No longer will you be eating gooey onion soup while watching the ducks play at the pond in Roslyn. In a takeover of what had long been the French-inspired Bistro Citron, Salumeria Pomodoro has moved in, an Italian trattoria where pastas and sopressata are the likely choices.
While salumi is celebrated in the restaurant’s name, the place does not cure its own meats and, oddly, there’s no mention of charcuterie in the online menus.
It’s the first sign that the restaurant needs fine-tuning. Yet Salumeria Pomodoro can be an inviting place for a casual bite, gracious service and an interesting selection of Italian wines.
In addition to meat boards — generously layered with prosciutto di Parma, sopressata and bresaola sourced from Cibo Italia, among others— the restaurant serves a smattering of snacks, share plates and entrees with dishes from Naples, Rome and Puglia.
Siblings Eric and Jason Machado, partners from Reststar Hospitality Group, said Italian restaurants are in their blood, citing their father, Fabio, as founder of Pomodoro and Pomodorino restaurants in Port Washington, Huntington, Southampton and New Hyde Park.
The family closed Bistro Citron to introduce a more contemporary version of Pomodoro. “We wanted to bring a neighborhood family restaurant to a town that we felt was in need of it,” Jason Machado said.
Salumeria Pomodoro evokes a trattoria without being a theme restaurant. There are no nostalgia photos, nor will you hear Frank Sinatra on the playlist. With honeycomb-tiled floors and a handsome marble bar, you’d think all the action would be up front, where couples drink a glass of Primitivo or share a bottle of Nero d’Avola.
But a walk through the dining room leads to the best seats in the house, at tables with a view of the pond, in a room flanked by a faux living wall of greenery. Those windows will be swapped out for French doors in time for warm weather.
Meanwhile, chef John Kaunas, who also served at Plein Sud at the Smith Hotel, The Chemist Club at the Dylan Hotel and Go Fish in the late 90s, all in Manhattan, runs the kitchen here.
Among starters, the panzanella is a refreshing share plate, a bread salad studded with tomatoes and cucumbers, drizzled with a Champagne vinaigrette. I’d also suggest the pot of mussels with white wine, served with crusty bread for soaking up the elixir. The meatball stuffed with ricotta can be satisfying, too: so formidable one earns its own plate.
I was less enthralled with the quarter-sized arancini that burst with too many ingredients, from goat cheese to honey. And the carciofi fritti wear the texture of artichokes from a jar.
The pastas are hit and miss, from the simple fettuccine pomodoro to the strozzapreti dressed with Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, chestnuts, goat cheese and amaretto-soaked breadcrumbs. On different visits, these were fine to good.
The eggplant Parmesan, a special, was a whiff, served in a perfectly-cut circle, on a searingly hot cast-iron plate. Yet the inside was cold.
This kind of misstep was repeated during a brunch visit, when a side of rosemary potatoes arrived undercooked.
Otherwise, poached eggs in tomato sauce, a variation on eggs in purgatory, is my favorite selection for brunch (it’s listed as uova all’inferno), served with a side of sausage. The perfect medium-rare bistecca is also a crowd-pleaser, garnished with a fried egg.
As for dessert, a poached pear swam in Marsala and mascarpone, a dish I would not order again. For chocolate fiends, there’s the torta al cioccolato if you have the 10 or so minutes required to warm the cake.
Better to stick with cappuccino or digestivo. The trio of coffee beans in a glass of Sambuca is a more pleasing send-off.