Is True To Its Italian Roots
By Pete & Rosiefirstname.lastname@example.org
hit the road this week, heading to the south shore to try
Verace, the newest addition to the group of restaurants owned
and run by the Bohlsen family, owners of Prime on Huntingtons
In Italian, Verace means truth, and authentic reflection of
Italian inspiration is the theme for the stylish eatery. Verace
is a celebration of things Italian and it celebrates the best
that Italian culture has given us: food, design, architecture
and, mostly, the passion with which all of these things are
Verace is located on Islips Main Street, immediately
next door to the Bohlsen familys vaunted (and vaulted!)
Tellers Chophouse. Diners must walk the length of the red
brick building to enter the restaurant at the far end. The
warm brick patio is the first sign of the attention to design
and detail that is obvious once inside. The walk back to the
dining room brings visitors past a bustling open kitchen with
fire-engine red stoves and a Woodstone gas-burning brick pizza
oven. Steel and glass accents lend a contemporary flair to
the Old World architecture. A red Berkel meat slicer built
in 1909 on display adds old-fashioned charm.
The 100-plus seat dining room with its rustic brick walls
is contemporary in a Rome-meets-Soho kind of way. The vaulted
ceiling overhead is painted with bold graphics that evoke
an oversized Emilio Pucci print. Despite the simplicity of
the design, theres plenty for the eye to take in.
We were seated at a table along the wall and even though we
were far from home, immediately saw familiar faces at a nearby
table an indication that the buzz about Verace is far-reaching.
We were immediately greeted by our server, Kristen, who explained
everything we needed to know about the menu and wine list.
First the wine. In addition to an extensive list of Italian
and Long Island wines, Verace features wine on tap,
a concept new to this area. She explained that through arrangements
with a leading Italian winery and Long Island-based Raphael
winery, Verace receives wine in the steel barrels
in which it was made. The result has a two-fold advantage:
the wine never exposed to oxygen tastes fresher
and cleaner; and by eliminating bottling steps in the middle,
the cost is less than the typical wine by the glass. The merlot-Bordeaux
blend from Raphael ($9 a glass) was clean and robust with
a strong fragrance. The wine list itself is likewise priced
affordably, starting in the low $20s and maxing with the $198
Ceratto Briccho Rocche-Brunate 2001.
Our server explained that the menu at Verace is true to the
Italian way of eating several small courses. A $30 three-course
prix fixe encourages just that, and takes the pressure off
of the typical menu-selection experience.
A selection from the Sfizzi menu crusty
grilled bread with a tomato-fig marmalade and ricotta ($4)
was a sweetish start, and the Salumi with olives and
bits of cheese ($11) was a wise choice. The meat and cheese
board was a generous sampling of cured meats, Parmigiana and
creamy herbed goat cheese and olives in oil with pink peppercorns.
The peppercorns were a highlight of the meal. Also from the
Antipasti menu, steamed mussels in white wine
($8) featured plump, fresh shellfish with a crusty bread for
dipping the flavorful sauce.
From the Primi menu, linguine with white clam
sauce ($11) likewise featured chunks of plump clams, though
the star was the house-made pasta itself which absorbed the
delicately flavored broth. What the pasta missed was eagerly
sopped up with crusty bread.
For our main course selections or Secondi
the marinated veal chop ($14) was a gorgeously caramelized
chop atop radicchio. The crispy artichokes battered
and deep-fried were tasty, though overly crisp.
Grilled branzino as authentic an Italian dish as there
is was a home run. It is grilled simply with olive
oil and sea salt, allowing the delicate flavor of the fish
to shine, and served over baby spinach sautéed in olive
oil and garlic. A touch of salt made it perfection.
The three-course meal was more than enough and we were content
to watch desserts get delivered to other tables while enjoying
our espresso. They were as impeccably presented as our entire
meal had been well know to save room on our next
And there will be trips back. Even being able to make as many
choices as we did, there was much more on the menu calling
our name. Veraces elegant back patio, with its cushioned
wicker chairs, candlelight and plantings, also called our
name. It looks to be a beautiful place to enjoy dessert and
599 Main Street, Islip
Atmosphere: Old-style Rome meets Soho chic
Cuisine: Authentic Italian with elegant flair
Lunch: Mon-Thur., 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Dinner: Mon.-Thur., 4-11 p.m.;
Fri. & Sat., 4 p.m.-midnight
Sun., 2-10 p.m.