Summer scene: Mill Pond House in Centerport
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The serene water scene viewed from the patio of Mill Pond House has attracted diners for years. Although the restaurant's site is a year-round treat, it's never better than in the summer.
Mill Pond glistens and ripples on cue. The setting sun adds a glow pretty enough to make you check its time in advance, making a reservation for showtime.
Have a cocktail. Then refresh yourself a bit more with a baby arugula and watermelon salad, co-starring feta cheese and pickled red onion. Or try the opener of burrata cheese with prosciutto and arugula pesto. The kale and roasted cauliflower salad is boosted by pine nuts and raisins.
Skippables: heavyweight fried pork dumplings and the unwieldy, overorchestrated sushi rolls. If you want uncooked fish, consider the sashimi of tuna, yellowtail or salmon.
There are daily specials here. The crisp, fried jumbo soft-shell crabs are good, backed by avocado, tomato and scallions. The lemon-white wine sauce veers directly toward citrus. The dish would be better without it. Pan-seared fillet of striped bass delivers a light, straightforward taste of the season, accompanied by fresh tomato salsa, Israeli couscous, baby lima beans and black-eyed peas. Mill Pond House also sends out tender steaks, plus filet mignon "burnt ends," with caramelized onions, mushrooms and a lively barbecue sauce.
The banana cream tart, with a graham-cracker crust; and the creamy cheesecake du jour are apropos finales, brightening the meal as dusk arrives.