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LifestyleRestaurants

Verace

599 Main St. Islip , NY 631-277-3800

Customers at Verace in Islip can eat on

Customers at Verace in Islip can eat on the outside patio or inside the multilevel dining room. (June 18, 2011) Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

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Type:

Pasta, Pizza, Italian

Special features:

Outdoor Seating

Price range:

$$$ (Expensive)

Description:

Verace is owned by the Bohlsen family, which also runs the neighboring Tellers Chophouse and Prime. The streamlined look of the place includes a dramatic, barrel-vaulted ceiling and artful papering.

Hours:

Dinner, 4 to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; 2 to 10 p.m. Sunday. Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m Monday to Saturday. Weekend reservations recommended.

Ambience:

Very Good

Service:

Excellent

Reservations:

Recommended

Credit cards:

Accepted

Website

Reservations

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Critic review

Monkfish roasted with sweet peppers, artichokes and spicy

Monkfish roasted with sweet peppers, artichokes and spicy tomatoes at Verace in downtown Islip. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

After learning a few hard truths, Verace has started thinking big -- or, at least bigger.

Last year, the smart, stylized restaurant specialized in achingly small plates, imaginative stuff for grazers. But anyone with a major appetite would have to order a lot more. The snacking eventually led to some larger dishes. Diners had to develop a strategy to savor the not-quite "true Italian" but mostly flavorful fare of departed chef Francesco Torre.

Now, the menu has a more traditional structure. More important, the food from chef Michael Wilson is very satisfying. Wilson is a veteran of Prime in Huntington, owned by the Bohlsen family, which also runs Verace and neighboring Tellers Chophouse. Corporate chef Cornelius Gallagher contributed to the revised selections.

The streamlined look of the place is the same, complete with dramatic barrel-vaulted ceiling and artful papering. And you can bring an appetite.

THE BEST

Start with the first-class assortment of cured meats and Italian cheeses, from zesty coppa and smooth mortadella to creamy crescienza and assertive Gorgonzola. Nibble on a pizza. Standouts: spicy sopressata, Asiago and whipped ricotta; and Gorgonzola and pear. Filone, or grilled bread topped with tomato-fig marmalade and shaved ricotta, also is appetizing. Wilson prepares an outstanding spaghetti alla carbonara, the Roman classic starring pancetta and Parmesan; and a rich, soulful gnocchi Piedmontese with Taleggio and toasted bread crumbs. Tasty linguine with white clam sauce, too. Lasagna with meat sauce manages to be both hearty and light. Then, sample the monkfish finished with roasted-shrimp sauce, fried potatoes and broccoli rabe; or the roasted version with sweet peppers, artichokes and tomato. Slowly cooked pork, with fruity, sweet-mustard sauce, has homey appeal. Chocolate cake, cheesecake and gelati head the finales.

THE REST

Routine, overdone chicken Parmesan. Forgettable cavatelli with tomato and broccoli rabe. Limp Tuscan Bolognese-sauced maltagliati pasta. Dry sformato, an Asiago muffin with onion sauce.

THE BOTTOM LINE

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