Italian cooking changes region by region, if not chef by chef. Here are three Italian-inspired restaurants that go their own way.
The Trattoria in St. James is a cozy, no-credit-cards country spot that sends out vivid, rustic Italian specialties and more. Chef-owner Steven Gallagher's winning dishes include sweet corn soup with vanilla crema; roasted beets with arugula, pickled berries, blue cheese, and toasted almonds; lasagna Bolognese; spaghetti all'Amatriciana; orecchiette with house-made sausage and broccoli rabe pesto; red wine brasato with creamy polenta. Expensive
The Trattoria, 532 N. Country Rd., St. James, 631-584-3518, thetrattoriarestaurant.com
Noble Kitchen & Cocktails in Oceanside now has Pierluigi Sacchetti, the "Gigi" formerly of Da Gigi in Lynbrook, preparing his remarkable pastas. Try casarecce with spicy 'nduja sausage, stracchino cheese, and mint breadcrumbs; saffron gnocchetti with shrimp crab, and pistachio crumbs; paccheri with mozzarella di bufala, crisp zucchini flowers, and tomato; tagliatelle Bolognese; strozzapreti with creamy veal ragu. Noble's American menu also is available. Moderate to expensive.
Noble Kitchen & Cocktails, 3112 Lawson Blvd., Oceanside, 516-600-9500, noblekitchenandcocktails.com
Culaccino in Water Mill resides at the address recently occupied by Manna and, for decades, by Mirko's. The theme is contemporary, with Italian accents, from chef-owner Jon Albrecht. His selections include a summer salad with peach, arugula and goat cheese, with apple-cider vinaigrette; yellow watermelon gazpacho with hot peppers and sweet onion; edamame spaghetti with lemon zest, tomato sauce, black garlic, wild mushroom and coconut oil; grilled hanger steak with chimichurri and beet fries; chicken confit; and a wild boar chop. Moderate to expensive.
Culaccino, 670 Montauk Hwy. (Water Mill Square), Water Mill, 631-500-9310, culaccinohamptons.com