Grotta di Fuoco is firing up dining out in Long Beach.
Go down the industrial metal steps and you're in a bustling, lively, sub-street space that could have been exported from Williamsburg or another hot quarter of Brooklyn. And the lively, rustic Italian food is a welcome addition to West Beech Street.
Try a wood-fired pizza capped with eggplant, fennel, pecorino cheese, arugula and enough cherry peppers to give the restaurant its aflame name. Cool off with tuna crudo. Enjoy the richness of fettuccine alla carbonara. Sample the salt-cured cod puttanesca. And definitely order one of the artfully presented sweets. The favorite: olive oil cake with raspberry jam and raspberry sorbet.
Grotta di Fuoco is situated at the address of the departed Caffe Laguna. Its owner, Andrew Allotti, worked there, and at Sole in Oceanside.
It gets noisy fast. Service can be either rushed or inattentive. But that may be part of the image, too.
Grotta di Fuoco, 960 W. Beech St., Long Beach; 516-544-2400.