Steve's Piccola Bussola II
41 Jackson Ave, Syosset, NY 11791
Sunday 1:30PM - 9PM
Peter M. Gianotti of Newsday, Review 3.30.08
Bring an appetite. Maybe five or six. Steve's Piccola Bussola II located in Syosset, offspring of the original Steve's Piccola Bussola in Westbury, is family-style dining with big flavors, very good quality and enough food for the week. The popular approach can lead you to high-profile pasta mills with rush-hour service, beehive space and oversize portions of overblown forgettables. For this privilege, you'll wait longer than at the local ER. But, as it did years ago at the Old Country Road location, Steve's opens as a rebuff to the blackboard joints, with a warm welcome and very satisfying cooking.
The newcomer takes over the site long occupied by La Viola. It has been refreshed and updated. Before you think, however, that they've gone totally novello, notice the painting with the straw-covered Chianti bottle. Steve's Piccola Bussola Italian restaurant revels in traditional, hearty southern Italian fare, emphasis on tomatoes. But the kitchen does make successful forays into central and northern regions, too. And Steve's will prepare half-portions of its oversize productions on request. So, order the plump, moist and well-seasoned stuffed artichoke, which spreads out the size of two fists. Or dive into the savory, caper-stewn version of spiedino alla Romana, a bread-and-cheese union to feed a hungry infield.
You'll also enjoy the hefty, amply sauced cheese-stuffed eggplant; the platter of sweet, fried peppers; and rounds of fried mozzarella.
The fried zucchini needs more crunch, and the fried calamari needs more seasoning. The house's generous chopped salad delivers both.
Steve's Piccola Bussola Italian restaurant sends out enough pasta to inflate wheat futures. The gnocchi Bolognese, linguine with shrimp marinara, and penne with broccoli rabe deserve your attention, along with the spaghetti alla carbonara. Swordfish oreganata arrives snowy and fresh, under a toasty mantle. Red snapper marechiaro expertly swims with the tomatoes. And lobster fra diavolo brings in the heat, but tenderly.
Chicken campagnola, on the bone, with sausages, potatoes, peppers and mushrooms, and enough garlic to keep the vampires from Anne Rice, is a gutsy, bracing affair. You also can go the Parmigiana, Francese, Marsala or cacciatore route. The pork chop Milanese, dutifully pounded and crisp, is a tasty alternative to the familiar veal version. There's veal piccata for the shy diners. In case you still have a lycopene deficiency, they make the pork pizzaiola, too.
Naturally, the desserts are all familiar. Leading the sweets: overstuffed cannoli, eggy cheesecake, a fairly light tiramisu, chocolate cake and serious biscotti.
No wonder Sinatra is singing.
Monday thru Friday, 12-10 PM. Saturday, 1:30-10:30 PM. Sunday, 1:30-9 PM. Lunch, Monday to Friday, noon-3 p.m.
Assessment: Family-style plus
Directions: West side, near the railroad station
Major Credit Cards Accepted: All major cards.
Notable dishes: Stuffed artichoke, gnocchi Bolognese, linguine with shrimp marinara, swordfish oreganata, pork chop Milanese
Price Range: Expensive ($25-$50), Moderate ($15-$25)
Rating: Very Good (2 stars)