Ragazzi Italian Kitchen & Bar
2950 Middle Country Rd. Nesconset, NY 631-265-8200
Large portions of good food served in a polished dining room with a noisy vibe.
Kids can learn all about Italy from their menus, which contain puzzles, quizzes, word games and more. Choices range from a 6-inch pizza to the ever-popular pasta with butter or tomato sauce, mac and cheese and chicken fingers with fries, each at $7.95.Hours:
Lunch, daily, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; dinner, Sunday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.Ambience:
Ragazzi Italian Kitchen & Bar has a polished look and a noisy vibe. You can hear Sinatra on the sound system but not the person across the table from you. So forget intimate conversation, relax and focus on your food.
Share a Margherita pizza, its crust crisp yet puffy; sauce and cheese ooze together nicely. Insalata Mediterraneo (romaine, feta, red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and black olives in a roasted garlic-red wine vinaigrette) is fresh if not particularly inspired.
So very satisfying: bone-in chicken scarpariello with sausage, potatoes, peppers and onions in a rosemary, garlic and oil sauce. Another winning chicken dish is pollo nonna, boneless breasts in a chardonnay wine-lemon sauce with artichoke hearts and capers.
I taste the sea in a big bowl of al dente linguine al molusco, made with fresh littleneck clams and just the right hit of garlic. Lasagna rollatini - ridged pasta roll-ups with ricotta, mozzarella and a meaty Bolognese sauce - is all-out comfort.
Finales alone are worth the trip. There's pesca dena, lovely baked peaches with crushed amaretti cookies topped with sweet mascarpone cream. And light, clean-tasting panna cotta (vanilla pudding) with Cointreau-steeped berries.
The melanzane pizza, made with roasted eggplant, is a heavy ride. Aiming for trendiness but falling flat is sushi Italiano, a roll made with prosciutto, rice, herbs and roasted pepper with balsamic reduction. Spiedini here are overcooked little chicken kebabs.
Split a Margherita pizza and go directly to entrees (most big enough to make two meals); you'll leave with a doggy bag. Save cash and calories: Share dessert.