Fishbar on the Lake in Montauk

Inside Fishbar on the Lake in Montauk. (Aug. Inside Fishbar on the Lake in Montauk. (Aug. 27, 2009) Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

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REVIEW

Here it is: the last good restaurant on Long Island.

At the Gone Fishing Marina and opposite the airport is Fishbar on the Lake. Chef Jennifer Meadows makes it a destination for the splashiest seafood around. Perched on Lake Montauk, with a made-for-brochures view, it's an ideal spot to watch summer slip away. It takes a while to get to Fishbar, and a little longer to land a table. Unless you're an octet or larger, expect to wait. But Meadows, who greets the fishing boats to stock up, puts in plenty of time, too. This East End-New England combo plate deserves yours.

THE BEST

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Try Meadows' house-cured bluefish, an ideal preparation that turns this combative swimmer impossibly delicate. Three squares of blue are paired with pickled onions, saffron-tinted aioli and ovals of grilled baguette. Nibble on homey corn-and-jalapeno fritters, ready for chile-and-lime, updated sauce remoulade. Meadows' New England-style clam chowder brings in a fine taste of Nantucket, just as the crisp calamari with marinara and lemon perfect a local favorite. The clam pie will remind you of a soothing seafood-and-vegetable stew, under a square of puff pastry. Deviled blue crab takes you south, with sweet meat and drawn butter. Then, move on to delicious, pan-seared scallops, set on hoppin' john made with jasmine rice, black lentils and applewood-smoked bacon. Meadows also stands out with pan-seared tilefish, atop fingerling potato salad; fried cod and fries for a deluxe fish-and-chips; and pan-seared John Dory. And lobster sliders go beyond any spin on lobster rolls. Continue the theme with either a pristine, steamed lobster, or lively blackened monkfish sliders. Fishbar's tuna burrito invites another bite. Just in case, dissidents can enjoy Buffalo-style chicken wings and strip steak.

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THE REST

Steamed mussels and oven-roasted monkfish materialize overdone. Campanelle pasta with vegetables reaches you at room temperature, a victim of backed-up orders and frequently uneven service. The only respectable dessert is carrot cake.

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THE BOTTOM LINE

Catch of the season.

LOCATION

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467 E. Lake Dr., Montauk, 631-668-6600.

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