The days are still warm, but it's getting dark earlier and earlier. Only a few more weeks to enjoy summer, and Oyster Bay Fish & Clam, which is open only from April 1 through the weekend after Labor Day. (It reopens for the Oyster Festival, which, this year, is Oct. 15 and 16.)
The 100-year-old building is about a mile south of Oyster Bay Harbor, and you're more likely to hear the sound of the traffic on Route 106 than the screech of gulls, but it's a resolutely nautical spot, nonetheless. Before George and Carmine Melillo bought it 29 years ago, the building had housed two successive Polish butchers. Now, the bar and dining room are done up with decades worth of accretion of seafaring props and painting, the checked tablecloths are pure old-time oyster bar. But on a sultry summer night, it's great to eat on the patio.
Simple is best here: Clams, raw littlenecks, top-necks or cherrystones on the half shell, steamed soft-shells, fried "belly" clams -- they're all good. It's Oyster Bay: Bluepoints from Oyster Bay's own Frank M. Flower and Sons are always fresh and briny. The menu also features plenty of traditional fried-fish dinners, lobster specials, chowders and bisques.
We were not enthralled by a gigantic lobster-stuffed artichoke; neither seemed to benefit by the arrangement. A lobster roll, $19, was generously stuffed with a rather wet, pallid lobster salad.
But I could have sat for hours sipping summer ale and slurping local topnecks.
Oyster Bay Fish & Clam is at 103 Pine Hollow Rd., Oyster Bay, 516-922-5522. $$-$$$