I got more than a main course of sole oreganata at Trattoria Four Forty Four in Manhasset the other night. Squeezed into a small space with tables for two only inches apart, I heard the gossip on the dogs and kids of people I’ll probably never see again. We shared pizza preferences, veterinarian recommendations, theories on the missing Malaysian jetliner and the woes of politics at a local attorney’s office. The pasta fagioli was good, too.
This trattoria used to be part of the La Bottega chain, but went independent and changed its name in June, according to owner Joe LoPresti. The menu of chef Tania DiNuzzo is similar to the original, featuring creative panini of vegetables, roasted turkey, chicken, shrimp, cured meats, pork, steak, all in the $6.50 to $11.50 range. Each night, the specials include salads, creative pastas like wild mushroom ravioli and an array of deftly cooked fish, sole and tuna frequently among them. What a relief to get a nice piece of fish. The soups are always rich and hot. LoPresti said he is constantly expanding the restaurant’s gluten-free offerings, which now include flatbreads and soups.
If you’re not in a chatty mood, ask for one of the few tables with a bit of privacy.
Trattoria Four Forty Four is at 444 Plandome Rd., Manhasset, 516-439-5460, trattoria444.com.