Sesame-seared tuna on mashed potatoes is served at The Oar...

Sesame-seared tuna on mashed potatoes is served at The Oar in Patchogue. Credit: Daniel Brennan

The Oar dips into seafood and steaks. But what really moves it forward is the marina location. It's a good place for a water view and the simplest preparations of summery fare.

Oars do decorate the kitschy place. They're dangling from the ceiling and attached to the walls. Many are personalized. The main dining room has an especially impressive set overhead that could be used on your compact Viking ship or the vessel you've chosen as a "Moby Dick" re-enactor.

Paddle oars also festoon the popular bar, which leads to several outdoor tables that look onto the boats. On a sunny afternoon, you'll covet those seats.

And you'll enjoy the shrimp cocktail, a dish that suits The Oar inside or out. The "colossal" version contains 15 of them and is fine for a group. Or just enjoy your own serving. Oysters and clams on the half-shell are worth sampling, too.

But the oysters Rockefeller are overdone in every way, including the mantle of Swiss cheese. Lobster wontons also are limp, requiring more than a hoisin dipping sauce. You're better off sharing the group-friendly, crab-and-spinach dip, flanked by salsa and tortilla chips; or the meaty shrimp-and-scallop cake, finished with salsa verde and guacamole.

The lobster quesadilla, however, downplays the shellfish. You'll have to search diligently through the guacamole and sour cream. Coconut shrimp are sweet in the extreme, accompanied by a bite-free "orange horseradish marmalade" made more for an English muffin.

Things improve with a modest opener of grilled octopus set on grits, accented with tomato sauce and olives. Salads also are respectable starters, especially the grilled beet production with goat cheese, roasted pistachios and dried cranberries; and the iceberg wedge with blue cheese dressing and bacon bits.

Seaside, the crisp, beer-battered fish-and-chips, made with cod, is a top choice. Pan-roasted swordfish arrives moist and tasty, but moored on a pasty basil-and-langostino risotto. Bland, pan-roasted Chilean sea bass isn't rescued by wasabi mashed potatoes, Thai basil oil and Asian slaw. Sesame-seared tuna, rosy and appetizing, benefits from its cucumber-wasabi salsa.

The smoke signals you'll see regularly here come from the 36-ounce "sizzling porterhouse," a standard steak with special effects for $70. But it is more tender than the Gorgonzola-crusted flat iron steak, which you'll have to gnaw. The roasted, French-cut chicken breast, seasoned with lemon, garlic and herbs, is juicy and recommended.

You may conclude with a satisfactory apple crisp, bananas Foster, lemon-cream cake.

Or keep rowing.

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