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PastaVino Italian Bistro

UPDATED 10/1/09

When chef Phil Iannuccilli left Maxxels earlier this year and went to work full-time at pastaVino, the company's other restaurant, Maxxels pretty much kept to the New American theme, trimming around the edges but not changing dramatically. That Mineola eatery is slated for an overhaul soon.  

Iannuccilli's recent exit from pastaVino (yes, that's how they spell it) has had a little more impact. Maybe it's because the "Italian bistro" is so much more about big flavors.

The popular place certainly looks the same and the menu hasn't been jettisoned. But the arancini, or rice balls, are a bit drier; likewise, the little meatballs in sweet-and-sour sauce. The meat sauce with the mini-rigatoni Bolognese, however, has some of the old spark. And the combo of sausages, broccoli rabe and polenta covered with roasted-pepper sauce does, too. Orange-scented strufoli, or honey balls, could be lighter. Service still is friendly and to the point. Fine-tuning required.

pastaVino is at 149 Mineola Blvd.; 516-294-1715.

This "Italian bistro" is very much about big flavors. The popular place certainly looks the same and the menu hasn't been jettisoned since chef Phil Iannuccill of Maxxels joined the staff earlier this year. But the arancini, or rice balls, are a bit drier; likewise, the little meatballs in sweet-and-sour sauce.

The meat sauce with the mini-rigatoni Bolognese, however, has some of the old spark. And the combo of sausages, broccoli rabe and polenta covered with roasted-pepper sauce does, too.

Orange-scented strufoli, or honey balls could be lighter. Service still is friendly and to the point. Fine-tuning required. -- Peter M. Gianotti

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