What a difference 29 years makes.
Or, in the case of Sotto Luna, not too much. Even a recent relocation a mile south on Willis Avenue has left this classic suburban Italian restaurant largely unchanged.
The Lanza family opened the original in 1990 in a Roslyn Heights strip mall. Last year the property changed hands, and Sotto Luna — along with Joven Cleaners and Olive Market — closed shop. (The cleaners has also found a new location; Olive Market’s future is still up in the air. Chain tenants CVS and Starbucks remain in place.)
Earlier this summer, Sotto Luna ("under the moon") moved into the old Mitch & Toni’s space across from the Albertson post office. The free-standing building (it used to be a Friendly’s) had been vacant since 2014. “It’s about the same size,” said Carlo Lanza, “the dining room seats 70 to 80 people, but now we have a bar. And the dining room is more comfortable, more chic.”
Most of the staff has made the move with Carlo, his wife, Cathy, and his brother, Antonio, who runs the kitchen. The menu is full of crowd pleasers, from pasta e fagioli, fried or grilled calamari, Caprese and Caesar salads to linguine with clams, rigatoni Bolognese, veal Parm, pork chop and shrimp scampi. For the new location, Carlo said, he’s upped the quotient of fish (there’s now grilled Faroe Island salmon with Dijon sauce) and added more fresh pasta, such as the orecchiette Barese with sausage and broccoli rabe. Most starters and salads are priced around $12; pastas from $16 to $22, mains $20 to $27. Personal pizzas, 12 inches around, are $13 to $20.
Sotto Luna is at 875 Willis Ave., Albertson, 516-621-2112.