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Port: Appropriately, Port has dueling water views

So not to conflict with the view, inside the ambiance is understated and rather mild. A curving stairway leads upstairs to a private room for 60. (For a grander party, the first floor takes 150 and every table seems to have the two-faced pond/bay water view.

We were enthusiastically into our appetizers of baked clams à la Port (cheese crusted, stuffed with bacon and herbs) and calamari beautifully presented in a folded, white linen napkin on a triangular plate (also white) with two sauces - a sweet sour eggplant and peppy tomato.

A Caesar salad became a "gotta have" for sharing with a crisp Parmesan topper. The salad was well prepared but it was the thin, crunchy Parmesan wafer that made it.

As we nibbled, a waiter at a nearby table informed us that Luis Branez, Port's French executive chef, was sous chef at Oceana and Tavern on the Green and executive chef of Restaurant Associates. That was salivating info. Manhattan's Oceana has a star-filled reputation for superb seafood. Thank heavens,

We'd been seduced by the specials: My dining companion chose roasted monk fish on lobster with herb butter fondue. And I opted for mustard-crusted dry sea scallop with a white bean ragout. Sublime! Would that I had experienced the pairing of fish (and roasted monk at that) with lobster risotto before. And what about beans, scallops, mustard crumbs and white bean ragout? Simple, yet complex.

With a chef like Luis, I'd stay with specials. Two others had potential for exqusite pleasure on the pallet: Miso-marinated Chilean sea bass with kim chi and soy butter, and also the grilled mahi mahi with fennel orange salad and sweet pepper sauce.

Now that doesn't mean that Port's regular seafood (fresh from Fulton fish market) with a selection of sauces - mustard, barbeque, red wine and lemon beurre - isn't special, too. And then there's Port's raw bar with oysters, clams and lobster and lump crabmeat cocktail. And for a bit of fried seafood, try the English fish and chips with malt vinegar or lump crab cakes.

There's a $14.95 early bird special. Lunch is a scaled down dinner menu, plus a business lunch and light fare with even a fresh salmon burger. (Got to try that!) And it's drop in anytime, non stop dining.

Desserts are as luscious as the specials! My frozen mango parfait was a disc set on the oversized triangular plate used for appetizers and desserts plus slivers of fresh mango, fanned out. Lovely. My companion's almond and chocolate wafered pinwheel with vanilla gelato was so ethereal. Next time I'll try the almond cake heaped with raspberries with vanilla ice cream (and whipped cream) or the pineapple wonton with ginger butterscotch sauce.

You may go for the room with a view. I'll go for specials and dessert or maybe that Sunday brunch where seafood is featured along with breakfast and lunch buffet fare for $19.95.

The Bottom Line

New, spacious, waterfront seafood grill. Mill Pond and Manhasset Bay view. Understated ambiance. Accomplished seafood chef. Superior desserts and special coffees. Friendly/knowledgeable service.

Port

37 Shore Road

Port Washington

516-767-7878

fax 516-944-9705

Chef's Choice

Jumbo Crab Cake (remoulade sauce)...$9.50

Prince Edward Island mussels (Maderia sauce/garlic butter)...$6

Broiled Atlantic salmon (w/ vegetable of the day, choice of potato, rice or Port slaw)...$17

Broiled seafood platter (sole, shrimp, crab cake and scallops. Vegetable of the day, choice of potato, rice or Port slaw))...$20

Stuffed shrimp with crabmeat (sweet melon relish)...$20

Raspberry Financiere (almond cake topped with raspberries & whipped cream)...$6

Pineapple wonton (with ginger butterscotch sauce)...$6

Cuisine: Seafood grill & raw bar

Setting: Waterfront at Mill Pond & Manhasset Bay

Service: Friendly/knowledgeable

Hours: Nonstop dining (L & D) 7 days. Early bird M to Thurs. Brunch Sun

Reservations: Weekends

Parking: Large lot. Side street exit

Location: Corner Shore Road & Mill Pond

Dress: Neat casual

Children: Accomodate

Takeout: Yes

Off-premise catering: Yes

Private room: From 60 to 150

Noise level: Fri & Sat moderate

Handicap access: Two steps

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