Basil growing in Bellport: First Bites

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Basil Restaurant & Spirits in Bellport offers Italian

Basil Restaurant & Spirits in Bellport offers Italian American cuisine. (2013) Photo Credit: Handout

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

Basil is the new, casual Italian and American restaurant in Bellport. Early on, the results are very modest and so are the prices.

It's an easygoing, flat-screen-TV-at-the-bar kind of place. The menu sticks to openers that might be served at the bar and main courses that don't require too much effort, either.

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"Buffalo calamari" means respectable fried squid with two sauces on the side, blue cheese and less-than-spicy red pepper. Blue cheese is the highlight on a chewy hanger steak, which also advertises a basil pesto sauce that must be invisible.

Stuffed pork loin is tender, though underseasoned despite its packing of prosciutto, broccoli rabe and fontina cheese. Chicken giardiniera: accceptable Milanese-style, with chopped tomatoes, arugula, onion.

Basil's chef is Richard Doxsee, whose local experience includes cooking at Mamma Lombardi's in Holbrook. Basil is on the former site of Meritage.

Consider Basil to be in its growing season.

Basil, 14 Station Rd., Bellport; 631-803-8236.

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