The search for splashy seafood restaurants on Long Island can be as challenging as navigating Cape Horn. You must make it beyond the fearsomely fried and the brutally broiled, the slightly frosty and the overly aromatic. Sushi becomes a siren. But keep looking. Here are three nominees for catch of the day.
H2O in Smithtown attracts you with the raw and the cooked. There are commendable sushi rolls in advance of a lobster cocktail, lobster sliders, New England-style clam chowder with applewood-smoked bacon, "everything" crusted tuna and lobsters either steamed, stuffed or "millennium," with some spice and lemon-basil confit.
The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House is a traditionalist's choice. The restaurant has been full of fins and claws since 1957. Try the bluepoints, littlenecks and cherrystones; shellfish cocktails; jumbo Maine lobsters; Dover sole meunière; and extra-thick swordfish steaks.
The Plaza Cafe is among the reasons to visit the East End year-round. This sunny, outstanding seafood restaurant stars with dishes such as the grilled swordfish "chop," shepherd's pie with lobster, sauteed local striped bass, layered tuna and crab tian, and monkfish stuffed with lobster.