Bucatini cacio e pepe at The Farm Italy in Huntington.

Bucatini cacio e pepe at The Farm Italy in Huntington. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

“Tuscan farmhouse” is a concept countless LI restaurateurs have assayed; none have come closer than has John Tunney. Smack in the middle of Huntington Village’s bustle, The Farm Italy nevertheless conveys the elegance and hospitality of a Tuscan fantasy, although its menu roams all over the boot — and into steakhouse territory as well.

The restaurant replaces Mac’s Steakhouse which closed in 2020. When they took over, Tunney and his partner, John Rieger, planned a second location of Ballo, the Italian eatery they operate at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. But, Tunney said, “the more I started to peel back the layers of the building, I started to realize I didn’t want to mimic Ballo.”

It took almost as long to come up with a name as it did to renovate the property. “We were looking for words that expressed “farm” and “Italy,” he recounted.

Tunney never forgot the time he arrived, starving, at a restaurant in Rome and was offered a small plate of chunks of Grana Padano, a cheese that, he observed, is moister and milder than its cousin, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and, thus, is a better solo nosh. This is how all dinners commence at The Farm Italy. Starters include an antipasto platter, mussels in Pernod, spicy ’nduja sausage with ricotta and honey on toast, octopus and salmon crudo and beef cappelletti in brodo. Tunney’s favorite is a gratin of cheese-creamy tagliolini with coppa (cured pork neck).

Among the pastas are a classic bucatini cacio e pepe, pappardelle Bolognese and malfadine with crabmeat and gremolata butter. “We make things like the pappardelle and ravioli in house,” he said, “but I would never use fresh pasta for bucatini or spaghetti — or for the gluten-free rice penne” (which is served with roasted squash, pistachio and chili honey).

In addition to four steaks, mains include branzino fillet, hake with white-bean ragout, grilled spicy shrimp with eggplant and salsa verde, grilled chicken with arugula and tomato, chicken Parmesan and veal Milanese.

Tunney and his chef, Robert Baez, are dedicated to vegetables. In addition to four carefully wrought salads, they offer broccolini with grilled lemon, escarole with white beans, Swiss chard with roasted garlic, mushrooms in sherry and fried zucchini. Dessert highlights include a basil gelato topped with strawberries in balsamic vinegar.

Most starters range from $12 to $21; pastas from $18 to $29; mains from $26 to $45 (and more for the steaks).

The Farm Italy in Huntington.

The Farm Italy in Huntington. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

The décor, in tones of weathered wood, bleached brick and rich leather, read as Italian without veering into theme park. From the outside, the restaurant looks huge but, aside from the imposing foyer, the bar and dining rooms still feel intimate. Once the weather warms up, there will also be dining on the capacious patio, and a second-story space will, eventually, be called into service as well.

Tunney has had a storied hospitality career on Long Island. In the early '90s, he was part of the team that established the food service at Oheka Castle in Huntington. He and his partner, Steve Carl, founded the Carltun (Carl + Tunney) at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow after which Tunney opened a string of restaurants including Blue Honu (now Honu Kitchen & Cocktails) in Huntington, Besito Mexican (Huntington, Roslyn and West Islip) and The Shed (Huntington, Plainview, West Sayville).

The Farm Italy, 12 Gerard St., Huntington; open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday; 631-824-6000, thefarmitaly.com.

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