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The Original DiMaggio's Trattoria

Angelo Giannuzzi, center, part-owner of the establishment, serves

Angelo Giannuzzi, center, part-owner of the establishment, serves guests in the Cortile di Maggio dining room at The Original Di Maggio's Trattoria, an Italian restaurant in Port Washington. (May 15, 2010) Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

The clutch hitters in Long Island's lineup of everyday restaurants wear the uniform of pizzerias. They attract fans every night.

On Port Washington Boulevard, the Tommy Henrich of such eateries is, fittingly, DiMaggio's. "The Original" began its streak in 1978.

The casual spot has a modest front room, decorated with paintings generally suggesting the Old Country and, below the TV tuned to sports, a photo of a smiling Yankee Clipper. A second dining area is rimmed with latticework and goes more for a sunnier, courtyard effect.

You'll find all the regulars at DiMaggio's, plus some lively blackboard specials. Eat-in or takeout.


THE BEST

DiMaggio's prepares a generous, well-seasoned stuffed artichoke oreganata; and an ample, husky hot antipasto for one, leading off with eggplant rollatine. Polenta with mushrooms: mellow and fine. Minestrone and escarole-and-bean soup both are very good. Thin-crust, personal pizzas arrive as satisfying alternatives. Try the cheese-free marinara; or the refreshing, appetizing bruschetta-style pie, capped with tricolor salad, tomatoes and mozzarella. The feta-tomato-cucumber-black olive salad delivers a tasty, salty kick. The lasagna della Nonna, with meat and cheese, has enough power to bat cleanup. The sauce for the house's fibrous steak alla pizzaiola is sparked with hot peppers. Chicken scarpariello, on the bone and covered with peppers and mushrooms, is homey stuff; sauteed chicken spuntino with peas, blanketed with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella, elevates Parmigiana.

Excellent Italian cheesecake and warm apple crisp a la mode head the desserts, along with a serious chocolate pudding. If you're feeling nostalgic, the tortoni is all you remember.


THE REST

Limp mozzarella in carrozza; routine Caesar salad; chewy, dull grilled baby octopus; a dry pork chop with cherry peppers; underseasoned and overcooked shrimp, scampi-style; tender but bland veal chop campagnola.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Hometown hero(es).

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