Dario's in Rockville Centre (no website that I can find) often ranks as the highest rated Italian restaurant in the Long Island Zagat's, or near the top. They even have a little display inside, on the bar, with a 27 food rating.
I don't normally care about decor, but the decor is weird. Bland off-white walls, yellowish lighting, some paintings. It looks like the cafeteria at an upscale nursing home. Though I suppose the oldies would need more light. (I can say things like that until I'm an oldy. If I live that long.)
The menu is boring. I was shocked at how boring. Not much different than a typical Long Island pizzeria menu: chick parm or veal parm; chicken marsala or veal marsala, etc. Snooze.
I was with a group and was able to try a number of things: stuffed clams, fried calamari, caprese salad, veal francese, gnocchi in a bolognese, and penne with a veal ragout (a special that day). Considering the place's reputation, I was expecting a great meal. It wasn't great. The food is very average.
One of the people in the group was a friend who's a smart guy and whose food opinion I respect most of the time--unless he starts talking about Indian food, which I hate. He thought the place was awful and wouldn't shut up about how awful it was. So I did like it more than he did.
The prices weren't too crazy, surprisingly. The appetizers probably averaged $8 to $12, the entrees around $20.
Giving Dario's a 27 for food is the problem with the Zagat's system, and it's the reason I don't care what Zagat's has to say about any restaurant. It's a bunch of clueless idiots voting online who don't know what they're talking about. I don't blame Dario's. They put out average food that people who vote in Zagat's think is great. They have zero incentive to make the food better.
2 out of 5 stars
13 North Village Ave.
Rockville Centre, NY