By Tes Silverman
Piccola Bussola is an Italian family-style restaurant that is steeped in tradition.
The family-owned Huntington restaurant began 23 years ago after Pasquale Lubrano expanded upon the success he found in Glen Cove with La Bussola restaurant by opening Piccola Bussola at 970 W Jericho Turnpike in Huntington. He employed his son John Lubrano to run it.
Piccola Bussola, which means “small compass” in Italian, actually has a decorative compass built on the side of the roof, serving as a beacon for diners searching for a great meal. Once you step inside, you are greeted by warm, earthy colors that lets diners know they’ve stepped into a restaurant that values tradition.
Diners are introduced to non-traditional fare from appetizers to entrees, including appetizers like eggplant balls ($9 for a half order/$15 for a full order) and grilled octopus with pesto ($15 for a small order/$28 for family style), which may seem unusual, but are worth ordering.
The eggplant balls, a special that is made like traditional meatballs with white bread, onions and seasoning, are light and delicate. They’re topped with marinara sauce and ricotta cheese.
The grilled octopus is tender and served with butter beans and potato slices topped with pesto sauce. The dish is filling enough to have as an entree.
If you want a side dish that’s healthy, the escarole salad ($11/$18) is delicious. The salad is made with escarole, chickpeas and artichoke hearts, and is topped with Parmesan cheese. The crunchiness of escarole, creaminess of chickpeas and meatiness of artichoke hearts all results in a complex medley of flavors and textures.
For pasta lovers, Piccola Bussola offers traditional pastas such as linguine, penne, rigatoni and cappellini with sauce choices that include marinara, clam sauce, puttanesca, vodka sauce or garlic and oil.
Diners who prefer non-classical pastas can choose the lobster ravioli ($20/$34). The ravioli is perfectly cooked and the lobster is meaty. In addition, it is topped with shrimps and asparagus in a tomato cream sauce, making it a very filling dish.
If you prefer fish, entrees like Salmon Dijon ($22/$36) and Monkfish Piccata ($26/$44) are great.
The salmon is prepared with Dijon mustard, olive oil and capers.
The monkfish in piccata sauce is prepared in white wine, lemon and caper sauce with marinated artichoke hearts. The meaty texture of the monkfish, along with the slightly lemony, salty flavors of the sauce, results in a light, but filling entree.
For diners who want to end their meal in a sweet way, the tiramisu ($7) is the way to go. The tiramisu is made in-house and the sponge cake’s delicate consistency from creamy mascarpone cheese, coffee liqueur and espresso, creating a slightly sweet and creamy dessert.
Piccola Bussola’s commitment to maintain a family-style restaurant is evident from the care and dedication to excellence shown by owner John Lubrano and his staff to their diners.
“I would hope that our diners leave feeling they have a found a warm and friendly haven for exceptional Italian food, in abundance, at a very reasonable price, so that they feel comfortable returning again and again,” John Lubrano said.
He added, “I expect our servers to provide warm, gracious and accommodating service to our guests.”