The Pine Island Grill in Bayville offers confirmation that sushi goes well with the sea and a sunset. Still, an evening there may have its unexpected twists.
As our party of four was being escorted to an outdoor table, a woman approached us. "I think you'll be happier on the deck upstairs," she said. "It's more casual, less expensive, and the view is amazing."
Assuming she worked for the restaurant, we followed her up the staircase, presumably, to our seats. Instead, we watched as she joined her husband at her own table.
A waitress took over. "Sit anywhere," she said.
It didn't matter which table we chose, since every one had a stunning view of the crescent-shaped beach below.
Soon, we were sipping sangria. "We have got to come here at least once a week," my friend said. I nodded, gazing at the bright ball of light reflected in the tranquil bay. Yet not everything was as perfect as that vista. Only one of the two maki rolls we ordered arrived. Our sweet but careless waiter apologized, returning half an hour later with the wrong replacement. It was another 15 minutes before the right roll finally showed up.
And then, there was the seafood salad, ordered from the Sunset Lounge menu; it was fishy and a bit mushy. "Do you want me to take it back?" the waiter asked. We did. Ultimately, we had to ask him to subtract the $16 from our bill.
Instead of the chicken panino we'd ordered, we got a dry chicken paillard. "I knew you said chicken and then something starting with the letter 'p'" the now distraught young man said. We told him to leave it; we were fine.
And we were, since the "spicy crunchy red dragon" roll (a California roll on the inside topped with spicy tuna and tempura flakes) was fresh and lively. When our "Green River" roll (eel, cucumber and avocado) finally arrived, it, too, was right. And if the pizzette was underdone, the burger overdone, the lobster roll dense - well, we were still at one of the most idyllic settings on Long Island.
Romantic, too. A talented jazz singer, Tierney Ryan, and pianist, Robert Lepley, held forth in the lounge on top of the stairs indoors, the music drifting out to the deck.
At the table behind us, a muscular guy with gray hair and a salon tan canoodled with a young and leggy redhead. The word "Rolex" was clearly mentioned.
The meal concluded with tart key lime pie and coffee.
As the sun sank level with the horizon, the water became saturated with pink. A few minutes later, the sun was gone, and the Sound turned a glassy green-blue.