Long Island is rife with strip-mall surprises. One of them is Mama D’s Italian Kitchen, an upbeat new trattoria in West Islip.
The place is actually the fourth Mama D's; the other three are in California — Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Newport Beach. The Long Island newcomer is owned by Denise and Jake Davidson whose mother, Diane Davidson (Mama D) inspired her sons to open restaurants using family recipes.
The West Islip branch, which has the same menu and decor as the others, is filled with the art of local children. From the straightforward Italian menu, I ordered what appeared to be the signature dish, house-made ravioli stuffed with ricotta and sauced with a robust marinara. Very good. Also satisfying: simple spaghetti and meatballs. The only quibble I had was with baked clams, whose bread crumb topping was overly salty. A fluke? Hope so.
Mama D’s Italian Kitchen is at 424 Montauk Hwy., West Islip, 631-482-8374.