The day before the last day of August seemed like prime time to track down some season-ending pesto. Mission accomplished. That luxurious kick of summer basil was mine for the taking at Riviera Grill in Glen Cove Thursday night, prepared in classic Genovese fashion, the pasta mingled with potatoes and green beans.
This particular version was made with pappardelle, wide ribbons of pasta, cubes of white potato and haricots verts, and was so successful because the pesto had been tossed in at the last minute, not heated up and rendered olive green. “There’s a lot of talent in the kitchen,’’ said owner Pietro Chiappella. He runs the front of the house with grace and humor, and went so far as to bow and sweetly kiss my hand when we left.
I hadn’t been to Riviera Grill for more than two years, and was moved to another level of respect this time by more than just the pesto dish: a generous appetizer of prosciutto over juicy fresh figs, tender grilled calamari and shrimp over roasted chickpeas, and a grilled branzino boned and plated with care all were almost better than they had to be.
All a nice ending to August.
Riviera Grill, 274 Glen St., Glen Cove, 516-674-9372.