The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
The Graceful Rose, overlooking the harbor in Port Jefferson, is a fancy but welcoming place designed for festive dining. There is a soaring cathedral ceiling and an abundance of decor, including a large aquarium, crystal chandeliers, and two mammoth purple crystal geodes towering over bigger tables and more intimate tufted banquettes.
The night I was there, the service was professional and attentive. Genial chef Vincent Michaels hopped from table to table, introducing himself to diners and making personal recommendations. The food, especially at these prices, would benefit from the same attention to detail.
The crispy coating on the Thai calamari ($12) was soggy after a bath in too much cloyingly sweet chili sauce. Pan-seared wild mushroom and shrimp dumplings ($16) were undercooked, with a flavorful filling that was cold when it should have been piping hot. Day boat scallops ($32) were fresh and juicy but sat on a bed of risotto that was bland and mushy.
A better choice was the pasta special, rigatoni ala vodka ($28) with chunks of tender chicken and sauteed spinach. The tremendous portion came in a seemingly bottomless bowl, with a crispy and light slice of garlic bread on the side.
Graceful Rose is at 154 West Broadway in Port Jefferson, 631-509-1792.