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Port Royal Grill

Port Royal in Islip is a pirate-themed pub

Port Royal in Islip is a pirate-themed pub famous for its wings, here. (May 8, 2010) Photo Credit: Photo by Emily Anne Epstein

Get ye a parrot and a puffy shirt, for there be no shortage of shtick at the pirate-themed Port Royal Grille in Islip. In fact, the tavern's "Davy Jones Locker Challenge" (can you eat enough seafood to sink a ship?) was taken by Adam Richman, host of Travel Channel's "Man v. Food." The episode should air this summer.

Beyond gimmickry, though, the culinary lure of Port Royal Grill is mainly this: mac 'n' cheese. A whole international mac 'n' cheese menu.

 

YO-HO-HO

It's bliss in a bowl; one day, I'm immersed in the "smoky bbq" mac 'n' cheese, al dente cavatappi swirled with pulled pork and topped with melted Cheddar. Another time, it's Tex-Mex mac, with pepper Jack, chipotle Cheddar, smoked chorizo, tomatoes and scallions.

Wings (both bone-in and boneless) are another forte, offered with a multitude of sauce choices. "World's end" sauce, made with nuclear "ghost" peppers, is dangerous stuff. A saner choice would be the spicy Thai peanut glaze. You also can get boneless Buffalo chicken in a wrap, a harmonious meld of crunch and piquancy.

Juicy, drippy mini-cheeseburger and smoky pulled pork sliders are the best of a quartet.

As an entree, a friend's mango-coconut tilapia tastes lots better than it looks.

While desserts aren't house-made, in a pinch, the Kentucky bourbon pecan pie and Key lime pie can satisfy a sweet tooth.

 

WALK THE PLANK

A crab cake sandwich is bready and boring, a Jamaican jerk chicken sandwich (spiced grilled chicken with melted pepper Jack and honey glaze) is cloyingly sweet, relatively bland.

I have high hopes for a barbecue combo platter, but the brisket is tough, the ribs and chicken are over-sauced and nearly devoid of smokiness. Watery baked beans are another letdown. I'm skeptical of the honey-citrus pepper-glazed salmon - indeed, it tastes mainly of overcooked fish.

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