The night I visited Fargiano’s Pizza & Pasta in East Islip, singing chef Richard Desmond was nowhere to be seen. But, late in the meal, his operatic voice rang out in song from the kitchen. And his hand was evident in several dishes.
One was a gratis bowl of Desmond’s trademark hummus with basil oil. A fine dip, served with pieces of basil-garlic bread — excessive, yes, but good. Also served before the meal: garlic knots and pepperoni pinwheels.
Desmond, whom you might remember from his stints at Bliss in East Setauket and Public House 49 in Patchogue, makes a rich and heady eggplant basil bisque ($3.95) as well as a verdant full-flavored spinach soup with delicate Parmesan balls and meatballs ($3.95). But in the case of a special, herb-crusted cod ($16.95), the fish was obscured by its heavy tomato and herb topping. On the side: very good bucatini in tomato sauce.
Dessert was Desmond at his best: an airy, boozy pumpkin tiramisu ($5.95) with fresh whipped cream.
The pizzeria-ristorante is ultracasual, with plastic red checkered cloth and plastic utensils. But although there were lags between courses, the table service was gracious. As of now, the place has no liquor license.
Fargiano’s Pizza & Pasta, 93 E. Main St., East Islip, 631-650-9595, fargianospizza.com