Part New York City, part Italian countryside, Felice is ready to take Long Islanders on a trip.
“I want them to feel in Italy,” said Jacopo Giustiniani, founder of the Felice brand and partner of SA Hospitality Group. “I really want to transport them to Tuscany without taking the plane… and the six-hour jet lag.
“I want to really recreate the ambiance, very similar to the Cortona area, to really bring them home without having to fly there,” he added.
The new Italian restaurant opened last month at 1382 Old Northern Blvd. in Roslyn. As for why Roslyn was chosen for the brand’s first Long Island location after opening seven joints in Manhattan and a pair in Brooklyn, Giustiniani pointed to a few factors.
The first was at the behest of one of his best customers in New York City. The second was the view.
“We are right on [Roslyn] Pond and it really reminded me of Tuscany,” the Florence-born restauranteur said. “We take a lot of inspiration from Tuscany, due to the fact that I grew up there.”
Italian dining and wining
Felice’s menu boasts a bevy of pasta dishes, such as the baked gnocchi formaggio e tartufo, made with 24-month aged parmigiano-reggiano, taleggio, gruyere, blue cheese and black truffle, along with the linguine ai frutte di mare with Tuscan-style mixed seafood, white wine sauce, garlic, fresh parsley and crushed cherry tomatoes.
For entrees, there’s salmon served with roasted summer squash, pearl onions, basil, mint and Castelvetrano olive spread. And then there’s oven-roasted Mediterranean sea bass with Yukon gold potatoes, cherry tomatoes, chopped capers, Taggiasche olives, braised shallots, parsley and lemon slices. One of Giustiniani’s personal favorites is the prime dry-aged porterhouse and bone-in ribeye steaks.
“Growing up in Florence we are famous for the steak alla fiorentina,” he said. “It’s a beautiful piece of meat, and it’s served tableside. The chef comes outside and cuts it for you. It’s very entertaining.”
Felice’s appitizers include the crostone ricotta made with fresh ricotta, Italian linden spicy honey, figs and sliced almonds; veal meatballs and the vongole oreganate; oven baked Little Neck clams; and calamari with white wine, toasted panko, garlic and herbs.
As for the atmosphere, Giustiniani describes the ninth Felice establishment as “rustic chic.”
“We decided to keep most of the structure, the wood beams that have been there since the 19th century,” he said. “But we also wanted to bring in our Felice elements, the marble, the lettering, our beautiful colorful carpet and our strips.”
Wine bottles line the walls of the restaurant’s indoor dining area, showcasing an offering in which the brand’s founder from wine-producing Tuscany takes pride.
“We are not just a restaurant, but we are also a wine bar,” Giustiniani said. “The wine list is pretty extensive, we have almost 200 labels.
“I curated the list with mostly Italian wines of course, but we also have a few American wines and a few champagnes,” he continued. “I think the wine list is pretty unique for New York and Long Island.”
Top photo: The dining room of Felice Roslyn. (Facebook)