After years of sitting empty, the harborfront Port Jefferson space that once held The Graceful Rose is bearing a new identity: Due Baci Italian Restaurant, which opened in late July with a bill of Gallic and Sicilian food and the same views of the water and comings and goings of the Port Jeff ferry.
New owners Maria and Patrick Aubry are Port Jefferson residents, but this isn't their first turn around the wheel: They also own the Italian restaurant Amarone in Guilford, Conn., which they opened in 2018. Many of the dishes honed there are being served in Port Jefferson — including a meatball salad that "we've perfected," said Maria Aubry — and Due Baci chef Angelo Siguencia trained up in Guilford.
The Aubrys "refreshed" the 130-seat space, which retains elements of its past but is "updated, with cleaner lines," said Aubry. Will the couple hop the ferry often to shuttle between the two restaurants? Nope, they travel via air. "Our older son is a pilot, and he flies us over," said Aubry, cutting a journey that could take almost two hours to a fraction of that.
Down on Long Island, Baci's menu cinches together Italian and Sicilian dishes. Starters include calamari arrabiata, a house-made burrata with prosicutto and arugula, and that meatball salad, served over iceberg and mozzerella; pastas traverse the usual territory (linguine con vongole, pappardelle bolognese, and cavatelli with brocooli rabe and sausage among them) and Aubry said all of the pastas are made fresh here, save for gluten-free noodles.
Entrees range from cioppino and veal marsala to a Sicilian-style pork chop stuffed with onions, crispy potatoes, and green and cherry peppers. Aubry, a daughter of two chefs who sometimes also works the line, said daily changing specials may include pasta con le Sarde (pasta with sardines) and Sicilian-style lasagne with a base layer of sliced eggplant. Appetizers start around $9, and entrees range from $16 to $30. All desserts are $8, including Sicilian-style cassata.
Due Baci's predecessor, The Graceful Rose, was opened by recent lottery winners Mary and Richard Morrison in 2012; by the time it closed in 2015, seven chefs had passed through its kitchen.
Due Baci is open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner, starting at 11.30 a.m.
Due Baci Italian Restaurant, 154 W. Broadway, Port Jefferson. 631-377-5111. duebaciportjeff.com