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Port Washington now has its own steakhouse, but with a difference. Although Louis & Marxx, which opened in January at 37 Shore Road (Diwan and then Tease in previous incarnations), bills itself as a steakhouse, the menu has a wide variety of other offerings. Tim Sweeney, the restaurant's manager, said, "We want to appeal to everyone. We are the kind of place where dad can have a steak; mom can have chicken salad; their son can have a hamburger and everyone goes home happy."

Steak is the main event, of course, and Louis & Marxx provides the diner with many choices, including Black Angus sirloin, Black Angus filet mignon, Flatiron steak, skirt steak, T-bone, porterhouse, Chateau Briand and others. We tried Louis & Marxx's version of surf and turf, which they labeled "steak that swims." The dish includes a Flatiron steak and grilled jumbo shrimp. The steak was cooked perfectly, and the shrimp were fresh. The diner who prefers something else can choose from a number of chicken, veal, pork, fish and seafood dishes. We sampled the double-cut pork chop served in red wine jus with a delicious gala apple-onion confit. This dish was spectacular - the pork chop, which chef Mark (formerly of the Oyster Bar and Firebird Restaurant in the City) told us had been marinated in his "secret marinade," was succulent and juicy. "Out of this world," said our dinner companion. An interesting special the night we visited was a potato-wrapped swordfish with Barolo demi-glace served with baby carrots and patti-pan squash. The fish was fresh and the vegetables tender.

Good as the entrées are, Louis and Marxx's appetizers are exceptional. The fried oysters are spectacular. They are marinated in buttermilk and breaded in corn flour and a mixture of other flour. They are light and crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside - they literally melt in one's mouth. The tuna tartare, made with sushi-grade tuna mixed with chopped veggies, parsley and spices, was one of the best we have had. Also good were the Oysters Rockefeller, made with large Blue Point oysters and generously filled with spinach. The small baked clams, filled with potato, red and green pepper, and green onion are also tasty, as was the sesame-seared tuna with citrus miso.

The salads are freshly made, and any salad can be ordered topped with shrimp, chicken or turkey. Our favorites were the country salad with fresh greens, walnut-crusted chevre with raspberry vinaigrette and the roasted beet salad, an interesting combination of red and yellow beets with warm goat cheese.

The desserts are fabulous. The butterscotch banana cream pie is just like mother made, only better. The crème brulee was perfectly crusted and came accompanied by macerated berries and fresh cream. Also delicious was the key lime pie in a shortbread cookie crust.

The décor is attractive and warm. With highly polished laminated wooden tops in lieu of tablecloths, we would classify the restaurant as "elegantly casual." The building overlooks Manhasset Bay with good views of the spectacular sunsets we enjoy on our waterfront. Host Tim Sweeney welcomes each patron and endeavors to assure that they have a good experience. He said, "I always go up to the families and ask if it was up to expectations." He added, "It is great to see families in here. I am a family man myself. I want this to be a place where they can just have dinner out." Sweeney oversees and trains the wait staff to ensure that the service is gracious and efficient.

The diner is served a basket of fresh-baked garlic twists, whole-grain rolls and flatbread. There is a very extensive list of good-quality wines ranging from the modest to the pricey. There were nine reds and nine whites available by the glass.

Entrée prices range from about $17 to just under $30. The "Sunset Special" available Monday through Thursday from 4 to 6:30 p.m., Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. includes a starter, entrée and dessert for $24. "Two-fisted" sandwiches are $11 and $12 and include fries. During "happy hour" Monday through Friday 4 to 7 bar drinks, sandwiches, appetizers and salads are discounted by 25%.

Louis and Marxx is located at 37 Shore Road; the telephone is 767-7878. They are open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m to 4 p.m. and for dinner from 4 to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. on Friday). Saturday they are open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.


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