Old Style Trattoria Embraces The Modern Era

By Sophia Ricco

Matteo’s Trattoria of Huntington Station achieves the taste of modern Italian cooking by fusing high quality ingredients with dynamic flavor combinations.

The family-owned eatery has a legacy of serving Italian comfort food with a personal touch for over 25 years. Recently reopened after a lengthy renovation, the restaurant sports a chic, new look and versatile menu.

For executive chef, Dennis Borysowski, the key to mastering Italy’s flavors comes from high standards and a keen sense of flavor profiles.

“Italian food starts with the ingredients,” Borysowski said. “It all begins with sourcing the right ingredients.”

Working in every area of a restaurant from the front to the back as a chef or manager, Borysowski is equipped with a deep knowledge of dining. A self-proclaimed lover of food, wine and people, he has spent years refining his skills and learning from the cuisines of many cultures. Living in Huntington, Borysowski was thrilled to design the menu to showcase his own flair to the community.

“There are many items on the menu that are staple Matteo’s dishes and have been around for many years. We did put a modern twist on them and have items that change seasonally,” Borysowski said. “I will make nightly and weekly specials, so we can incorporate different ingredients.”

Matteo’s Trattoria frequently spruces up the menu by swapping out seasonal elements. Something as simple as different vegetable accompaniments to refreshed presentations keeps dishes new and exciting while ensuring the freshest bite. Borysowski crafts specials based on contemporary ingredients and how the weather will affect diner’s appetites. A light appetizer, that is cool on a summer day, the grilled octopus ($17/29) mixes texture and taste. The tender octopus meat is complemented by smokiness from the grill and slight bitterness of onion. Tomatoes bring a bit of acidity while white beans unite the plate, soaking up its fellow ingredients’ flavors.

“We take advantage of what we have to offer, here on Long Island,” Borysowski said. “With four seasons, there are different fruits, vegetables, and styles. We get to be creative and utilize what’s available locally.”

Matteo’s Trattoria keeps things casual, but far from average with specialty pizzas. The robiola pizza ($18.5) is a customer favorite for good reason, defying how cheesy and oozey a slice can truly be. A mixture of cow, goat and sheep’s milk, imported robiola is exceptionally creamy and fluffy. It’s slight sweetness harmonizes with the earthy, savory flavor of truffle oil and black truffles.

“We are a family-style restaurant, so we want the whole family to come,” Borysowski said. “This is the only Matteo’s with a pizza oven. We do Italian pan-size or individual pizzas, they’re great to share as entrees or for kids.”

Matteo’s Trattoria offers single, as well as family style portions. No matter the size, linguine and clams ($18/29) takes the seafood staple to another level. The pasta and little neck clams marinate in the white wine sauce to soak up its buttery, light flavor. The clams taste fresh and tender, coming right out of the shells that are artfully placed around the plate.

“The base of modern Italian food is very simple. A few ingredients that are done right,” Borysowski said. “It shouldn’t really be over-presented. Presentation is important but if it’s simple, it looks good and fresh. Everyone eats with their eyes, so as soon as they see it, they want to dig in.”

The veal chop valdostana ($49.50) is feast for the eyes built around a heaping cut of bone-in veal. The meat is transformed with layers of mozzarella and prosciutto that bring a dynamic mix of savory, salty and creamy flavors; mushrooms and marsala give hints of dark sweetness.

Matteo’s staff pride themselves on warmly greeting everyone as if they are a regular.

“We want people to feel like they’re in an extension of their living room,” Borysowski said. “We want them to feel at home and welcomed. We treat them like they’re guests in our home.”

Matteo’s Trattoria
300 W. Jericho Turnpike
Huntington Station

Cuisine: Italian
Atmosphere: Chic and bright
Price: Appetizers: $13-29
Salads: $13-23
Entrées: $16.50-49.50
Monday-Thursday, 5- 10 p.m.;
Friday-Saturday, 5-11 p.m.;
Sunday, 3-9 p.m.