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Table for Two

Rare gem shines in Lynbrook

Posted

Il Pozzo Wine Bar & Kitchen

46 Atlantic Ave., Lynbrook

(516) 596-7870,

www.ilpozzowinebar.com

Owners and newlyweds Lisa and Dominic Natoli have graced us with a fresh, unique concept: a place to enjoy wine, beer or a cocktail, and to dine on shareable items possibly not found elsewhere. Do not be mislead by the name, “Il Pozzo,” which means The Well in Italian. Cuisine here is globally eclectic, and some items boast an original twist, thanks to their extraordinary chef, Luke Penater.

This is exactly where you’d want to be on a chilly night. Think cozy, romantic and rustic chic. Pendant lights present a warm, inviting space lush with brick facades, intentionally aged walls, industrial piping and a festive bar. Seating varies between high top and standard tables . ..all in rich wood. In the works is a private room for up to 30; larger parties of up to 85 can reserve the entire restaurant.

Pinot Grigio complemented our shareable selections perfectly. Beef ‘Bahn Mi’ Bao Bun (three per order) were served on a taco rack — steamed buns filled with Vietnamese braised beef, carrots, jalapeno, cilantro, pickled daikon and spicy mayo. Fried artichoke (sliced hearts) burst with flavor, with parsley and pecorino aioli to dip. A bowl of Sicilian style lamb meatballs in tomato sauce was crowned with pecorino crema. Three Cheese Shells, made with asiago, fontina and white cheddar cheeses and topped with truffled breadcrumbs, was a mac ‘n cheese to remember. Salt & Pepper Shrimp offered Szechuan style seasoning, drizzled with pepper jam and sprinkled with scallions. St. Louis-style Smokey BBQ Ribs could be the finest I’ve tasted, saucy and savory, fall-off-the-bone tender.

From the larger plates, White Wine Mussels were finished with herbed butter, sambal and baguette wedges. Prime NY Strip Steak served on a stone slab, was tender, beautifully seasoned and sliced, garnished with herb salad. Mashed Potatoes topped with braised red cabbage was a wonderful side dish.

Coffee is served in a French press with a tiny hour-glass timer; wait four minutes, push down, and enjoy. Bananas Foster Spring Rolls, served with sauce and vanilla gelato was a true treat. Home Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies (three) came with whipped cream covered in sprinkles. Chess Pie was delightful, with custard inside.

Bar Bites range from $7 for trail mix to $36 for a large platter of cured meats, cheeses, olives and crostini. Sides and salads are $7 to $14. Shareables are $11 to $17, and larger plates, $15 to $39. Desserts are $7 to $11. An extensive, well-selected wine list offers bottles, by-the-glass, or flights ($16 to $22) to taste four. Menus will change with the seasons, and specials happen each night.

Il Pozzo opens at 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and at 5 p.m. on Saturday. They close to the public on Sundays, but will accommodate pre-arranged private parties.

Recommendations:

■ Fried Artichokes

■ Three Cheese Shells

■ Sicilian Style lamb Meatballs

■ Beef ‘Bahn Mi’ Bao Bun

■ Smokey BBQ Ribs

■ Salt & Pepper Shrimp

■ White Wine Mussels

■ Prime NY Strip Steak

■ Mashed Potatoes with Braised Cabbage

■ Banana Foster Spring Rolls

■ Chocolate Chip Cookies

■ French Press Coffee