TODAY'S PAPER
68° Good Morning
68° Good Morning
LifestyleRestaurants

Trattachino

Small plates at Trattachino, Wantagh

Small plates at Trattachino, Wantagh

In chef-owner Joseph Balbo's sociable world of small plates, ravioli rubs elbows with Thai-glazed calamari, mac and cheese mingles with short rib tortillas. Even full-fledged entrees lend themselves to sharing. When a restaurant's very name is an outright invention, don't expect many rules.

What you can expect is a high caliber of cooking at modest prices. Few seem to mind the noise level, ratcheted up by an insistent techno beat.

BIG FLAVORS

One night, the fragrance of truffles wafting from the next table prompts me to order the same mac and cheese. It's deliriously rich. Also opulent: Tuscan onion soup rice balls stuffed with risotto, mozzarella and Swiss, and congealed onion soup, served over black truffle cheese sauce. And house-made ravioli filled with creamy ricotta over a braised beef ragu.

Crunchy-tender chili-glazed calamari are a treat, as is a delectable crispy duck leg confit over parsnip puree. Three "angry" jumbo shrimp with avocado puree and yuzu vinaigrette prove that, sometimes, anger is good.

A thick, juicy burger comes stuffed with American cheese, slathered with bacon-onion jam, served with crisp, hand-cut fries in -- how cute is that? -- a mini fry basket.

Two winning entrees: fork-tender braised beef short ribs and delicate pan-seared salmon.

Finales all work, from the visually arresting coffee and cigarettes (coffee panna cotta with white chocolate sticks surrounded by "smoking" dry ice), to the crackle-crusted Kahlúa crème brûlée to a well-rendered cliché, molten chocolate cake. Best of all is the moist ricotta pound cake with orange segments, Amaretto syrup and fior de latte gelato.

SMALL PROBLEMS

Old-school meatballs are ordinary, tuna tartare is over-chilled, and a cracker-thin Margherita pizzette cools quickly. There's also redundancy when an excellent parsnip puree is used with the duck confit, salmon and short ribs.

BOTTOM LINE

Wear earplugs, if you must, and reserve ahead.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Latest reviews