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Hurricane Grill & Wings

A chicken Philly sandwich is served on a

A chicken Philly sandwich is served on a toasted hoagie roll at Hurricane Grill & Wings in Port Jefferson Station. (April 5, 2010) Photo Credit: Photo by Doug Young

The all-American triumvirate - televised sports, hot wings and cold beer - are on tap (and in bottles) at the new Hurricane Grill & Wings in Port Jefferson Station. This is the first L.I. branch of a Florida-based franchise; it's owned by Vinny Greco, former assistant equipment manager for the Mets.

A few players already have shown up to support their friend and former colleague. While you may not catch a baseball celeb, you'll find some tropical vibe and better food than you might expect.


GRAND SLAMS

A basket of house-made kettle chips augurs well. Wings (bone-in or boneless breast strips) may be tossed with any number of sauces. I've had them with "ridiculously hot Hurricane sauce" (fiery but not lethal) as well as hot-sweet mesquite barbecue sauce and salt and vinegar. All good.

I'm hooked on the wood- smoked fish dip, decoratively plated with jalapeños, onions, tomatoes and chips. It puts a Caribbean-Mexican spin on the whitefish salad I'd ordinarily spread on a bagel.

An ancho chili mahi mahi sandwich (grilled fish topped with a piquant but not searing sauce) is a home run. I'm amazed at how good the chicken "Philly" sandwich turns out to be. It's made with cubes of moist griddle-cooked poultry, onions, peppers and melted American cheese.

Hooray, my burger is done to medium-rare specs, nicely topped with applewood-smoked bacon and Cheddar; a friend's medium-well patty with mushroom and Swiss comes out good and juicy.

Big surprise: I actually like the "peanut butter thing" (chocolate-peanut butter pie) and deep-fried banana-caramel cheesecake. Yikes.


SHUT OUT

While there's nothing wrong with the honey-pecan chopped chicken salad (mixed greens topped with chopped grilled chicken, honey pecans, bleu cheese, dried cranberries, diced tomatoes and a honey- lime Dijon vinaigrette), the unexciting result doesn't get to first base. Fries are the ordinary pre-frozen variety, a major letdown.


FINAL SCORE

As chain sports pubs go, this one has a fairly high batting average - plus truly low prices.

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