In local restaurant math: Water view + seafood + Italian = popular. Marino's on the Bay knows how to apply the formula.
The bright, new restaurant is situated in the Brewer Capri Marina, on the banks of Manhasset Bay in the Manorhaven section of Port Washington. On a sunny day or evening, it's a pretty perch to enjoy the reflections and the glistening wavelets while figuring which luxury boat was worth an investment.
And you can have a pretty good meal too.
Marino's on the Bay is the latest in a series of eateries to occupy this niche. You may remember DiMaggio's on the Bay and Lattitudes, among others.
Staying with the tradition, Marino's keeps a generic style and avoids the nautical kitsch. The dining room is more like a streamlined picture frame in dark wood. Enjoy the images.
The kitchen keeps the surprises minimal too. You already could recite the dishes. Even if you've never eaten here, you've eaten here.
So, nibble on the crisp fried calamari and the straightforward shrimp cocktail. Have a spoonful of the red-hued corn-and-clam chowder and pluck that mussel steamed with white wine from its shell. The ample, pan-seared crabcake is a respectable alternative.
But skip the stuffed artichoke oreganata, an overcooked affair with breading akin to seasoned sawdust. The ultrasweet coconut shrimp also can be avoided without making a great sacrifice. You're better off with a starter of crostini, which includes good tuna tartare.
The lobster roll suits Marino's, and the house version is generous, if a bit underseasoned. St. Peter's fish, or tilapia, is enriched with a crust of lobster meat and finished in a citrusy reduction.
It's preferable to an overdone special of mahi-mahi alla Livornese. Grilled swordfish, with little interference and asparagus on the side, is the competition.
Shrimp scampi, the light saute of tender shellfish, comes with al dente linguine for a worthwhile main course. Pastas generally are routine affairs, especially the penne alla vodka and the lasagna with meat.
Filet mignon with a modest Gorgonzola crust heads the steaks. There's a juicy "Tuscan burger" with spinach for company. Marino's has the basic Parmigianas, led by chicken under a lava stream of melted mozzarella.
Cheesecake, cannoli and a chocolate-espresso cake will make you linger over coffee. So will the scenery, especially at twilight.