Here are Newsday’s top seafood restaurants for 2018. Dive in.
Note: Most dishes mentioned are samples of the restaurants’ menus and may not be available at all times. Seasonal changes and dish substitutions are common.
Catch Oyster Bar
Catch Oyster Bar (63 N. Ocean Ave., Patchogue): The father-son team of Jim and Michael Avino brought this compact, colorful, lively oyster bar and restaurant downtown. Jim also runs Avino's Italian Table in Bellport. Their new venture seats about 30 contented diners in what used to be a unisex hair salon, now with exposed duct work and beams, subway tiles and glassier ones, and an artfully distressed sculpture of a mermaid overhead. Have a dozen oysters on the half shell here and you'll start thinking every downtown on Long Island needs a Catch. Pick at random from the day's oysters, Blue Point to Kumamoto, Mermaid Cove to Wild Fire Island. Sample the grilled oysters and fried oysters Rockefeller, baked clam "stuffies" sparked with bacon and a warm, buttery lobster roll. The oyster po'boy is excellent, as are the New England and Manhattan clam chowders, fish and chips, octopus salad, and, for a contemporary spin, bluefin tuna crudo. The landlocked can enjoy buttermilk fried chicken and jambalaya. More info: 631-627-6860, catchoysterbar.com
The raw bar sampler is served at Catch Oyster Bar in Patchogue.
The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House
The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House (25 Main St., Roslyn): Three generations of the Scheiner family have owned and run The Jolly Fisherman, which opened in 1957. Steven Scheiner now is the chef-owner. He oversees a traditional seafood house, perched above the pond. The restaurant sometimes takes a modern turn, savors seasonal dishes, and serves steaks, too. It's dependable, consistent, and right for the whole family. In season, the essentials include Nantucket Bay scallops, soft-shell crab, and irresistible stone crab claws. Blue Point oysters, shellfish cocktails, and Maine lobsters are mainstays. And the swordfish steak "extra thick cut" with mustard sauce more than rivals buttery Dover sole meunière and sautéed Florida red snapper. Fish and chips and fried Ipswich clams understandably have devoted fans, as does the macadamia nut-crusted salmon. The dry-aged sirloin and the filet mignon head the steaks. Broiled calf's liver with crisp bacon and smothered onions? Also fine. Banana cream pie, chocolate cream pie, rice pudding, and walnut-raisin bread pudding with vanilla sauce are tastes of nostalgia. More info: 516-621-0055, jollyfishermanrestaurant.com
The Captain's Feast is served at The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House in Roslyn.
Kyma (1446 Old Norther Blvd., Roslyn): Kyma is a Greek classic. Awash in sky-blue and white, with artwork evoking the Aegean and a mood of perpetual summer, it has enough style to satisfy anyone still deciding between Santorini and Mykonos. Bright, airy, and transporting, you'll feel closer to a high-end island resort than the Roslyn viaduct. Accordingly, you may enjoy the familiar, full-flavored stars of Greek cuisine. But what elevates Kyma is the daily catch of pristine seafood, simply and perfectly prepared. Best are the whole fish, sold by the pound, displayed on ice, waiting to be expertly grilled. Look for fagri, a Mediterranean pink snapper, sweet and meaty; the fuller-flavored tsipoura, or royal dorado; mild black sea bass; Florida pompano; and the more familiar red snapper and branzino. They're rivaled by sweet langoustines, giant tiger shrimp, and marinated and skewered swordfish. From the sea, begin with oysters and clams, lump crab and shrimp cocktails; or grilled octopus. Give in to saganaki and spanakopita. Nibble on zucchini and eggplant chips. And the moussaka and grilled sirloin steak are as fine as the fish. For dessert: baklava, Greek yogurt. More info: 516-621-3700, kyma-roslyn.com
Grilled langoustines at Kyma in Roslyn.
Limani (1043 Northern Blvd., Roslyn): Palatial in size and opulent in design, Limani must be the showiest seafood restaurant in either Nassau or Suffolk. Consider it a temple to Greek fare, too. The prices keep pace with the design. Limani specializes in whole fishes sold by the pound. Some are displayed on ice. They earn the spotlight and are served perfectly chargrilled. Easy choices are fagri or Mediterranean snapper; black sea bass; royal dorado; loup de mer; and Dover sole. You'll also be drawn to the grilled halibut and the skewered swordfish with grilled peppers and tomatoes. Langoustines and head-on shrimp are rich in every way. Limani offers an appealing raw bar, expertly grilled octopus, and calamari stuffed with feta, manouri, and kefalograviera cheeses. Roasted beets paired with skordalia, a puree of potatoes and garlic, is a savory appetizer, along with saganaki, or pan-fried kefalograviera. Any diner averse to seafood will find plump, juicy grilled lamb chops, a bone-in, rib-eye steak, and a porterhouse steak for two. Lemon roasted potatoes and Greek fries seasoned with oregano are the apropos side dishes. More info: 516-869-8989, limani.com
Whole grilled fagri, a Greek snapper, is served at Limani in Roslyn.
Lost at Sea
Lost at Sea (888 W. Beech St., Long Beach): Lost at Sea is executive chef Alex Trolf's marine version of his equally personal, idiosyncratic, and cash-only Lost and Found, situated about five blocks west, also in Long Beach. Here, Trolf prepares a distinctive menu with chef de cuisine Luke Roberti for the 26 diners who fit into the modest space. Expect a quartet of raw dishes, and a quintet each of cold and hot, plus a few sides. There's a daily selection of oysters, littleneck clams, maybe a smoked fish dip. Chilled seafood salad glistens as does any crudo with agrodolce sauce. Peconic Bay scallops are accented with a blood-orange agrodolce sauce. Baked topneck clams arrive tender and to the point. Scallops, caramelized on one side and pillowlike on the other, find their foil with salsa verde. Cod with lemon sauce receives a shower of crisp breadcrumbs. Arctic char tartare deserves your attention, too. Anyone resistant to seafood can rely on steak frites with aioli. There may not be a dessert. More info: 516-632-5263
Cod arrives topped with breadcrumbs and seated in a lemon sauce at Lost at Sea in Long Beach.
Neraki Greek Mediterranean Grill
Neraki Greek Mediterranean Grill (273 Main St., Huntington): Neraki is a Greek-and-Mediterranean combination platter, with the classic image of Santorini's white buildings with Aegean blue roofs announcing it on the website. The emphasis is seafood, the style is homey, and the prices are comparatively moderate. It's a winning formula and fills a much-needed niche among Long Island's fish houses. You can happily start with familiar Greek appetizers, especially the spreads of roe and eggplant, stuffed grape leaves, and saganaki, the fried kefalograviera mainstay. Or just dive in early and savor the meaty, smoky grilled Mediterranean octopus; squid, either pan-fried, grilled, or stuffed with vegetables and shrimp. If grilled Portuguese sardines are available, they're a mandatory choice. Pan-fried crabcakes are modest, but good. Then, focus on the whole-fish selection. The charcoal-grilled choices include fagri, or Mediterranean snapper, p a lean and flavorful swimmer; the more delicate and ubiquitous branzino; sweet and firm porgy; flaky black sea bass; and mild orata. They're almost rivaled by the center-cut swordfish and center-cut tuna steaks. Grilled jumbo shrimp: moist and deftly done. Lamb chops and strip steak are good alternatives for the dissenters. More info: 631-385-3474, neraki.com
Tsipoura, freshly caught porgy, is grilled on charcoal and served whole at Neraki Greek Mediterranean Grill in Huntington.
Plaza Café (61 Hill St., Southampton): Doug Gulija opened The Plaza Café in 1997 and almost immediately became Long Island's master of seafood. His meticulous, creative, seasonal, flavor-packed cuisine has only improved and his casually elegant restaurant is an understated Hamptons star, inviting, and almost as hidden as a truffle. Pan-seared local calamari are complemented by piquillo pepper, hummus, and preserved Meyer lemon. Wild Pacific shrimp are wrapped with prosciutto and paired with porcini risotto and microgreens. His ceviche of sea scallops with purple potatoes is a vacation in Peru. Fluke crudo: an East End special. Horseradish-crusted cod is flanked by roasted garlic-potato puree and grilled ramps. The sensational lobster-and-shrimp version of shepherd's pie arrives under a chive-potato crust. Grilled swordfish materializes with a ragout of peas, pea leaves, and sweet sausage meat, finished with an organic carrot-chive broth. The herb-crusted New Zealand rack of lamb, with a roasted-garlic flan, grilled asparagus, and a morel-Port wine reduction could convert a vegetarian. His themed desserts, strawberry to cherry to peach, are delightful. More info: 631-283-9323, plazacaferestaurant.com
Grilled Montauk sword chop with crab seasonal vegetable risotto and grilled garlic scapes is served at Plaza Café in Southampton.
Southold Fish Market
Southold Fish Market (64755 Main Rd., Southold): Charlie Manwaring's seafood market and very informal restaurant have practically achieved landmark status on the North Fork. You'll need a subpoena to find fresher fish. The takeout business is more than brisk. But you may dine in leisurely, too, from a menu that could double as a calendar for whatever local seafood is running. He sends out a delectable warm lobster roll and a spirited lobster salad BLT, a fried oyster wrap with bacon, fried clam strip tacos, and sesame-seared tuna tacos. Oven roasted filet of fluke and either sautéed or fried Peconic Bay scallops deserve everyone's attention. Grilled sea scallops: plump and tender, alongside a Caesar salad. Consider the diverting fish Reuben made with cod. Airy fried "porgy puffs," in a light batter, are springtime treats. Same for shad roe with bacon and weakfish with a bit of garlic. Look for the charbroiled oysters with garlic-butter sauce and the scallop-bacon-ranch quesadilla. And dip a spoon into both the New England and Manhattan clam chowders. Be sure to take a couple of dishes home. More info: 631-765-3200
Fried scallops are served at Southold Fish Market in Southold.