Although the streets have been buzzing for over a year now, we finally uncloaked the much coveted dining experience at Perla last weekend. While an initial google search might lead to the fashionable lingerie company La Perla, the food at Perla is far more seductive, arousing us with every bite, [...]
Oysters and the Ten Commandments of a Raw Bar…London Lennie’sApril 25th, 2013 | thehalfshell | 0 Comments
“Who’s your daddy?” is definitely a question we never thought we’d hear in reference to our dear oyster. After all, given their hermaphroditic nature, it wouldn’t be one very easy to answer. In this case, the question is the sixth of the Ten Commandments of a Raw Bar. A law of the waters created by London Lennie’s in Rego Park, New York. A restaurant on the other side of the midtown tunnel, and just a few minutes drive to miles and miles of shellfish flavor.
Fifty four years ago, a husband and wife had to make a decision. While the wife wanted a house, the husband suggested that they invest their savings in a business. For if they bought a house, they might never buy a business, but if they bought a business, then perhaps one day it would buy them a house. And so London Lennie’s opened their doors to the public, and more than a half century later it is a flourishing family establishment filled with familiar faces and the most freshest seafood. If there is anyone that wears their passion for oysters on their shucking glove, its Les Barnes, the direct descendant of a great idea.
Just like an oyster, no two slurping experiences are ever exactly the same. And just like a great oyster, some leave a lingering taste and a beautiful memory. We will never forget that palatable adventure of our first Royal Miyagi, the perfection of an Alaskan Saloon Lagoon, or the welcoming metallic rust of that rare Belon. Although a few weeks have passed, the taste of our London Lennie’s dinner experience continues to linger. We hope, and we know, that it will never go away.
On the particular sunday that we stopped by, not only did we have the pleasure to slurp at the hands of Les himself, but we had the chance to sit down and really get into the passion behind what makes this restaurant so special. Les Barnes knows his oysters and fish. By his side was his mother, the wife that wanted the house, but could not be any happier with her second home. After trying out their oysters and a few dishes on the menu, it was clear why the restaurant was a room full of beaming faces. The food is really really good! And the oysters….perfection!
Adhering to the second commandment, the raw bar menu changes daily offering at least eight varieties of oysters each day. A constant rotation based on what is the freshest available. Covering the third and fourth commandments, our two dozen beauties were served on a bed of ice and accompanied by some lemon, cocktail sauce, horseradish and an in-house mignonette. Always preferring them in their birthday suits with just a hint of acid, we squirted some lemon and went to town. A perfect shuck across the board, each oyster was a true reflection of its kind. Commandment number five covered!-wetter is not always better. These oysters were clearly stored the right way, keeping their identity in tact. Although Les does most of his bed hopping (commandment number seven) on the East Coast, we did not mind. We even fell in love with the Narragansetts form RI. Plump, meaty and with a sweet finish, they were our favorite. With most oysters under $3 each, we didn’t look for the pearl (commandment number nine) and just kept on slurping.
Following our raw bar experience, it was time to move on to some cooked stuff. As it turned out, we happened to be there during their annual Crawfish Festival. An entire portion of the menu dedicated to those sweet mudbugs, as they are called in Louisiana. Just a few months prior, Les himself flew down south to get some recipe inspirations, and the outcome was finger licking good! The Louisiana Style Cajun Crawfish boil was a mesh bag full of fun. The marriage of flavors from the cajun spices, crawfish, corn and andouille sausage produced a dish to be savored. The Shrimp Jambalaya was hearty but light. And from the regular menu, we went for the fan favorites, Crab Stuffed Shrimp and Grilled Oysters. A foodie’s amusement park, our palates were on a constant adrenaline high.
Although London Lennie’s serves crawfish, Les never crawfishes on freshness. If its not straight from the sea, its not going straight on any of those tables. While we will certainly miss the tastes of New Orleans next time we stop by, this place keeps things exciting with a array of specialties. We definitely plan to be front and center for their Crab Festival come October. From what we hear, they get live king crab, and those crawlers are surely not to be missed.
63-88 Woodhaven Blvd Flushing, NY 11374