The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene
Open in Huntington Station: Cinque Terre
More than a year-and-a-half in the making, Cinque Terre has opened on Jericho Turnpike in the sprawling space that Panama Hatties put on the map in 1983. (Panama Hatties went through a number of chefs and incarnations before giving way in 2011 to the short-lived Amicale.)
Cinque Terre is owned by Anthony and Pam Page, who also own Verona Ristorante in Farmingdale. The new venue is much bigger, with multiple dining areas that can be used for private parties. The decor is grander, too, with enormous chandeliers, coffered ceilings (one panel of which is inlaid with a reproduction of a section of the Sistine Chapel), plush patterned carpeting and damask-upholstered chairs.
The Cinque Terre are five towns on Italy’s Ligurian coast, and the restaurant’s menu strikes a balance between the seafood-centric cuisine of Liguria and what I like to call regional Long Island Italian.
First courses range from $10 to $16 and include fritto misto (fried shrimp, calamari, sepia and red snapper), polpetto in umido (braised octopus) with a citrus dressing, cozze e vongole (mussels and clams) alla Ligure, antipasto Vernazza (assorted cheeses and cured meats), burrata cheese with prosciutto and pesto, and insalata Cinque Terre, with baby arugula, endive, radicchio, caramelized apples and sun-dried cranberries with fig dressing and Parmesan cheese.
Pastas, $18 to $24, include trofie Montesrosso (sun-dried tomatoes, pesto and Pecorino Romano), farfalle Cinque Terre (eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, Gaeta olives and white anchovy filet), risotto Gorgonzola, and lobster ravioli with shrimp and crab in a Cognac-lobster sauce.
Among the fish dishes ($28 to $34) are branzino with truffled mushrooms and spring salad, oven-rosted red snapper with caramelized onions and olives, pan-seared salmon with fennel puree and lemon-caper sauce, and whole roasted sea bream. Meats ($28 to $45) include vitello Cinque Terre (scaloppine with mushrooms, roasted peppers, Marsala demi-glace and asparagus) and double-cut pork chops with onions, Brussels sprouts, pancetta and Chianti demi-glace.
Service is attentive and professional. Cinque Terre is at 872 E. Jericho Tpke., Huntington Station, 631-923-1255.