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Oceans 5 Seafood Market & Eatery

A platter of beer-battered catfish and chips is

A platter of beer-battered catfish and chips is served at Oceans 5 Seafood Market and Eatery in Shoreham. (Feb. 29, 2012) Photo Credit: Doug Young

Into Shoreham's shopping strip swims the area's catch of the day, likely the month, maybe the year.

Oceans 5 Seafood Market & Eatery is divided by three: counter, restaurant and bar. It succeeds each way, making a little splash on a stretch of Route 25A not exactly known for dining out. But do go into the commercial center on the north side, just east of the firehouse.

The sign highlights the market, which is deservedly popular for takeout. On the other side of the gray beadboard room divider is a restaurant that fits about 25. Fittingly, the appointments are dominated by vivid, oversize black-and-white photos of fish-market scenes, Fulton variety.

It's a pleasantly contemporary space, with black ceiling, exposed ductwork and sharp lighting fixtures that appear to cascade as if emulating fireworks. There are enough reasons to celebrate, very fair prices among them.

Oceans 5 is the offspring of Rick's Seafood market and restaurant in upstate Mahopac. As you'd expect, the theme here is fresh fish and shellfish, best prepared with minimal fuss. The kitchen does more, but you should stick to the basics.

These include well-made New England-style clam chowder and crab-and-corn chowder. Fried clam strips, breaded shrimp scampi-style and seafood salad also are respectable. And the house's crabcake is a neatly crusted, slightly crunchy, mildly sweet affair.

Skippable: overdone, maple-glazed sea scallops wrapped with bacon. Likewise, halibut overwhelmed by a puttanesca-style sauce. There's no reason to dip garlic toast into the rendition of bouillabaisse, either. It's a harshly seasoned seafood stew, missing even a hint of fennel, already undone before the finfish and shellfish were by being overcooked.

Things improve with the rainbow trout amandine, pistachio-crusted Arctic char and an ample, tasty lobster roll. Crisp beer-battered fish-and-chips, made with cod, is excellent, even if the fries are outdone by the coleslaw. Good sesame-crusted tuna, too.

Oceans 5 has a create-your-own-entrée section. Pick from more than a dozen fish; decide whether you want it grilled, pan-seared or baked; and add a sauce, if you like. That last group could lead you into teriyaki territory, the province of pineapple-and-mango salsa and the world of "wasabi fusion." Simpler is better.

And, if you're here with a carnivorous malcontent, the charbroiled New York strip steak with caramelized onions is a satisfying alternative.

The desserts are dreary, from mushy brownie to pasty cheesecake. But they could lead you to that friendly bar.

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