The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
Theres 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.
Heres what hasnt changed: John and Diane Durkin still own it. John is the executive chef and Diane, who also runs Dianes 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 youre 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 Dianes signature three-berry pie brought me safely back to Roslyn.
Trattoria Diane is at 21 Bryant Ave. Roslyn, 516-621-2591.