ITA Kitchen goes in for dramatic visuals. The décor in both Bay Shore and Garden City relies on a profusion of floral (albeit artificial) garlands, and the transparent igloos in Bay Shore were some of the showiest pandemic dining spaces. Likewise, the conception of many dishes throws restraint to the wind — this is a place where chicken Francese is topped with mozzarella and a cherry-pepper sauce and served on spinach, where a veal chop is smothered with prosciutto, mozzarella and truffle-mushroom Marsala sauce.
Now, in the East Moriches location that opened over Memorial Day weekend, the surroundings threaten to outshine both the décor and the platings. ITA Kitchen took over the waterside venue, in the Atlantic Cove Marina, that was last occupied by Coral Tapas but has been vacant since 2020.
Christina Sorrentino, who opened the Bay Shore restaurant in 2020 with her husband, Salvatore, said that the location belongs to one of their partners at Garden City (which opened last year).
From the parking lot you pass through a wildly garlanded archway. To your left is the low-slung building whose dining room offers views on three sides. To your right is serene Tuthill Cove, its shore is dotted with stately homes, most with private docks. And in front of you is Moriches Bay and, beyond that, the barrier island that extends from Cupsogue Beach County Park in the west to the storied West Hampton Dunes.
The restaurant makes the most of its location, with umbrella-ed tables planted in the wide gravel lawn that extends to the water and a lounge area where people can await takeout orders or enjoy a drink — or both. It is a truly spectacular setting.
Among the dishes that executive chef Matthew Sorrentino (Salvatore's brother) added to the lineup are Blue Point oysters on the half shell, tuna tartare, sesame-encrusted tuna and a cold lobster roll. More ITA-ish are the tower of shrimp and colossal crabmeat with smashed avocado and cherry-pepper aioli, and the pan-seared scallops with capers onion, red peppers, zucchini and risotto. Some non-seafood dishes are also unique to East Moriches, such as the ITA smashburger with two smashed patties topped with mozzarella, stracciatella, candied prosciutto, tomatoes, arugula and cherry-pepper aioli on a brioche bun. There’s also a puzzler called Okinawa ravioli whose pasta is stuffed with purple sweet potato and tossed with corn, peas, cherry peppers, sausage and béchamel sauce.
Most of ITA Kitchen’s greatest hits are here too, including the tableside mozzarella, which is made right in front of you and then plated with prosciutto, arugula, roasted red peppers, olive oil and balsamic.
The wine list here is brief but the signature cocktails include a Rainbow Cookie Martini (whipped cream vodka, crème de cacao, amaretto, raspberry puree and chocolate syrup) and the 128-ounce Notorious Rosé All Day Punch (Notorious pink rosé, vodka, lime juice, honey, and blackberry puree with fresh fruit).
ITA Kitchen, 215 Atlantic Ave., East Moriches; open Monday to Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., Friday from 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; 631-973-4548, itakitchen.com