39° Good Afternoon
39° Good Afternoon

First bite: Serata in Oyster Bay

Sliders at Serata restaurant, Oyster Bay. (July 2011)

Sliders at Serata restaurant, Oyster Bay. (July 2011) Credit: Teresa Gianotti

Decorated with a big crystal chandelier, TV sets in all directions, a bar at the center and a style definitely its own, Serata has taken over the former address of the Mill River Inn.

Maybe "taken over" is too mild a description.

Mill River closed in 2009. Diners will remember an achingly refined New American restaurant, dressed in subtle gray, adorned with photos from Planting Fields Arboretum, baroque music politely in the background.

Now, it's Sinatra singing "Fly Me to the Moon," al fresco seating upfront and a menu that takes in broccoli-rabe and chicken-Parm sliders, an eggplant tower, grilled calamari and penne with pistachios.

Well, nobody pushed to make Mill River a landmark, anyway. RIP.

The new eatery does open friendlier and more welcoming than its predecessor, reserving any starchiness for the pasta. Instead of a destination, Serata could become an upbeat, local hangout. The more casual approach suits the calendar.

But, given this stretch of the ZIP code, Serata  isn't a bargain eatery. Your branzino swims in at $38. The food generally is good. But don't expect a tropical-fruit plate. And skip the "old school" finale that, irony-free, includes a Hostess-Drake's combo of two Twinkies, two Ring Dings and two Devil Dogs.

Take the cannoli.

Serata, 160 Mill River Rd., Oyster Bay; 516-628-2800.



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