La Pace with Chef Michael, a fixture in Glen Cove for more than 30 years, has closed.
Chef-owner Michael Mossallam said that between the taxes, the mortage, the punishing schedule, the increasing cost of doing business, the decreasing dinner checks and the generally soft economy, he just couldn't see his way forward. He recently took a job as executive chef at Brookville Country Club in Old Brookville where, he said, many of his old customers are members.
The stately restaurant was one of the last remaining old-line Italian-Continentals that for decades defined fine dining on Long Island. Now it joins Pappagallo in Glen Head, Capriccio in Jericho and La Veranda in Glen Cove in that great white-tableclothed dining room in the sky.
La Pace was opened in 1978 by Angelo Ventrella. It was named for the famous Italian restaurant La Pace, in Montecatini Terme in Tuscany. Ventrella, who has retired to Florida, said that it originally combined French classics such as Chateaubriand and crepes Suzette flambéed table side with “Northern” Italian dishes such as fettuccine Alfredo that were new to Long Island. “We were one of the first to serve porcini mushrooms,” Ventrella said, “and imported buffalo mozzarella.”
La Pace earned four stars from Newsday's Peter M. Gianotti in 1989 and again in 1993. In 2005, Ventrella sold the restaurant to Michael Mossallam, who had spent the previous 19 years as executive chef of the North Hempstead Country Club in Port Washington. Mossallam renamed the restaurant La Pace with Chef Michael and updated the menu.
Shortly thereafter, Gianotti gave the restaurant three stars, writing that “while the establishment isn’t quite the same, it's still a definite destination. The new La Pace is excellent, its personality warm and generous. The grand, high-ceiling dining room remains as it was. Likewise the seamless, gracious service from a veteran staff.”
Another venerable restaurant closed this week, Canterbury Ales in Huntington.