2010-02-17 / Restaurant of the Week

London Lennie's Celebrates 50 Years

t he Barnes Family of London Lennie’s is proud to celebrate 50 years in Queens, serving the very best seafood and fish in New York City. Since Lennie moved his London fish ‘n chips shop to Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park fifty years ago, the restaurant has become the premier place for superior seafood,

wines and exemplary service. The Barnes Family,

led by Joan and son Les, are very actively involved in the Queens community they call home. Joan is a lover of the arts and supports Flushing Town Hall and the Queens Museum of Art, among other worthwhile organizations. Son Les, often provides food for charity events such as the Queens Center for Progress, Doctors Without Borders and sits on the Board of Visions, an organization to help the blind.

This kind of commitment to community and its people is clearly evident in the way each and every customer is so warmly greeted. Indeed this is a tightly run ship, led by staff who are knowledgeable about the menu items and make you feel very relaxed and welcome. Kudos to veteran server Santiago, who has worked here for 20 years and can practically read your mind when it comes to service. Guests are made to feel like royalty in the comfortable dining room that resembles the interior of a ship with warm, polished wood, brass accents, regal carpeting and frosted glass light fixtures that emit a soft glow. Start with one of their specialty cocktails, such as the pomegranate martini, watermelon mojito or tropical Bahama mama. A pint of imported beer goes well with the fabulous oysters and clams served at the raw bar. I tried a sampling of 4 types of oysters, each redolent with the fresh, briny flavor of the ocean. London Lennie’s is proud to have been awarded the prestigious “Wine Spectator” medal for 2008 and 2009 for its impressive collection of wines, many under $30 per bottle. The wine cellar is so well-maintained that wine lists are reprinted daily to reflect the best vintages available.

Just last Monday, London Lennie’s “Lobster Lunacy” began and will continue until March 7th, since this period of the winter is the optimum time to harvest fresh lobsters at their sweetest. This is one party that you shouldn’t miss. I had, without question, the best lobster roll of my life, evoking memories of Cape Cod and the Hamptons. Spicy lobster Futo Maki is but one example of the artfully prepared sushi rolls made here under the direction of Chef Jeffrey Baruch. The lobster in this beautiful roll was tender and sweet, a perfect complement to the spicy sauces and wasabi that were arranged on the platter. Once you’ve had their lobster potpie, full of succulent lobster meat, garden vegetables and a flaky crust, you may never eat a frozen chicken potpie again! Just for fun, I had to have a lobster empañada. This half moon-shaped delicate pastry was filled with lobster meat and seasonings, nestled on two puddles of mango sauce and salsa verde. Other entrées include risotto with lobster, roasted yellow peppers and tomato and classic surf and turf with a lobster tail and 8-ounce filet mignon that cuts like butter.

If you think you can’t afford such luxury, think again. London Lennie’s continues to offer a special “Seafood on a Shoestring” menu for just $25, available Monday through Thursday from 4pm to 10pm, and on Fridays from 4pm to 5:30pm. The 3-course meal starts with a choice of appetizers, including a cup of Manhattan or New England clam chowder, or steamed dumplings filled with crab and shrimp, or crispy fried calamari or salad. Next, the entrées include their famous “Down East Shore Dinner”, where a 1-pound lobster, mussels, steamers, corn on the cob and potatoes are placed in a net bag and steamed together, just like on the shore. An authentic fish fry is also available, made with flaky scrod, flounder and shrimp in Lennie’s famous beer batter. There are also meat entrées, including grilled skirt steak and sautéed breast of chicken. The prix fixe menu concludes with a choice of dessert such as cheesecake, house made banana cream pie or rice pudding laced with rum-soaked raisins. The incredible “Shoestring” menu is also available at lunchtime for just $18, served from 11:45am to 4:00pm.

London Lennie’s is an ideal venue for family or business gatherings with plenty of roomy seating. If you prefer meat entrées, landlubbers can enjoy a juicy 18-ounce grilled ribeye steak, perfectly grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce or grilled filet mignon. Their famous cole slaw and warm loaves of bread brought to each table, are just some of the extra touches that make a meal here so special.

For the very best in fish, seafood and raw bar, a trip to London Lennie’s is a must. In addition, the superior service, impressive wine and cocktail list, and stately, elegant interior make London Lennie’s one-of-a-kind. Celebrate 50 years of London Lennie’s with your family and friends where the Lobster Party is at full speed until March 7th. Congratulations and thank you to the Barnes Family for your commitment to the Queens community. All aboard!
63-88 Woodhaven Blvd.
Rego Park, NY • 718-894-8084

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