294 N Broadway, Hicksville
TRULLO D’ORO IN HICKSVILLE is one of the most Italian, Italian restaurants on Long Island. It’s family owned by the Giannuzzis, who hail from Italy. Gino is the chef and his wife, Maria, presides over the dining room. Many of the ingredients he uses come from family members back in the Old Country. The superior olive oil, for instance, is sent to the Island by a cousin. His restaurant is cozy and warm, the tablecloths are checkered red and rarely seen dishes like panzerottini, strozzapreti à modo mio and strascinate alberobello dot the menu. Mr. Giannuzzi urges diners to eat some of them with their fingers, the way they do in his hometown.
The digs at 294 North Broadway are nothing new to the Giannuzzis. Back in the 70s they opened La Caravella there and operated it for twenty successful years before they departed for restaurants elsewhere, including Manhattan. They came roaring back to reestablish a new 80 seat restaurant and have created a friendly, authentic little spot. It’s not knock-your-socks-off nor does it try to be. Rather, it’s warm, relaxing and laid back.
A traditional Puglia escarole and white bean soup ($8) is an appropriate starter after devouring a few pieces of the crusty bread that precedes it. A mountain of satisfying Caesar salad was improved with a bit of salt, making it even better. That holds true for many, perhaps most, of the dishes. There’s not a clunker among them, but all of them benefit from bolder and vigorous seasoning.
That panzerottini ($10) is a generous portion of multiple mini dough pockets harboring mozzarella in a rich tomato sauce that should be eaten without utensils. If you are one of the increasing number of diners who enjoy and appreciate the virtues of octopus, the grilled variety with celery, olives and tomatoes ($15) is first rate.
Aside from gnocchi ($18) that’s heavy rather than u y, airy and light, all entrées passed muster. The strascinate alberobello (ear shaped pasta, $18) melds well with crumbled sweet sausage, and pollo contadina of chicken tenderloins, peppers, potatoes and sausage ($21) will satisfy conservative chicken prone diners. Strozzapreti à modo mio features thin twisted handcrafted pas- ta, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and a few shrimp ($21) and is a precise, beautiful composition.
There is no dessert menu and the sweets vary from night to night. The plum tart that delivered lingering sweetness, was our favorite.