Crab Shanty

That old saying that City Island is like a New England fishing village within Gotham's borders would ring true only if Walt Disney had been among the Puritan settlers. But halfway down the island The Original Crab Shanty is reasonably reminiscent of a genuine crab shack (albeit with a plethora of blinding neon inside and out). The sensibly sized, cedar-shingled space, with its handful of cozy booths with sea-themed stained-glass partitions, closely packed tables with patio chairs, and collages of customer photos, has a homey feel. The dishes—there is a seemingly endless fried, broiled, baked, and boiled selection—are prefaced with crusty, whole-clove garlic bread, and satisfying in a conventional way, though the gratis clam chowder starters (both New England and Manhattan varieties) taste like they came out of a can. The fried entrees aren't greasy, and the freshness of the ingredients—the oysters in particular—make up for their being consistently over-battered. Crab dishes are a coin-toss: The firm, meaty blue crab cakes are worth lingering over, but the baked, shredded, virtually flavorless Dungeness stuffed into a shell could have diners fleeing to the West Coast for the real thing. — Mark Holcomb

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