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Schafer's in Port Jefferson: First bites

A clambake is among the main courses at

A clambake is among the main courses at Schafer's in Port Jefferson in May 2014. Credit: Newsday / Peter M. Gianotti

Heather West was the winner in season two of "Hell's Kitchen," Gordon Ramsay's abusefest. She also is one of Newsday's 2014 all-star chefs, profiled for her perspective and local contributions. West has cooked at Ciao Baby in Commack and Massapequa Park as well as Jellyfish in Centerport.

But Schafer's must be her biggest challenge.

Early in West's tenure, the sprawling, two-level restaurant facing the harbor is almost defined by erratic, frequently clueless service plus poor timing. West's cuisine often is victimized.

Better choices early on include the crabcake with roasted corn salsa and the crisp fish tacos made with cod. The pan-seared filet mignon also is fine. But the house's clam bake is mostly overcooked, with sliced chorizo sausage the best part. The "twisted shrimp cocktail," submerged in a Bloody Mary sauce, borders on parody.

On a warm, spring night, the view and a couple of drinks could make you forget some of the shortcomings. Gordon, however, might explode.

Schafer's, 111 W. Broadway, Port Jefferson; 631-473-8300.

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