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Attilio's Grill: From Smithtown to St. James

A plate of chicken and eggplant, served at

A plate of chicken and eggplant, served at Attilio's Grill in St. James, is a robust dish. (Feb. 2013) Credit: Newsday Joan Reminick

It's been several months since Attilio’s Grill relocated from a long-held Smithtown address to the digs of the former Bella Vita City Grill in St. James. The place was packed on a recent night when I stopped in for dinner. Clearly, chef-owner Sammy Mancini has a following. It doesn’t hurt that his straightforward Italian-American menu is so gently priced.

Crabcakes, at $7.95 for two, were well seasoned and pretty good, taking into account that they had been made with canned crabmeat. The kitchen should have done lots better, though, than it did with a shrimp and corn chowder, included in the price of an entree, that tasted of neither shrimp nor corn but, rather, a watery tomato base.

There were problems, as well, with a loosely assembled beef lasagna — huge but lacking in cohesion, the meat a bit gristly. Much better was a full-flavored special of sauteed chicken with eggplant in a lusty — if slightly oily — wine and tomato sauce ($16.95), which was followed by a creamy slice of old fashioned cheesecake for dessert. ($4.95).

The restaurant is open for lunch daily and, on Saturday and Sunday mornings, offers a breakfast menu. Choices include lemon mascarpone pancakes ($8.95), poached pear and vanilla bean French toast ($8.95) and a California egg white omelet with Cheddar, avocado and diced tomatoes ($9.95).

Attilio's Grill isn't affiliated with any similarly named Long Island restaurants.

Attilio’s Grill is at 430 N. Country Rd., St. James, 631-265-9801.

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