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Weekend picks: Eat like the dickens in PJ

Diners feast on Italian specialties at Ruvo in

Diners feast on Italian specialties at Ruvo in Port Jefferson. (January 23, 2010) Credit: Kirsten Luce

The 14th annual Charles Dickens Festival is under way in Port Jefferson this weekend. Great expectations, indeed.

Expect arts and crafts, colorful costumes, a trolley, a Victorian Christmas tree, more. And in a downtown that's increasingly a destination for dining out, there will be plenty of food. Here are three fine establishments for satisfying fare.

Ruvo specializes in country-style Italian cooking. It's the eastern offspring of the Greenlawn restaurant. The homey, full-flavored selections include roasted butternut squash-and-apple soup; ricotta gnocchi Bolognese; cavatelli with meatballs and "Sunday sauce"; chicken scarpariello with sausage; the molasses-brined double-cut pork chop; and grilled swordfish with caponata, cauliflower puree and leeks.

Ruvo, 105 Wynn Lane, Port Jefferson; 631-476-3800, ruvorestaurant.com $$-$$$

The Fifth Season is a handsome New American eatery, balancing the contemporary and the traditional. The notable selections include sweet potato bisque with cinnamon crème fraîche; roasted beet salad with apple, walnuts and fennel; green-curry chicken spring rolls; cavatelli with braised lamb and bacon-braised Brussels sprouts; the Kobe-style hamburger; and mole-braised Painted Hills short ribs.

The Fifth Season, 34 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson; 631-477-8500, thefifth-season .com $$-$$$

Wave Seafood Kitchen remakes the restaurant at Danfords Hotel & Marina, turning it into a new landmark, the best ever at this address. The New American cuisine includes winners such as butternut-squash risotto with dried cherries, pine nuts and mascarpone cheese; pappardelle with leek cream, sun-dried tomatoes and sausage; applewood-bacon wrapped meat loaf; lobster potpie; braised beef short rib; poached lobster; and whole black bass with mustard vinaigrette.

Wave Seafood Kitchen, 25 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson; 631-928-5200, ext. 170. $$-$$$$ -- PETER M. GIANOTTI

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