Written by Salvatore DiBenedetto [@TheGrubfather]
Note: Photos may not reflect current menu which is seasonal.
The Trattoria is unknown to many but beloved by those who do. There’s a reason for that and instinct tells me it has everything to do with their humble approach to a dynamic culinary experience. Regardless of your location in NY, The Trattoria is worthy of a foodie crusade. Just ensure you have a reservation.
NOTE: CASH ONLY.
Everything about The Trattoria insists it wants to remain a hidden treasure. Residing in the quaint little hamlet of St. James, the intimate dining room doesn’t exactly scream “You’re about to have an …experience.” But then, before you know it, house-made ricotta & toasty warm bread are pressed between your fingertips hovering above a menu that has you wondering just how much food your stomach may be able to consume. Did I mention it’s BYOB?
Cue the Chef’s $65 Five Course Tasting Menu or the $40 Three Course Prix-fixe, an essential for all Trattoria virgins. Chef Stephen Gallagher’s rustic Italian fare merges with seasonal ingredients that will awaken palates that have long been watered down by Americana style chicken parmesan and penne a la vodka. (Not to insult the classics) This result has made The Trattoria nearly impossible to penetrate without a reservation which can sometimes be very difficult to obtain. CALL AHEAD.
Given its BYOB status, I came strapped with bottles of Rioja and Pinot Grigio. I paired the lighter dishes with white wine and heavier dishes with red to help champion me through my meal. My suggestion is you do the same.
First things first, order the house-made ricotta and then move to the Five Courser which is in the chef’s hands. Don’t be intimidated as you can let your server know what menu items appeal / don’t appeal to you. Between my girlfriend and I, we ventured through each dish.
Each plate was eloquent yet approachable, which is a common theme I found running through The Trattoria’s veins from food to ambience to service. Chef Gallagher’s recipes contained elements of traditional Italian fare yet also brought something different to the table; an echo of true appreciation for the culinary art. That special touch is something you don’t forget.
Both the pastry team and service team deserve special recognition. The Trattoria’s waitstaff was incredibly hospitable, knowledgeable and attentive, embodying that hearth spirit diners so desperately crave. Additionally, both desserts presented in the tasting menu were flawless in flavor and execution making them a particularly memorable experience.
A| 532 N Country Rd, St James, Long Island