Wading River's evolving restaurant scene has another new face: Ruggero's, a family-style Italian restaurant that has opened in the Shoppes at East Wind, where it is now the flagship eatery.
Ruggero's has about 200 seats spread across an airy dining room, a marble bar and a brick patio. Most of the dishes, from fried calamari to chicken scarpariello, can be ordered two ways, in either single or family-style portions.
Owner Kenn Barra, whose family also owns the retail complex, named Ruggero's for an uncle who once owned a restaurant in Little Italy when he was growing up. Barra recalled, "I would help him at the San Gennaro [feast]."
For Ruggero's menu, Barra consulted with Don Pintabona, the pioneering American chef from New York's Tribeca Grill; chef and general manager Sebastian Suarez, formerly of Caffe Amici in Selden, leads the kitchen. Ruggero's dishes don't stray far from Italian-American territory: Among the appetizers (starting at $13) is shrimp "Ruggero" — or shrimp smothered in a brandy cream sauce and piled onto Italian bread — as well as steamed PEI mussels, and burrata-prosciutto salad. Pastas (starting at $14) move from baked ziti and rigatoni Bolognese to sacchetini, or "little sacs," in a mushroom sauce, as well as pappardelle with a short-rib ragu. Main courses (starting at $19) take in monkfish Livornese and chicken cacciatore, and the kitchen is also serving a porterhouse for two for $110, as well as meats (and occasionally eggplant) served Francese, Parmesan and Marsala-style.
Peroni and a few local brews are among the 10 tapped beers, and besides a lengthy wine list, the $12 cocktails cover a lot of stylistic ground, moving from a cucumber cosmo and a martini made with cotton candy to a Sazerac or blood-orange negroni.
Ruggero's is open for lunch and dinner daily.
Ruggero's, 5768 Route 25A, Wading River, 631-886-1625.