Location: 155 Main St. Northport, NY 11768
Description: There are more than a dozen good New York craft beers on tap at Rockin ... More »
Look for a seat, either at the bar or at one of the squeezed-in tables. You'll make an acquaintance or two along the way, because Rockin' Fish overflows faster than a brew poured too fast.
Chef-owner Rob Haddow oversees the party at this gastro pub. He also runs the Crossroads Cafe in East Northport, a cozy spot that, compared with Rockin' Fish, keeps a vow of silence. Lots of hard surfaces here, from the exposed brick walls to the blackboards, in a vintage building.
You may go al fresco for a less-rockin' noise level. A few tables are alongside the place. But you won't be denied the experience of erratic service. Same inside and out, for attentiveness and pacing. Those appetizer crumbs are likely to stay through dessert, assuming you do.
That said, have some oysters: Wellfleet, Hood Canal, Sunset Beach, each fine. No need to adulterate them in an oyster sake shooter. And skip the Parmesan-crusted oysters -- at minimum, a misdemeanor.
Fried rock shrimp with Cajun spicing improves the hot list. Likewise, the fried calamari, ready for the modest marinara dip. Satisfactory sauteed mussels fra diavolo become more diablo with jalapeños, as well as crushed red pepper.
Refresh yourself with the watermelon salad, balanced with Gorgonzola cheese and marinated red onion. Also recommended: the jumbo lump crabmeat cocktail. The Maine lobster salad cocktail, however, is a watery renegade from the lobster roll, itself almost as underseasoned as the lobster bisque. Fish-and-chips, starring grouper, loses its crispness en route. Forget eggplant lasagna.
The better main courses include a crunchy-sweet soft-shell crab po'boy; fat diver scallops, with a pepper-ginger glaze; pan-seared swordfish with a Cajun accent and chilled tomato-mango salsa; and crisp red snapper, curled atop mashed potatoes. Pepper-seared ahi tuna arrives overdone. Order yours rare and it may materialize medium. Use the same strategy for the respectable house burger.
To accompany all this, suds up. Among the winners are Brooklyn Lager, Captain Lawrence Kölsch, Dogfish Head Sah'tea, Empire Cream Ale and Keegan Ales Black Eye IPA. And look for brews from Left Hand, Magic Hat, Blue Point, Fire Island. Flights are available, with four (4-ounce) minis for $9.
The desserts generally focus on ice cream, which will do, along with the workmanlike cheesecake and tiramisu. But then they go and fry Oreo cookies in zeppole batter. One bite, and you'll probably inquire about Boon Framboise, a raspberry lambic from Belgium.
Sweet aroma, tart taste, apropos finale.