-filled ravioli anointed simply with browned butter and strewn with fresh peas, fava beans and asparagus. In Bologna — or in Manhattan — this would have served two; I had to take the last few ravioli home. (They made a darn good breakfast.) Nor could I finish my main course of expertly sauteed monkfish scaloppine served with roasted cauliflower and a sweet-and-sour sauce that called to mind the flavors of Sicily. A big slice of Diane’s signature three-berry pie brought me safely back to Roslyn.
Trattoria Diane is at 21 Bryant Ave. Roslyn, 516-621-2591.