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Ivy Cottage

Pork chop (stuffed with sausage, served with sauteed

Pork chop (stuffed with sausage, served with sauteed cabbage, mashed potatoes and applesauce) at Ivy Cottage in Williston Park. Credit: Newsday / Erica marcus

Snug and romantic, Ivy Cottage is the kind of restaurant you'll want to seek out when the winds kick up. You and someone special can get a table by the fireplace and, in surroundings quaint but not kitschy, enjoy the forthright American cookery of chef-owner Joseph Lester.

Know beforehand that even on a weeknight, you'll need reservations, especially during the hours of the terrific three-course prix fixe dinner, which runs Sunday to Thursday from 5 to 6:30, that goes for less than $20.

You could begin with a fine jumbo lump crab cake, offered with remoulade sauce. A portobello mushroom Napoleon is fresh and pretty, the grilled mushroom slices layered with fresh mozzarella and roasted red pepper, everything drizzled with a light balsamic vinaigrette. But shrimp fried in a coconut batter with a mango chutney is too weighty and too sweet.

On a chilly evening, potato-crusted chicken will sustain you. It's crunchy on the outside, juicy within, with roasted potatoes and sauteed vegetables.

One "early bird" dinner began with a fortifying bowl of vegetable and sausage soup. A roast loin of pork came with house-made applesauce, roasted potatoes and bright sauteed vegetables. Crisp-skinned roast duck, paired with a sweet but appealing raspberry-cherry sauce, was another winning entree.

For dessert, the choices might include a wedge of delicious key lime pie or a cherry crumble (hope they don't microwave yours). A slab of homey butterscotch crunch cheesecake and a luxurious house-made black-and-white mousse cake (available a la carte) are pleasing a la carte alternatives.

Heartwarming fare in cozy surroundings.

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