Organico

Organico
75 Main St, Port Washington
(516) 883-1401 | organicoristorante.com

image

Healthy, organic, freshest, local, natural, wild caught, free range and grass fed are all trendy terms currently thrown around by many restaurants, especially new ones. The nine-month-old Organico in Port Washington is no exception. Yet unlike many enterprises that ballyhoo these words in a cavalier, sometimes questionable manner, the Italian Organico makes good on most of them. Their lamb chops are grass fed (and good), their salmon, shrimp and calamari are wild, not farm raised. Their chicken is organic and so too are their pastas.

The use of these ingredients stems from the dedication of the restaurant’s two partners Pat Fabiano and Bill Beach. Fabiano owned Il Vesuvio in Bayside and once ran a 200-seat place in Rome, while Beach lives the healthy life, eating organic food daily and jogging. Beach, a regular customer at Vesuvio, and Fabiano put their heads together and came up with Organico.

The result is a sophisticated, double storefront on Main Street in the heart of the village. It’s a place of sparkling glassware, a high mirrored ceiling decorated with a multitude of wooden geometric squares, a sleek backlit bar and sweet, appropriate dinner music played at a moderate noise level.

The breadbasket (though not replaced when empty) holds roughhewn, crusty, chewy bread, some desserts arrive with the name of the restaurant artfully written in chocolate script on the plate and service is consistently smooth and knowing.

Despite the uniformly quality ingredients in play here some dishes are more appealing than others. A tasty stuffed chicken breast ($20) was a tad tougher than it should be and the tofu in the tofu tower appetizer ($10) was as bland and tasteless as bean curd most often is. But the four plump, perfectly seasoned New Zealand lamb chops ($32) were as good as they get and the gargantuan grilled Berkshire pork porterhouse ($28), cradled on a bed of crunchy vegetables, was enormously appealing.

Soups, listed as cups, are so much more than that. (At $6 each, they’re a bargain and the stewed red lentil is especially noteworthy.) The diverse escarole, radicchio, red leaf lettuce salad ($10) is large enough to be an entrée. Eye catching hollowed out cucumbers stuff ed with a bit of bright red ahi tuna ($14) make for a refreshing starter. The Painted Hills all natural Bolognese pasta ($14) was satisfactory, but nothing special. (I don’t know about you, but I can’t tell the diff erence between organic pasta and the standard stuff.)

All desserts are made on the premises and go for $8. We enjoyed the four we ordered: an intense, deeply flavored chocolate bomb; a long, generous crêpe filled with Nutella; a fluff y-light crème brûlée; and a homey blueberry peach clafoutis enhanced by a layer of organic custard.

richard jay scholem

Richard Jay Scholem practically invented the Long Island restaurant culture through 800+ reviews of the region's eateries both on radio and in print over the last 30 years. He is a former New York Times Long Island Section restaurant reviewer, has contributed to the Great Restaurants of...magazines and Bon Vivant, authored a book, aired reviews on WGSM and WCTO radio stations, served on the board of countless community and food and beverage organizations, and received many accolades for his journalism in both print and broadcast media. He is currently available for restaurant consultation. Reach him at (631) 271-3227.