Cacio e pepe is among the Italian specialties at Abbracciamento...

Cacio e pepe is among the Italian specialties at Abbracciamento in Lynbrook. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

“Abbracciamento” is a name that resounds through New York City culinary history, and now Frank Abbracciamento is bringing it to Long Island with the opening of his elegant Italian restaurant in Lynbrook.

Frank’s father, Sal Abbracciamento, operated a restaurant on Liberty Avenue in Brooklyn from 1937 to 1977. Sal’s brother, Joe, founded the Queens restaurant that operated from 1948 to 2014. And, after a successful run of restaurants in Manhattan, Frank himself operated the landmark Abbracciamento on Brooklyn’s Canarsie Pier from 1983 to 2001.

 Until he retired last year, Frank ran the food service at Manhattan’s Explorer Club. He was relieved to abandon his Belt Parkway commute but, otherwise, did not take well to retirement, and he began to cast about for a restaurant property on Nassau’s South Shore. He settled upon the well-hidden building at 174 Merrick Rd., which had most recently been the Trattoria at P Twelve and, before that, Da Gigi, which earned three stars from Newsday in 2017.

An engineer by training, Frank gutted the labyrinthine space, building two comfortable dining rooms connected by a long, marble-topped bar. Except for the oak floors, everything — wainscoting, table linens, pickled brick — is white. Through the clever use of pocket doors, the layout is flexible enough to accommodate private parties, large and small.

In the kitchen, much of the Da Gigi band is back together: Chef de cuisine Will Merget is back on pasta, much of it made in house, and Federico Sammarone, formerly general manager, is back in chef whites. Their menu is notable for what isn’t on it: no penne alla vodka, no chicken or veal Parmesan.

Instead, start your meal with beef carpaccio with horseradish crema ($22), grilled Italian sausage with cannellini beans and sage ($18), Tuscan kale salad with fresh mint, almonds and sherried shallots ($16). Cacio e pepe ($20) is made with nothing but spaghetti, pecorino and pepper; trofie (fresh Genovese macaroni) are tossed with made-to-order pesto ($20). Among mains: garlic-rosemary-roasted Cornish hen with wild-mushroom ragu and gremolata ($30), cod poached in a tomato-garlic broth with anchovies, olives, capers and basil ($30).

Frank’s wife Aniko makes the restaurant’s breads, desserts and gelato.

Da Gigi’s founding executive chef Pierluigi “Gigi” Sacchetti, who left Lynbrook in 2018 for Noble Kitchen & Cocktails in Oceanside, is poised to announce his next gig.

Abbracciamento is open Tuesday to Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday to 11 p.m. and on Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m.

174 Merrick Rd., Lynbrook, 516-758-7424,

Top Stories