66 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • JULY 2018
BEST OF THE WURSTS
FROM NAUTILUS TO NONNA
BY JEFF AND VERA WURST
La Nonna Bella is a bona fide Italian
restaurant in Garden City operated by
chef Lino DeVivo, who comes from
Conversano, a Bari suburb in Puglia
on eastern Italy’s Adriatic coast.
Puglia is renowned for wholesome
and diverse tastes of simple
and healthy recipes passed down
for generations. La Nonna Bella
means the beautiful grandma, and
you can taste grandma’s love in the
DeVivo presents dishes from this
region that yields like the native
orecchiette pasta made from duram
wheat. Pastas from Puglia tend to
be made from only flour and water
because eggs were once a luxury. At
La Bella Nonna, as in Italy, the ingredients
are fresh, wide ranging and
Our waiter, Nelson, recommended
several appetizers: Carpaccio de
Manzo adorned with arugula and
shaved parmesan cheese; Insalata
Di Polpo e patate with celery, olives,
and drizzled with a lemon garlic-infused
olive oil; and a special, tartare
of succulent shrimp, balanced with
avocado, corn, wasabi mayo, and
We had the choice of having branzino
served as a whole fish filet or
whole and deboned tableside. We
chose cooked whole because there is
so much flavor that comes from the
bone. The server masterfully trims
the fish, but if you prefer, DeVivo will
debone it in the kitchen. The fish was
served with fresh herbed olive oil
and assorted delectable vegetables.
Amongst the homemade pastas is
Gnocchi di Alberobello with olive gnocchi
with cherry tomatoes, roasted
garlic, extra virgin olive oil, arugula
and shaved ricotta. Don’t pass up the
Cavatelli Conversanese, homemade
cavatelli sautéed with caramelized
onion, spinach and smashed fava
beans, reminiscent of DeVivo’s hometown.
The other selections of meat,
fish and fowl remain tempting for
The substantial wine list has wines
from Toscana, Puglia, Calabria and
Piemonte, ranging from $38 to $370.
We opted for berries for dessert
after our generous meal, although we
were very tempted by the homemade
bomboloni, aka donuts – one filled
with Italian custard, another with
nutella, and the third with cannoli
La Nonna Bella, 660 Franklin
Ave., Garden City, 516-248-0366.
Freeport’s Nautical Mile is renowned
for seafood restaurants.
Recently we visited the Nautilus
Café, which has been on Woodcleft
Avenue since 1988. The restaurant
continues to deservedly enjoy an
excellent reputation for fresh fish
Brian Crofton is owner and executive
chef of this staple waterfront
eatery where wood walls complete the
feel of being on a boat. Our attentive
waitress, Vicki, guided us through an
impressive list of specials as a creative
bread assortment arrived.
Wednesday night is steak night,
when the menu includes choice of a
cocktail, salad or soup of the day, and
potato or vegetable. The main dish is
boneless prime rib, grilled marinated
skirt steak, aged shell steak or veal
Our appetizer was tender sesame
crusted rare tuna harmonized
with soy sauce, cucumber wasabi
sauce, and ginger sesame sauce.
All dishes come with a Caesar or
house salad. The Caesar was freshly
dressed so as not to overpower the
crisp, fresh romaine lettuce. The flavorful
dressing is prepared daily from
scratch. It was amongst the best Caesar
salads we have had outside of the
famous Brown Derby in Los Angeles.
We couldn’t resist the great deal on
the steak night menus and ordered
the succulent porterhouse veal chop
unified with a new twist of vegetable,
burnt broccoli. The veal chop was
thick, moist and broiled to our liking.
Fresh swordfish was a special
that night. We chose to have the
well-executed blackened swordfish.
Too often swordfish is dry and
overcooked, but not at the Nautilus.
It was thick, delicate, delectable and
We resisted the sweets and finished
with fresh strawberries, but without
the fresh homemade whipped cream.
We did eye the selections at neighboring
tables. The sizzling apple crumb
pie, frozen mud pie and warm chocolate
lava cake looked tempting.
The Nautilus Café also has a nice
wine selection of reds, whites and
sparking varieties ranging from $30
to $145 per bottle along with by-theglass
Nautilus Cafe, 46 Woodcleft
Avenue, Freeport, 516-379-2566.
Jeff is a practicing attorney. Vera
is a retired schoolteacher. Both love
Long Island food and wine and are
delighted to share their discoveries
with you. Contact them at lipressfood@
PRESS BUZZ: MAIN DISH
The Nautical Mile in Freeport is known for its seafood.
Steak night at Nautilus Cafe can’t be beat.