Originally the lovechild of British Merchant Marine, Leonard Barnes, what was once a fish and chips joint has expanded to a spacious 180-seat restaurant that serves all forms of seafood, steak, sushi, a raw bar and a fully stocked bar. London Lennies has been feeding Rego Park since 1959 and looks to continue to bring in all hungry seafarers.
All aquatic invertebrates are purchased daily at the Fulton Fish Market at Hunt’s Point. It is still a family run restaurant, with Les Barnes at the helm. Chef Jeff Baruch keeps the kitchen on their toes with 31 years of experience, spent at The Four Seasons, Le Parker Meridien and Isabella’s to name a few.
I ordered some drinks to get our sea legs ready for the journey ahead. The sanguine Bloody Lennie, made with Vodka, Bloody Mary Mix and garnished with shrimp and a skewer of limes, hits you with horseradish and has a seafood twist with the shrimp infusing the drink. The blushing Pomegranate Martini was sweet and went down like a dream.
We sailed on to the appetizers. All meals are served with the house coleslaw, a throwback to the golden days of the restaurant. Immense New Zealand Green Mussels, made with a sauce of chorizo, leeks, plum tomatoes, garlic and white wine was sumptuous and great to dip our homemade bread in later. The Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Stack was a colorful and imposing tower of a dish, heaped with a layer of mangos atop shredded crabmeat, with avocado forming the base. Rays of chive oil and tomato sherry vinaigrette were like sunbeams, adding a bright garnish and additional layer of flavor to this textural treat.
Creamy and chock-full of clam and potato chunks, the bountiful New England clam chowder could be a meal on its own. Served in a bamboo steamer with two sauces, Steamed Crab and Shrimp Dumplings add a surprising Asian flair to the meal.
In response to the current economic situation, “Seafood on a Shoestring” is a special price-fixed menu that includes a starter, entrees and dessert for $25. I sampled the Authentic “Fish Fry,” boneless braised short ribs and tempura shrimp from this list.
Golden fried scrod, flounder and shrimp were served with homemade tartar sauce and brought you back to the humble origin of London Lennies. Slabs of beef short ribs, made with a vermillion port wine demi glace were placed on top of a hill of horseradish-mashed potatoes. The crisp shrimp tempura came with baby bok choy, sticky sushi rice and two dipping sauces, one a pungent Soy Sauce vinaigrette and the other a sweet orange chili sauce.
A special treat available only from October 15 through April 15, sauteed Nantucket Bay scallops were sugary sweet nuggets of a mollusk that melted in your mouth like a chocolate truffle. London Lennies prides themselves on seasonal fish so call ahead to see what is on the menu.
After a tempestuous but delicious voyage, dock your ship for dessert! With a ganache filling and raspberry coulis drizzled on the plate, Chocolate Mud Cake was made for sharing. Rich Pumpkin Flan is a unique spin on the classic Spanish dessert and something not to miss.
Weekends can be a crowded time with long waits, but now the wait has been cut to as short as 15 minutes if you make reservations online. Take a boat or car and plot a course to London Lennies!
63-88 Woodhaven Boulevard
Rego Park, NY
Hours: Monday through Friday from 11:45 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday: 4 to 11 p.m. and
Sunday: 2 to 9 p.m.