One of the latest restaurants to join Long Island’s Italian dining is designed as an homage to owner Michael Gravinese’s Southern Italian ancestry.
Cassano Ristorante Italiano takes its name Cassano delle Murge a village in Puglia about 30 minutes inland from Bari where Gravinese’s father was born and his grandfather still calls home.
The old Cafe la Strada (which closed in 2015) was given an extensive renovation that features brick walls in the 70-seat dining room, and a new bar that seats 16 more.
Gravinese, who has worked in Italian restaurants since he was 13, most recently managed Verona in Farmingdale. To run the kitchen, he hired executive chef Moris Valle (three of whose brothers just opened Casa di Fratelli in Westbury, another two run Milito’s in Huntington Station).
He said about a third of the menu leans toward Pugliese cuisine, including patate, riso e cozze, a layered dish of sliced potatoes, risotto and mussels all finished with a light marinara sauce and the crespelle, a family recipe that entails house-made crepes that are stuffed with ricotta cheese.
“That’s a dish when I go to Italy, my grandmother and aunt make for me,” Gravinese said.
352 Wheeler Rd., Hauppauge; 631-761-6600, cassanoristorante.com