Nick & Pedro's
1496 Northern Blvd. Manhasset, NY 516-365-6930
After a day of shopping the glitzy Miracle Mile in Manhasset, a respite from the gleaming metals and glimmering glass can be found within the walls of this traditional ristorante. With simple tables and Neapolitan murals representing the land that inspired the house menu, diners will find poultry, seafood and veal prepared in familiar Italian recipes -- scampi, Marsala, Parmigiana and more. Pastas like penne, fettuccine and ravioli are all present as well, available in the tomato sauces and garlicky oils expected of an eatery that holds to custom -- a personality trait so exceedingly rare along this stretch of Northern Boulevard that it could almost be considered and outside-the-box experience (in a comforting, old-fashioned way).Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. Reservations: Accepted Credit cards: Accepted
Nick & Pedro's may be located along the tony Miracle Mile in Manhasset, but it is, at heart, very much a neighborhood Italian restaurant. Prices are reasonable, portions ample and the setting - a basic dining room festooned with murals of the Italian countryside - would feel equally comfortable at a less prestigious address.
At lunch, curiously, the scene seems a bit more upscale than at dinner. Jumbo grilled shrimp salad on a bed of greens with wild mushrooms, sliced Brie, tomatoes, toasted almonds and grilled asparagus is light and satisfying. Ravioli, filled with cheese and topped with shrimp and tomatoes, is a winning choice.
So, too, is a dinnertime appetizer, gamberetti Toscani, featuring jumbo shrimp (only three) sauteed with olive oil, tomatoes and cannelini beans. Likeable, as well, is the calamari fritti with marinara. Fruit and vegetables combine to advantage in the insalata di Ruth, a winning toss of arugula, orange slices, hearts of palm, corn kernels and apple with balsamic vinaigrette.
My favorite entree is the rich and hearty linguine Bolognese, al dente strands of pasta in a chunky meat sauce. Avoid the rollatine Montanara, though, house-made pasta pinwheels stuffed with a characterless mixture of spinach, porcini mushrooms and Parmesan cheese in a pink sauce. But the fusilli al radicchio e pancetta - corkscrew pasta tossed with bacon, radicchio, smoked mozzarella and tomato - is subtly smoky; downright good.
You won't go wrong, either, with the salmon al asparagi, a nice fillet of fish sauteed with pieces of asparagus in a white wine sauce. Or the pollo contadina - boneless poultry and sausage sauteed with artichokes, white wine and garlic.
The best dessert is the rich and spirited tiramisu.
Keep this place in mind, whether you live nearby or are planning some shopping along the Miracle Mile. Closer to Lord & Taylor than to Barney's in more ways than one, Nick & Pedro's doesn't pretend to be anything more than a nice little neighborhood restaurant. --Joan Reminick