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Ragazzi Italian Kitchen & Bar

Diners fill tables at Ragazzi Italian Kitchen &

Diners fill tables at Ragazzi Italian Kitchen & Bar in Nesconset. (Oct. 3, 2010) Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Ragazzi Italian Kitchen & Bar has a polished look and a noisy vibe. You can hear Sinatra on the sound system but not the person across the table from you. So forget intimate conversation, relax and focus on your food.

You're in competent hands. After years on the Nassau-Suffolk Italian food circuit, co-owner Roger Bedoian and chef Fausto Sorto know what Long Islanders want.


MANGIA MANGIA

Share a Margherita pizza, its crust crisp yet puffy; sauce and cheese ooze together nicely. Insalata Mediterraneo (romaine, feta, red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and black olives in a roasted garlic-red wine vinaigrette) is fresh if not particularly inspired.

So very satisfying: bone-in chicken scarpariello with sausage, potatoes, peppers and onions in a rosemary, garlic and oil sauce. Another winning chicken dish is pollo nonna, boneless breasts in a chardonnay wine-lemon sauce with artichoke hearts and capers.

I taste the sea in a big bowl of al dente linguine al molusco, made with fresh littleneck clams and just the right hit of garlic. Lasagna rollatini - ridged pasta roll-ups with ricotta, mozzarella and a meaty Bolognese sauce - is all-out comfort.

Finales alone are worth the trip. There's pesca dena, lovely baked peaches with crushed amaretti cookies topped with sweet mascarpone cream. And light, clean-tasting panna cotta (vanilla pudding) with Cointreau-steeped berries.


MEZZA MEZZA

The melanzane pizza, made with roasted eggplant, is a heavy ride. Aiming for trendiness but falling flat is sushi Italiano, a roll made with prosciutto, rice, herbs and roasted pepper with balsamic reduction. Spiedini here are overcooked little chicken kebabs.


MONEY-SAVING TIPS

Split a Margherita pizza and go directly to entrees (most big enough to make two meals); you'll leave with a doggy bag. Save cash and calories: Share dessert.

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