They make mozzarella three times a day at Piccolo Gourmet, an Italian deli in New Hyde Park, and after tasting it for the first time, I could see why they have to keep replenishing it. This is worlds away from the cello-wrapped mozzarella available in most stores. It is delicate and creamy and when you marinate it in a bit of olive oil, garlic and parsley makes you feel like you're walking through St. Marks Square in Venice.
This level of quality and attention to freshness is a hallmark of Piccolo Gourmet. “We don’t cut corners,” says owner Sal Restivo, who opened the place in 1999.
Owner/chef Luigi Muto gets a jump on his long day, hours before his Great Neck eatery, La Rotonda Pizza & Restaurant, opens for lunch at noon. On most summer and fall mornings, you’ll find Muto at a local farm, like Rottkamp’s Farm in Old Brookville, picking the freshest of produce to use in any number of recipes that day for lunch and dinner.
“At the restaurant, we have a very small kitchen, we have no basement, and we don’t stock anything,” says Muto proudly. “At Rottkamp’s, their tomatoes are very nice and I find their spinach interesting, as well as other produce. I look every day.”
Dare I risk writing about pizza? Will I annoy you because I included a place not on your list of favorites? Will you hate me because I left off your favorite?
So let me state that this article is about five pizza places. This is not about the BEST pizza on Long Island because we all have our ideas about where to find the very best pizza. And Long Island has some of the best pizza in the country. Just five places chosen arbitrarily.
Various top local restaurants have embraced the farm-to-table concept, elevating their dishes to even greater heights as they support Long Island and New York State growers, wineries and fishermen. Here are two of the best:
There’s a garden behind Market Bistro in Jericho where chef Charles Treadwell grows basil, parsley and other herbs and vegetables to use in his contemporary American dishes.
Can’t make up your mind if you want your pasta Italian style with red sauce and meatballs, or Asian style, perhaps with coconut, shitake mushrooms or peanuts? If you decide to eat at Noodles & Company, you don’t have to choose until you’re at the counter placing your order.
Noodles & Company opened this month in the Gallery at Westbury Plaza off Old Country Road, the first of 24 locations planned for Nassau and Suffolk County for this nationwide chain with 364 locations in 29 states.
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