Bahama Breeze at Smith Haven Mall: First bites

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Wood-grilled salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and green

Wood-grilled salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans at Bahama Breeze Island Grille in Lake Grove in March 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick

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The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.

Sitting down to dinner at the tropically themed new Bahama Breeze Island Grille at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove was anything but a breeze one recent evening. The wait at the Florida-based chain ran about 45 minutes.

When seated, at last, I ordered a “skinny” mojito. “You don’t want that,” I was told by a very chipper server, who relayed opinions of the low-cal drink given by other customers. So I followed that advice and got a Cubano mojito instead. It turned out to be the hit of the evening.

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A cup of chicken tortilla soup ($3.49), dotted with chunks of avocado, roasted corn and tortilla strips, looked gorgeous but pretty much tasted like — well, nothing.  Sweetness underscored the jumbo lump crab stack ($13.99), a pretty but icy-cold layering of crab meat, chilled shrimp, avocado and mango.  Best was a slab of wood-grilled salmon ($17.99), served with first-rate garlic mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.

If you're headed to Bahama Breeze, you can call ahead to have your name put on a list for seating. Then, you won’t have to hang around the waiting area holding a buzzer and checking out the surprisingly dim decor.

Bahama Breeze Island Grille is at the western edge of Smith Haven Mall, fronting Middle Country Road, 612 Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove, 631-366-6212,

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