I was very kindly disposed toward Osteria da Nino since it occupies the site of Kebabi Alem Professional Kebab House. During the brief tenure of hit-and-run Turkish chef Orhan Yegen from April 2001 to April 2002, this was one of the best restaurants on Long Island.
It was a late dinner, and so we ordered only a few items. The meal started on a number of good notes. Service is friendly, the room is warm. A nice glass of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo in good stemware, really good rustic bread served with an olive oil with a little kick of fennel. The calamari was well fried if, sadly, a little short on tentacles.
But two big bowls of pasta were disappointing. Slightly overdone rigatoni came in a lifeless tomato-cream sauce with peas. Tough fettuccine had had far too much tomato sauce dumped on top—the pasta should have been briefly cooked with the sauce to marry the two—and was served with unpleasantly spongy veal meatballs that tasted vaguely and inappropriately of truffles.
Osteria da Nino is at 292 Main St., Huntington, 631-425-0820.
Newsday photo / Howard Schnapp