Excitement At The Sea Shanty
By Andrea & Sara/ email@example.com
The allure of the sea has long been the topic
of stories, poems, and fantasies—old and new—and
we, the Foodies in training, believe that we can now tell
you why. It has dawned on us that the water carries with it
an excitement that is unparalleled. It inspires the child,
the explorer, and the adventurer within us and one often feels
lucky to stumble upon a place that complements those powerful
qualities without eclipsing them.
In a place like Northport village there is
no shortage of sea-themed restaurants but in our quest to
discover eateries that hold more appeal than simply that of
a great menu we quickly learned that this is an area where
the bar is set high and the competition stiff.
Luckily we stumbled upon the Sea Shanty.
The Sea Shanty is modest in size and is located
across from the harbor on Woodbine Avenue just where it intersects
with Main Street. To the left of the entrance is a counter
area that leads to the bustling kitchen and perhaps it is
where orders were taken. We don’t know this for sure
and we didn’t ask because we were ushered into the charming
dining room where it seems that most people choose to enjoy
Its atmosphere has the distinct quality of
making patrons feel as though they are close to the action
without being at risk of being swept away by it. A handful
of tables are spread throughout a simple room. The seaside
theme is apparent. The specials board—a large chalkboard
with the specials written in decorative letters—is posted
despite that every server seemed to know by memory exactly
what was featured, the day’s freshest cuisine—often
alive—is periodically brought in by Long Island fisherman
fresh from the sea, and even the understated white and beige
uniforms represent an image of seaside dining.
Jen Levin, a college student from Northport
who has spent the past three summers serving shrimp, mussels,
and crabs to the hungry and more often than not, the sun burned,
took our order. Though we had some idea of what we wanted,
she happily took charge pointing out that despite the presence
of chili, chicken, and burgers on the menu, people came to
the Shanty for seafood and that is what we were going to get.
We were more than happy with her directive and were quickly
presented with a slew of tender mussels marinated in a white
sauce and mint leaves ($9.95), perfectly chilled crab meat
($12.95), and a crispy golden sautéed crabcake ($7.95).
While we savored our appetizers we became
aware that the dining room had begun to fill up. Like ourselves,
our neighbors were laughing and chatting energetically amongst
themselves but it also seemed like some of the conversations
jumped from the table of origin to another one. The Sea Shanty
is definitely the kind of place that has regulars and owner
Charles Marzocca stopped at each table to suggest dishes,
check to make sure that orders were filled to standard, and
as he did on this instance, to introduce the diners to those
who made sure that their meals were up to par.
On the evening that we were there, that meant
walking Graham, “the clam guy” through the dining
room and even bringing a live crab out to a guest for inspection.
Even though we were stuffed from all of our seafood appetizers—most
of which came from Long Island—we were eager to move
to the entrees. Just as we were finishing the final mussel
and dipping the last lump of the crab meat into its dipping
sauce, Jen brought out a place of steaming hot grouper francaise
perched on a tangle of buttery linguine ($18.95) and a generous
piece of seared tuna topped off by brilliantly colored bruschetta
($17.95). Marzocca explained that Chef Jose Reyes (a Yankee
fan) cooks each meal with loving discretion. One of the many
perks the restaurant features is that Reyes will cook up any
of the choices to be delivered dockside.
We thoroughly enjoyed the tender grouper
and the refreshing tuna but we couldn’t stop ourselves
from eyeing some of the other items on the menu. I decided
that next time I came to the Shanty, I was going to get The
Mariner ($17.95)—spread of broiled flounder, shrimp,
scallops, and steamed clams—and Sara decided that she
was going to bring some friends along on a Monday night next
time and take a shot at the all-you-can-eat Maryland Blue
Claw Crabs ($35.95).
Even though we felt ready to burst, we could
not turn down the fragrant desserts placed in front of us.
The apple crisp ($4.75) and chocolate cake ($4.75) were both
homemade to perfection. We first dove into the apple crisp,
which was served in a ramekin and was overflowing with fresh
apples and a golden topping. The chocolate cake did not linger;
we both commented that we were impressed by the unusually
fluffy texture for a cake that was so rich. In both cases,
the crowning jewel was a generous dollop of homemade whipped
While we ate our deserts and chatted with
Marzocca, a pair of women from a table across the room stopped
by as they left. Though we didn’t immediately know it,
the woman joking with Marzocca happened to be Billy Joel’s
mother, Rosalind Joel. “I’m coming here for 50
years. I brought Billy here in my arms.”
Marzocca was unflustered. “That’s
the Shanty. Anything can happen here.”
The Sea Shanty
16 Woodbine Avenue,
Atmosphere: Casual with flip-flops and bathing suits
Price Range: Inexpensive to Moderate
Monday to Thursday
11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday to Sunday
11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.