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Dining Out: La Pizzetta II great classic dining spot sequel

La Pizzetta II

253-17 Northern Blvd., Little Neck

279-5922 fax 279-4329

La Pizzetta means little pizza. But La Pizzetta II is more than pizza, much more. La Pizzetta, on Oyster Bay Road in East Norwich, has been serving forth red-sauced Southern Italian fare for the past 15 years. John, the original chef, with Sal and Tommasa, opened La Pizzetta II.

The takeout/catering menu in the mail was soup to nuts or rather, antipasti to dolci. But just to make sure, we phoned, and “Dinner is served.”

The ambiance has a familiar feeling. Formerly it was Joe Dimagio's, and the brick wall with cut-outs stocked with bottles of wine (more bottloes stand along the mirrored wall) backed by a charming Italian street scene remains. I find the mini-wrought iron flower boxes appealing, and I wanted to leave the table to touch them to make sure—that's how real they appeared. The shop signs have changed. Friends of the new owners now appear—Stanley’s Tool Shop for instance. It's fun to check it out.

The copper counters remain and look as classy as ever. A very large blackboard (the better to read it, my dear) announces in pastels—pink, blue, lavender and green chalk—the specials of the day. And an even larger blackboard in the rear hangs over a refrigerated display of “John made” desserts.

Wine and beer are poured. Try Moretti and Veroni, two lovely Italian vintages. Bruchetta are brought to accompany your beverage. And hot rolls—really hot, and so delicious with sweet butter—are brought to the tables that are decked with dark green paper and matching cloth napkins.

Our appetizers were selected from the specials—two vegetables—to be summery. Asparagus oreganato and stuffed artichoke. The asparagus topped with crumbs was a knife and fork job. The artichoke was a triumph—crumb (fine, dried ones) stuffed, sitting in a delicious light broth. I plucked and scraped off each leaf slowly to savor it. Artichoke eaters, both the pros and amateurs, will enthuse over this version.

Continuing in the summer vein, we chose fish entrees—a fresh seabass, prepared with chopped fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil and a light white wine sauce. And then there was a soft shell crab entree with lemon sauce. (But you’ll have to wait a bit to try it. They are not in market at the moment.) I had spaghetti with a light tomato sauce and found it very fine. At the table nearby two diners both ordered pasta, spaghetti and ziti, one with meatballs and one with sausage for their entree.

Peach Melba was a perfect seasonal dessert. There also wsa peaches with strawberry sauce. And the tiramisu was homestyle with lady fingers and marscapone.

Now how could a reviewer dine at La Pizzetta and not try their pizza? I returned for the international salad with roasted red peppers and an interesting light dressing. And then there was stagionio pizzetta. The crust was ultra thin, and so crisp that it crackled when you bit into it. The toppings of tomato sauce, mozzarella, artichokes, ripe olives, onions and eggplant were arranged with style. It was excellent and would be a perfect share with a glass of wine for an appetizer. Orange creamsickle seemed like a perfect conclusion and it was—an orange, hollowed out, and filled with orange cream sherbet. Remember when milk was not homogenized and the cap would be pushed up whe the milk froze in winter? Well, that's how the orange creamsickle looked. The sherbet was cooling and tasty.

Eight pizzetta are featured from margherita, to Napoletana, to Romano, paesana, barese, primevera and caprese. But be forewarned, only pizzetta, the individual version, is made.

Catering is very much a part of La Pizzetta’s business and, of course, there’s takeout. So, if you want an individual pizza, spaghtetti and meatballs or dinner with appetizer, soup, salad and dessert, you’ll find it at La Pizzetta II in Little Neck.

The Bottom Line

New Northern/Southern Italian fare in Little Neck. Pizzetta, individual pizzas, are the highlight. Full menu from antipasti to dolci is served. Catereing available. Takeout and private parties to 50.

Chef's Choice

Hot antipasto for two (clams, mussels, stuffed mushrooms, eggpllant rollatini)...$11.95

Stuffed Artichokes...$7.95

Homemade Fettuccini al Filetto di Pomodoro Alfredo...$9.95

Filet of Sole Marchiara...$14.95

Mixed Seafood Marinara...$16.95

Chicken Scarpariello...$12.95

Pizzetta Barese (fresh tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, garlic, basil)...$7.95

Veal alla Pizzetta (with artichoke hearts, pimento, mushrooms)...$13.50

Homemade Italian Cheesecake...$3.95

Homemade Tiramisu...$4.50

Cuisine: Northern /Southern Italian

Setting: Dark green & brick. Wine bottle accent

Service: Pleasant

Hours: Closed Mon. L & D six days

Reservations: Yes

Parking: Street

Location: E of Little Neck Pkwy. N side

Dress: Casual

Children: Half portions

Credit cards: All major. No Discover

Private parties: To 50

Takeout: Yes

Off-premise catering: Yes

Noise level: Moderate Fri & Sat

Smoking: None

Handicap access: Yes

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