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RESTAURANT REVIEW QUINCY STREET : A Beach Break : A harborside location, comfortable bar and tasty pasta make up for a disappointing barbecue.

February 21, 1991|DAVID GOLDMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

There are several things I like about Quincy Street. One is its location, out in Oxnard's Silverstrand Beach, next door to Channel Islands Harbor. Filled with frame houses, it reminds me of dozens of funky beach towns of the '40s and '50s. The restaurants here cater mostly to a local crowd; in this case, there's the obligatory liquor-grocery next door, and across the street is an obviously popular taco stand.

I also like the fact that Quincy Street has a full bar. It's the sort of bar where, on the first night that Israel is getting hit with SCUD missiles, and with the giant TV screen tuned to the war, the talk is mostly about whether the Raiders are going to beat the Bills on Sunday.

Another thing I like here is the pasta--most of the time. Although I would not go back for lasagna al forno, which has too much salt, too much cheese, and not enough of the eggplant and meat sauce, I loved the Penne Etrusca . The dish has tomatoes, hot peppers, cream and cheese, along with large hunks of fresh mushrooms and olives that have been sauteed in Marsala. It's a dish with character and, like everything served at Quincy Street, it comes in a really substantial quantity.

Another pasta I'd go back for is the manicotti. The pasta crepe, which is stuffed with four cheeses that have been heavily seasoned, has a fine firm, chewy texture.

And I'd definitely recommend, either as an appetizer or a side dish, a unique concoction that Quincy Street calls "The" onion brick. It is, literally, a brick of French-fried onions, melted together with seasonings, crusts and oils. Picking it apart can be a worthy way to spend an evening--and just a quarter order is plenty for two people.

What I don't much like about Quincy Street is the barbecue. And this is strange--because that's what I went there for in the first place.

I'd read a Reader's Poll in a local newspaper that rated the barbecue very highly. I'm still trying to figure out why. The baby back ribs range from tough to just all right, and the chicken is consistently dry and a little tough. And the sauce, which is sweet and not too hot, isn't good enough to overcome the shortcomings of the meat. I actually liked some of the side dishes, such as the coleslaw, more than I liked the meat.

I'd go back to Quincy Street. I'd enjoy the bar, the pastas and the onion brick. Then I'd skip right on to dessert--probably the rich, heavy Black Forest Cheesecake, or the sweet, gooey, caramel chocolate cake. Afterward, I'd probably go back to the bar--and bone up on sports.

* WHERE AND WHEN

Quincy Street Ltd., 2405 Roosevelt Blvd., Oxnard, 984-6262. Open Tuesday-Thursday 5-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5-11 p.m., Sunday 5-9 p.m. Major credit cards accepted, reservations accepted. Full bar. Dinner for two, food only, $20-$40.

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