This is a fish story. Actually, three of them.
The big catch of 2018 seafood restaurants has started with newcomers docking in Woodbury, Huntington and Montauk. Their styles are different, but their goals are the same: fresh fish and shellfish in a casual setting. Here’s a taste of the three.
Oniro Taverna has opened at the Jericho Turnpike address next to the Crest Hollow Country Club, whose owner also owns this site.
Most recently, it was occupied by a couple of short-timers, the California-themed Honig Grill and a franchise of P.J. Clarke’s. But the restaurant most associated with the space is Majors, a casual steakhouse that lasted many years before its lease ended in 2014.
Oniro Taverna is the offspring of Limani, the very expensive, high-end Roslyn Greek restaurant that has consistently ranked among Long Island’s best spots for seafood on Newsday’s annual list of Long Island’s top 100 restaurants. Two of the partners in Limani are behind Oniro Taverna.
“We are a seafood-format taverna,” with lower prices than Limani, said general manager Chris Giorgou. As at Limani, the fresh seafood of the day is displayed on ice. Unlike Limani, it’s not sold by the pound but for a flat price. The regular menu includes whole red snapper for $30, Dover sole for $39, branzino for $30, and orate for $29. The choices aren’t exclusively seafood. Steaks start at $38; roast chicken with mushrooms is $25.
“It’s a mix of the traditional and the contemporary,” said Giorgou, a former owner of the departed Trata seafood restaurants in Roslyn and East Hampton. The more modern fare includes smoked mackerel with red quinoa and caper leaves, and grilled salmon on a truffled cauliflower puree.
Oniro Taverna, 8289 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury, 516-367-8250, onirotaverna.com
The news in Huntington is the transformation of the New Orleans-cuisine eatery Storyville American Table into Finley’s Seafood. Finley’s on Green Street remains the bar side.
Michael Meehan, whose current Huntington restaurants include the gastropub Vauxhall and a Southern barbecue bistro, Radio/Radio, built his reputation with seafood at now-gone establishments such as Clearwater in Massapequa and Tupelo Honey in Sea Cliff.
Finley’s now is “a contemporary version of a New England seafood restaurant” that focuses on sustainable seafood, Meehan said.
His selections include Gulf red snapper with fried plantains, cara cara orange, and vanilla rum butter; North Atlantic fish and chips and fish tacos made with hake; crabcake sandwich on a pretzel bun; and local John Dory paired with Yellow Finn potatoes and edamame in tomato broth. Appetizers are $9 to $16; main courses, $19 to $28.
Finley’s Seafood, 43 Green St., Huntington, 631-351-3446.
Hooked, which takes over the South Etna Avenue address where Red Hook Lobster Pound specialized in lobster rolls, is owned by longtime local residents Brian and Gillian Mooney. His experience includes 24 years at Clam Bar on the Napeague stretch in Amagansett; hers, as a former owner of Herb’s Market in Montauk.
“We’re year-rounders and have had a huge amount of local support,” said Brian Mooney, who’s a member of the local fire department. Hooked is primarily a takeout spot, but there is some outdoor seating available. Prices range from $5 to $25.
His specialties range from lobster roll and fish taco to clams and oysters on the half-shell and a tuna poke atop soba noodles.
Hooked, 34 S. Etna Ave., Montauk, 631-668-2111, hookedmtk.com
Who actually catches the local catch? Newsday’s FeedMeTV digital video series traveled Long Island Sound to pull up porgy, sea bass and fluke, then followed the catch back to the Southold Fish Market before it was served at the Shelter Island restaurant 18 Bay.
SEE THE EPISODE:
Go to season 1 at newsday.com/feedmetv or find the series on AppleTV and Roku.