My return to BlonDee’s Bistro in Huntington, NY.
I recently made a return visit to BlonDee’s in Huntington NYC. As many of you know, my first trip there was, unfortunately, disappointing. While I went in with an open mind, optimistically hoping to get more than what the NYTimes and other online reviews reported, I encountered underwhelming food, inattentive service, dirty menus, an “Award” winning Pancetta Benedict that somehow came without any pancetta (really!?), soggy toast, and other frustrations. You’re probably wondering why I went back a second time at all. Here’s the thing: I don’t like letting go. I’m rooting for owner Dena Fenza and want the folks of Huntington to like brunch as much as I do.
Second Time Around – I was stuck on four main pain points my first visit to BlonDee’s – the benedict, the french toast, the bloody Mary, and the service. Luckily on trip number two, Dena had made sure that her kitchen staff made a benedict with crispy, (non-soggy) toast, and included pancetta, so it could live up to its name, Italian Pancetta Benedict. And, the meat wasn’t just thrown in there. Rather, the BlonDee’s pancetta actually adds substance to the classic benedict.
French Toast - I had suggested that Dena simplify the French toast. Cut the slices thicker, obviously cook them all the way through, (low heat though, so it’s not burnt on the outside & raw in the middle), and there only needs to be 2 really nice slices on the plate as opposed to 3 large ones globbed on there. This isn’t Denny’s. Don’t act like Denny’s. Sure enough, the plate now is more well-put-together. It’s a classic situation of “less is more.” And that little garnish I liked so much, the whipped cream, sliced strawberries and mint, didn’t go anywhere. Props are deserved for the roasted peach syrup. And, attention to detail is everything with me – the server offered me maple syrup with my french toast this time. Rookie mistake avoided.
Something new I tried this visit to BlonDee’s was the corned beef hash. I’m kinda a sucker for it – and it’s something I’d have again.
The old adage – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: BlondDee’s still has 5 different types of mimosas, the right mix of ingredients for a great bloody Mary with two olives. This didn’t need to change. They’ve added that quintessential symbol of the bloody Mary, the iconic, leafy celery stalk I was so hard on. And, they still serve breakfast everyday, into the late afternoon. BrunchCritic fans already know that’s a priority in my eyes. You fans weren’t born yesterday.
At the end of the day, the question I always ask is: Do I want to share this spot with people? Do I want to entertain people here? Am I going to bring a group to sit around the brunch table here? I couldn’t say yes the first time, but based on my second visit, the answer is Yes. Huntington, go git yo’ brunch on!
BlonDee’s Bistro, 26 Clinton Ave., Huntington, NY 100743
The Next Step for Dena Fenza and BlonDee’s is to update their website. It’s something I recommend they do and can only be a positive. After meeting Dena (and sharing my first, not so great experience), I could tell she was truly listening to my feedback, and passionately wants to deliver to her customers. While talking, I noticed we both like meat. Fresh, sliced, meat. I recall her getting excited as she talked about how her dish called for freshly sliced pancetta and she made the slicing motions with her hands. It’s this personality, this energy, that she should add to her website. She can personally add a brief hello in the ABOUT section of her site and with her photo as well. Dena’s an attractive woman. Own that sister! People want to know you and see you.
A few other things I’d do – Add a photo gallery that shows those floor to ceiling windows open to the street, pictures of the BlonDee’s fun and inventive cocktails, and their re-vamped Challah French Toast and other entrees. But I imagine that will come. For now, based on the improvements noted above, she’s off to to the races and in the game.