Longstanding, popular, pricey seafood restaurant, with a water view. ... More »
The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House opened in 1957, the year the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, "Around the World in 80 Days" received the Oscar for best picture, the Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles, and the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series.
Time has been much kinder to the Scheiner family's restaurant.
The current menu and one from the Roslyn establishment's first year greet you at the entrance. What's different, of course, is price. That $1.50 seafood cocktail's successor now goes for $30. But what's the same is even more to the point: Most dishes have stayed.
And that's the fundamental appeal of The Jolly Fisherman, which happily resists most trends and advises regulars when the soft-shell crabs and Nantucket bay scallops are in.
There have been some changes in the decor. The main dining room, foyer and hallway look brighter and sleeker, with more sea hues. But veterans who love the old style, vaguely reminiscent of departed summer retreats in the mountains or at the shore, will find it in the adjoining room and the bar.
Lobster Newburg still may be ordered, but it's no longer a menu fixture. Crisp shrimp dumplings with ginger dip are new but may be safely ignored. Skip the pan-seared Chilean sea bass in favor of sauteed Florida red snapper.
Basically, be a traditionalist. Nibble on the radishes, celery and carrots, on ice in the time-capsule relish tray. Reach for the muffins in the bread basket. Enjoy the dewy lobster, shrimp and crab cocktails. Add those Westminster Bakers Co. oyster crackers to the New England clam chowder, which is preferable to the lobster bisque.
Just avoid the singed-outside, pasty-within seafood crepe a la maison; the crabcakes less crabby than anyone waiting too long for a table; and the shrimp-scallop-mushroom-stuffed lobster, which covers a fine Homarus americanus with what comes across as cream-of-something soup.
Have your lobster steamed. Dover sole meunière also is very good, along with a special of broiled whole local flounder. In season, revel in the soft-shell crabs, either puffy and fried or sauteed meunière. Sweet fried Ipswich clams also are a treat, with lemon and tartar sauce on their own, or starring in the house's fried platter with shrimp and sea scallops.
The right side of the "&" is best represented by filet mignon. Or calf's liver with bacon and onions. Banana cream pie, chocolate cream pie, rice pudding and cheesecake are the fundamental finales.
You'll leave humming, maybe a tune from "West Side Story" or "The Music Man."