286 Main St, Port Washington
Scene: Dramatic, upscale, white everything
This American seafood grille is Ayhan Hassan’s upgrade of the long-standing Ayhan’s Fish-Kebab on Main Street in Port Washington. Visually, the new upscale eatery is a delight.
But its food and service have changed. I’d give them what the late Damon Runyon called a “medium hello.”
A soaring ceiling, long drop curtains, exposed brick walls, backlit fish sculptures, chandeliers, a skylight, candles, white table cloths and a bright white reception area are eye-catching features in this spacious 1890 bank building.
We ordered starters and were at first rewarded with a crisp ahi tuna flatbread loaded with a mélange of cucumber slices, edamame, pickled ginger, hummus and avocado ($12). Unfortunately, the same could not be said for other apps. Though the daily soup, a New England chowder, was dense with ingredients ($8), it was timidly seasoned and lacked flavor. The Manhattan seafood chowder ($8) delivered more seasoning but still needed a hefty dose of salt. Tightly packed jumbo crab cakes ($16) were predictable, duplicating those commonly found elsewhere.
Chef John Brill, who previously served at Jack Halyards in Oyster Bay and Blue Lagoon in West Babylon, has a deft touch with some Cajun dishes. This is most evident in his robust rendition of penne jambalaya, a full-flavored, generous jumble of sausage, smoked chicken, shrimp, tomatoes, scallions and Cajun style tomato cream sauce ($26). Bayou swordfish also tilted toward New Orleans with crawfish and andouille sausage, but was diminished by its dusty dry, dirty rice ($30).
Someone must have neglected to give the linguine with white clam sauce ($24) its due because it was bland beyond words. The rare-cooked sesame crusted yellow fin tuna, served with some tasty Wasabi mashed potatoes ($28), fell into the “OK” category, along with a number of the dishes here.
And the service…our pleasant, but inexperienced waitress didn’t know who ordered the dishes she was delivering, gave soup spoons to the two people who hadn’t ordered soup and missed on serving us wine (four requests) although we told her we would order a bottle after we decided what we would eat.