In with the old, out with the new.
That’s pretty much the case with John Williams’ just-opened Damiano (3011 Yamato Rd., 561/613-6460), a thoroughly traditional Italian-American restaurant dishing all the familiar Italian-American culinary suspects that replaces the more contemporary Italian-Italian Assaggio del Forno in West Boca.
Dennis Max, the most recognizable name behind the short-lived Assaggio, sold his interest in the eatery to Williams, also the proprietor of Frank & Dino’s in Deerfield Beach, after it became apparent that conservative West Boca diners just weren’t warming to Max’s more modern take on Italian cuisine.
A modest reno of the shopping mall space gave it a homier, more casual feel, a feeling replicated in the menu from former Prime and Bova chef Peter Masiello. That means thin-crusted pizzas with the usual assortment of toppings, familiar pastas from linguine with clam sauce to baked ziti, and entrees that reprise such long-time favorites as veal piccata, marsala, parmigiana, shrimp scampi and the like. There’s also a Sunday brunch menu, a family-style menu for Sunday evenings, and a menu for the kiddies.
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it eat tagliatelle with lobster, peas and truffle oil.