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49° Good Evening

A Touch of Venice

Gamberi alla griglia, grilled shrimp, is served with

Gamberi alla griglia, grilled shrimp, is served with asparagus and young artichokes over spaghetti at Touch of Venice. The restaurant is located on Main Road in Cutchogue, and is family-owned. (June 4, 2011) Credit: Photo by Randee Daddona

The North Fork may be the only corner of Long Island not overserved by Italian restaurants. That makes Touch of Venice's recent relocation to the center of Cutchogue all the more welcome.

For 23 years, TOV carried the torch of Italian cuisine at an out-of-the-way waterside spot in Mattituck. According to chef-owner Brian Pennacchia, although Mattituck was picturesque, "it was so far off the beaten path that after Labor Day we would pull our hair out." After five months of gutting and rebuilding the old Fisherman's Rest, Touch of Venice reopened in May.

Some early problems: On my visit, the friendly servers were overwhelmed by the crowd; getting our plates cleared and our flatware replaced was a struggle.

The kitchen handled the onslaught with far more aplomb. Across the board, the level of ingredients was very high, though the platings tended to be too involved. TOV's superb pomodoro sauce was deftly deployed in a baked eggplant Sorrentino; that same sauce couldn't bring together a dish of rigatoni topped with a snowy blob of fresh ricotta and a whole Berkshire pork sausage. Briny littlenecks were similarly disconnected from their overcooked spaghetti. Beautifully pan-fried fluke with fresh aioli salsa was set upon an off-puttingly huge pile of local spinach and garnished with big hunks of purple Peruvian potatoes. Then again, I seemed to be the only one put out by these missteps. My companions, and the room at large, seemed delighted by the generous portions of fresh, well-sourced food.

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