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Trento review

The prosciutto pizzetta is completed with fontina, arugula

The prosciutto pizzetta is completed with fontina, arugula and extra virgin olive oil at Trento in Farmingdale. Credit: Jeremy Bales

Trento traces its origins not to the Dolomites but to the Gino's pizzeria group. And that gives you a very good idea about what to order.

The popular new restaurant rises on the space opposite Republic Airport, where the Crazy Donkey club kicked around for years. It's a dramatic transformation. The two-level dining areas were carefully designed, sleek and contemporary. And the busy bar continues the theme.

Early visits here were disappointments, but the most recent one showed a lot more promise, especially if your picks aren't overly complicated.

That means picking a pizzetta. The prosciutto-fontina-and-arugula pie is fine for the table while you're deciding what's next. The chef prepares Margherita, sausage-potato-onion, salad-topped, and buffalo chicken pizzas, too.

Stuffed eggplant medallions are skillfully sauced and tasty openers. So are the crisp and blond fried calamari, a tangle of fried zucchini and Parmigiano truffle fries.

Mussels Rockefeller are a respectable spin on the preparation usually reserved for oysters. The house's plump crabcakes deliver a fair amount of lump crabmeat. A glistening disc of tuna tartare overcomes any interference from Peppadew peppers and capers.

Pastas are inconsistent. The best: fettuccine Bolognese, in a meaty sauce with just enough cream to turn it pink. But linguine with white clam sauce is defined by pastiness. Spaghetti Arcobaleno evokes less a rainbow than a quarrelsome combo of vegetables, Gorgonzola and white wine.

Ravioli with portobello mushrooms arrive in an overly sweet sauce that barely hints at Cognac in the cream. And troffoli, or purses with ricotta, pear and a fatal attraction to truffle oil, could do double duty as an easily skipped dessert.

The veal chop Milanese is a travesty that equates the classic preparation with Marsala, dreary artichoke hearts and portobello mushrooms. The chicken bruschetta actually is closer to Milanese.

Things improve with an ample chicken Parmigiana; grilled swordfish with Kalamata olives in a prosecco-butter sauce; and a thick cut of filet mignon, which stands out with a side of smashed potato. Broccoli rabe is stemmy in the extreme; sauteed spinach, better. At lunch, Trento makes panini, from the prosciutto-mozzarella-arugula-tomato-basil alliance to truffle butter- glazed steak with bacon, provolone and onions.

Desserts have more ups and downs than department-store escalators at Christmas. Profiteroles are satisfactory. But the sodden chocolate cake will remind you of a sweet served when cordials reigned. Diplomatico suggests a napoleon manqué. Oreo cheesecake is on the dry side. Gelati have more appeal.

When Trento sticks with what it knows best, the restaurant does, too.


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