Here are five standards for Italian-American cooking in Nassau and Suffolk.
Tony Colombos, Rockville Centre: Maybe it's the image of Sophia Loren or the voice of Dean Martin, but Tony Colombos makes nostalgia seem up-to-date. On the plate, try: spaghetti and meatballs; rice balls filled with beef ragu and peas; chicken parmigiana; beef braciola; fried calamari arrabbiata; and eggplant rollatini.
Rice balls are among the appetizers at Tony Colombos in Rockville Centre.
Mannino's, Commack: The newest and biggest Mannino's looks fancier but peaks with homey, hearty, familiar dishes. They include: sauteed escarole and beans; pan-seared pork chops with cherry peppers and fried potatoes; grilled octopus; chicken and eggplant parmigiana; and baked lasagna with ricotta and meat sauce.
Octopus salad is served at Mannino's in Commack.
Arturo's, Floral Park: Arturo's has been cooking just east of the Nassau-Queens line since 1961. Sample: torta primavera, or crepes layered with cheese, vegetables and cured meats; eggplant rollatini; chicken parmigiana; meatballs marinara; minestrone; rigatoni Siciliana; and clams oreganata.
Rigatoni Arturo is rigatoni flambeed with diced smoked salmon and onions in a pink vodka sauce at Arturo's in Floral Park.
Mamma Lombardi's, Holbrook: The cornerstone of the Lombardi food group is the original restaurant. The winners include: pasta e fagioli; penne arrabbiata with hot red pepper; pork braciola stuffed with garlic, pine nuts, raisins and Pecorino Romano cheese; chicken and sausage campagnola; and lobster fra diavolo.
Angel hair marecchiare, a pasta with mussels, clams and shrimp in a light marinara sauce, is served at Mamma Lombardi's in Holbrook.
Sergio's, Massapequa: The look is almost genteel by now; the approach, old-fashioned. The dishes to take in: tripe marinara with potatoes and onions; Sicilian-style salad of oranges; sausage and peppers; stuffed artichoke; and stuffed eggplant.
Stuffed artichoke is served Sergio's in Massapequa.