The veritable crab-a-palooza, which features over 20 crab specialties from six different regions, was conceived by executive chef Jeff Baruch of Rainbow Room fame and runs from October 15 through November 9 and is worth getting your claws into stat.
Originally birthed as a fish-and-chips stand in 1959 by the late Lennie Barnes, the current incarnation of London Lennie's, which is run by Lennie’s son Les Barnes, is ever-evolving, accessible fusion and standard fare that shamelessly outdoes the hackneyed competition.
London Lennie's starters are exemplary in this way. The Asian-inspired crab dumplings are flag-bearers for flavor. The crabmeat empanadas and Jonah crab quesadillas toss the tired and tried to the wayside. And the Chesapeake crab and corn chowder featuring fresh Long Island produce is an express train to Tastyville.
Truly these apps are beyond reproach.
Overall, the selection is a veritable Ellis Island of crab specimens boasting samplings from Canada, Maryland, Oregon, Alaska and Florida. For those who have a whale of a time making a decision, a steamed mix bag entree is available.
Several labor-saving, crackless options are also available that won't leave neatnicks crabby: the jumbo lump crabmeat ravioli in a gentle sherry sauce is extreme cream and sexy perfection.
The dessert menu is mostly familiar waters, with a noteworthy exception: the pumpkin flan will leave you smiling wider than a jack-o-lantern. And the Hauner Malvasia delle Lipari Passito 2005 (Aeolian Islands, Italy) it pairs with is silky marmalade heaven, both a conversation piece and a gem.
The rest of the wine pairing is as thoughtfully conceived as the menu. The off-dry palate is rewarded here: The Domaine Ostertag Riesling 2005 (Alsace, France) exemplifies orchard flavors and has a floral presence unmatched by even the most extravagant celebrity wedding and, in particular, should not be missed.
There are also a number of terrific seasonal beers available including Blue Point Brewery Octoberfest and Blue Point Toasted Lager.
The dining room is spacious with a classy mahogany décor and n’ary a plastic net in sight. While refreshingly knowledgeable, the servers are true to the Barnes family philosophy of warm, personable service.
Lennie’s is an apt pick for a birthday, anniversary or any special occasion for sure, but an unabashed must during Crab Fest.
The prices are fair for the selection. Entrees run between $24 and $34. Proper attire is required and all credit cards are accepted.
London Lennie’s is located at 63-88 Woodhaven Boulevard in Rego Park. For more information or reservations, call (718) 894-8084.