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Main Catch review

Main Catch's grilled swordfish is finished in a

Main Catch's grilled swordfish is finished in a lemony beurre blanc. (Oct. 13, 2012) Credit: Adrian Fussell

Main Catch started as the north-side Southside Fish & Clam.

It was shucked fast.

Now, name changed, the sprawling restaurant is borne on a different current. There's an eager waitstaff to go with a good sushi bar, an oyster-and-clam bar, as well as the expected, fine little seafood market.

What you won't find: the counter service and the twin-lobster special that identify the more casual sister restaurant, Southside in Lindenhurst.

Main Catch sports blue-and-green banquettes and more than the usual number of fish-house cliches, from the etched-glass lobster and the fish mounted on the walls to assorted signs with philosophical nuggets about boating.

All of which should direct you to simply prepared food. Main Catch generally succeeds with the basics. The sushi chefs do well, whether they're sticking to straightforward, uncooked fish on vinegared rice or fancy rolls.

So, start with a multicolored out of control roll that stars steamed lobster meat plus raw tuna. Or the paradise roll with tuna and salmon, avocado and mango. Maybe wicked tuna, with peppery, seven-spice seasoning.

The shrimp and lobster cocktails also are recommended. And the kitchen sends out an excellent, just-hot-enough lobster fra diavolo, on request. They also go through a lot of lobster tails, notably in a trio production. New England-style clam chowder, with applewood-smoked bacon, is a respectable rendition.

But pale, flavor-free lobster bisque isn't, despite a lonely claw breaking the surface like a mini-shark fin. The nearly blacktopped crabcake is short on shellfish, long on char. And pasta with clams tastes as if it has more sand than "Lawrence of Arabia."

Dinner improves with a thin slablet of grilled swordfish, finished in a lemony beurre blanc; and a thicker cut of pan-seared yellowfin tuna drizzled with sweet hoisin sauce.

Main Catch veers landward with "the butcher block" section of the menu. New York strip steak, porterhouse, filet mignon -- all worth sampling. Same for the rib steak, except when it's buried under a dense, mushroom mantle and paired with pasty risotto.

The top turf actually is a generous, tender, well-sauced version of chicken alla Parmigiana. Enjoy this one and forget all those heavy-duty pileups of Parms past.

Amaretto cheesecake is creamy; dry pumpkin cheesecake looks like a Halloween joke. Dense but tasty chocolate mousse materializes in a wineglass, atop unripe berries. The house's tiramisu also shows up glassed in, as if it has had an illicit affair with zabaglione.

For the record, they don't serve dessert at Southside.

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