We’re in June and Long Island is ready for another one of its famous summers. For many, it’s beach season, but for foodies like us, it’s not just time for sun and sand. It’s time to brunch.
Joining the ranks this year is Honu Kitchen & Cocktails, a sumptuous, sleek and urban New American favorite in Huntington Village known for its consistently delicious dinners and handcrafted cocktails. For the first time ever, this outstanding restaurant has ambitiously introduced brunch in its cavernous space, and my best advice is to get in before word gets out and the seats fill up. After talking to owner Mark Zecher about the menu, I believe reservations will quickly go from “recommended” to “required.”
Chef Robert Flaherty, who has anchored the restaurant since before Zecher took the helm five years ago, spins classic dishes to Honu’s exacting standards. For instance, the omelet technique was refined until each came out a bright yellow with no trace of browning. Another rule: the eggs must be perfectly poached, the yolks beautifully viscous after your fork breaks through the immaculately set virgin whites; the inexplicable satisfaction they offer exceeds a present of an entire sheet of bubble wrap.
Small details make creative offerings much more exceptional. With three orders of eggs Benedict on the table, the six flawlessly executed eggs were impressive and only the start of what were two truly outstanding entrees.
The Maine Lobster Benedict is a luxurious choice, a whole and generous lobster tail cunningly split between two oversized English muffins, each on a hefty bed of wilted baby spinach. Hollandaise that would please Julia Child herself tops it all, and flavorful home fries with plenty of peppers ground the dish. At $18, this full plate is a bargain, well accented by the $5 house mimosa or Bellini. An upgrade to the Bellini 75 specialty cocktail — inspired by the French 75 and made with house made lemon- and thyme-infused simple syrup, lemonade and Prosecco — brings the entire meal to new indulgence.
Another highly successful update of a classic is the Southwestern Eggs Benedict, where griddled slices of country ham and the signature poached eggs are draped in a subtly smoky, earthy ancho chili hollandaise. Highly satisfying, it’s even better with The Chesapeake Bloody Mary, the first place winner for the Long Island portion of NYC’s Bloody Mary Mix Down Championship, was created by Honu’s George Bein and served with Old Bay-spiced shrimp. Diners who prefer to stick to the regional theme, the South of the Border Bloody Mary wows with Tanteo jalapeño tequila and an chili-tortilla rim. For value, the $5 house Bloody Mary can’t be beat.
Sweet teeth will be hard-pressed to choose between the French Texas toast, stuffed with cream cheese and fresh blueberries and the banana pancakes with caramelized bananas folded right into the batter. Both are served with real Vermont maple syrup and a light fruit salad. To top it all off, summery desserts such as a lemon crème brulee topped with fresh blueberries, and a sinfully good gooey chocolate and coconut bread pudding — one of the finest I’ve had outside of the Deep South — can seal the meal on a sugar-high note.
Of course, favorites like the pumpkin ravioli, toasted gnocchi, a variety of salads, and the raved-about burgers are also on the diverse menu. These specials change seasonally, but should stay the same for the remainder of the brunch season, which ends on September 20.