You can’t saddle up to a table at Pasta Pasta and order baked ziti.
That’s because there is no baked ziti, nor are there stuffed shells or eggplant rollatini.
Despite its name, Pasta Pasta, which is now in its 30th year in Port Jefferson, hasn’t been an Italian-American restaurant since 1996, when the original owners sold. Yet this well-known name has remained.
The menu can best be described by owners Debra and Jerry Bowling as new American.
It’s a place locals have come to know as a can’t-miss spot for steak and fish — as well as the over a dozen imaginative pasta dishes.
We want you to know before you go.
So, without further ado, here are five non-pasta items that are a must-try at Pasta Pasta, located at 234 East Main Street in Port Jefferson.
FISH OF THE DAY (29)
Typically a salmon, monkfish, swordfish or striped bass, or a choice from among them. The salmon option is always available, or we’re told people would “break out the pitch forks.”
Since you’re dealing with a chef who’s been at Pasta Pasta for 30 years, he knows just what to order, how much, and when, the owners say.
That means the fish is always fresh.
All options are served grilled or blackened with potato and vegetable, or you could get it over field greens with plum tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, feta cheese and a lemon dill vinaigrette.
DUCK TWO WAYS (32)
For our duck fans, the answer is yes: Pasta Pasta indeed sources its duck from Crescent Duck Farms in Aquebogue, L.I., whose impeccable reputation in the culinary world dates to 1908.
With this dish you’ll get the beefy yet tender and moist breast, as well as get to experience the pinnacle of French elegance with the fattier, slow-cooked confit in a risotto with sautéed spinach and red wine port reduction.
“It’s just a good dish,” says owner Debra Bowling.
FILET MIGNON (35)
This 8-ounce filet mignon rivals any you’ll find at a steakhouse.
Pasta Pasta’s filet dish has held steady — along with the Fish of the Day entrée — as among the most popular two items on its dinner menu for decades.
It’s served over toasted gnocchi that’s tossed with roasted garlic, sage, prosciutto, arugula, and a splash of marsala wine — a flavor powerhouse.
There’s also a 6-ounce lunch filet (24) that’s cooked with the same care. The lunch option is southwestern seasoned, and served with mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach, crispy onions, and Diane sauce.
BLACKENED CHICKEN & SHRIMP (14)
This crowd-pleasing appetizer at Pasta Pasta has only grown in popularity with the keto diet craze. There’s no breading, just seasoning and oil.
The proteins are the star of this appetizer dish.
w/ CAULIFLOWER CRUST (21+2)
The Pasta Pasta team searched high and low looking for a gluten-free pizza dough option that actually worked, and they found it in the form of cauliflower. (Even that took much trial and error.)
It’s so good that you’re gluten-free friend could order it for the entire table and not have to feel bad — or, worse still, sit out while everyone’s eating pizza.
We ordered ours with shrimp, roasted eggplant, red onions, black olives, plum tomato sauce, goat cheese and fresh mozzarella.
The dough holds, even with all that goodness spread on top. As for the flavor, it’ll delight you from tip to crust. And you will eat the crust.
Also pictured is the Shrimp, Lobster & Jumbo Lump Crab Meat Cocktail.