Picture it. You are seated at a large window looking out on Jamaica Bay. Just outside people are dining at tables with umbrellas. The sand is a few feet away, but nobody is walking on it. There is one path that crosses in front of the tables. Mothers with strollers, walkers of all ages. The evening is warm with a breeze. Another path goes down to the water. One man comes walking up with his kayak. Families are arriving and leaving as the sunset waits its approach. Out in the near distance you can see the green of an area known as Jamaica Wildlife. Further out in the distance are some of the Manhattan buildings as the blue sky shows its clarity.
You have already been aware that you are in a private community in the Rockaways known as Breezy Point, prior to entering the parking lot of Kennedy’s Restaurant. It is one of few historic places that have survived the hurricane and rebuilt by owners Christine Strehle and Gerard Casey.
Calming hues of royal blue and white line the inside of the restaurant. It is a busy Friday evening with local residents meeting up at the bar. A small band plays mood music, soft in sound so not to interfere with the customers’ conversations. Tables are placed in a way that gives you some amount of privacy.
As one would expect, the bill of fare features much seafood. I am dining with a friend prior to attending a show at Rockaway Theatre Company just minutes away. There is plenty of time to relax and enjoy our meals.
We each order a glass of pinot grigio. Maggie, our waitperson, recites the specials of the day with complete descriptions and price, not even having to look at her “cheat sheet”. That is already a bit unusual as most places don’t reveal the price unless you actually ask.
I have my favorites when it comes to oysters. However, one is located at an oyster farm on Cape Cod and the other in Apalachicola in Florida. Blue Point is my choice and probably the best in the area due to its size and brininess. I settle for 6.
We choose two appetizers to share. One is a tuna tartare over Hass avocado with ginger-lime-soy wasabi and homemade crisps (potato chips). It is the next best thing to sushi. I could not resist the second one, “Sea Scallops in Chilli-Accented Sriracha Beurre Blanc, accompanied by a Chorizo and Shrimp Risotto”. Every time I watch Hell’s Kitchen a meal always seems to call for Sea Scallops with risotto and hearing Gorden Ramsay cursing out the chefs for it not being perfect. Ramsay would have been proud of Kennedy’s chef. I certainly loved it!
Having our taste buds dancing with the seafood, we switched to landlubbing. A New York strip steak was cooked exactly as ordered. I would have called it a bit “chewy” if it weren’t my own fault of having older teeth, if you get my drift. It came with fresh string beans. I requested risotto vs having potatoes. This one seemed to be a wild mushroom with a bit of truffle oil. Executive Chef Orville Campbelle adds aged parmesan cheese for an extra creaminess into the risotto.
One popular entrée is Chicken Puffed Pastry made with chicken breast and a slice of tomato. Mushroom gravy surrounds it so not to lose the crispiness of the pastry. Although I did enjoy it, it would not be a first choice, considering all of the specials.
Unfortunately our tummies were getting full and I didn’t think it would be a great idea to doggy bag it to the theatre. Oh well. There is still a little spot in the belly that saves room for dessert. With Crème Brulee being a running joke in my life (an anecdote that sounds as if Saturday Night Live scripted it), I ordered it. I personally did not find it to be one of the best. It wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked it to be and the top was burnt a bit more than enough to taste the flamed char.
Bottom line. The food did not appear pretentious nor highly eye appealing, although the quality and flavor was certainly up there with my taste buds. The location is: 406 Bayside (718) 945-0202. www.kennedysbreezypoint.com
On a negative note: This is not the fault of Kennedy’s. I needed a taxi to Fort Tilden. They called for me with Belle Rock. I asked for a receipt and the driver did not have one other than Broker Service vouchers, nor even a business card. I called a few days later to speak with a dispatcher named Ilya. He said that I should have requested a receipt when I called and felt that the AAR broker service vouchers would have sufficed. Sure, let’s place the blame on the customer rather than the person who should be doing his job correctly. I requested to have the dispatcher send a receipt in the mail rather than drop it off in my mail box. He refused (“I don’t have time for this”) and told me to call back on Monday to speak with either Willy or Yakov. I will do this as well as filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Perhaps I should tell AAR that this company is giving out vouchers.
I did speak with someone from Kennedy’s who said that they are considering my experience when someone requests a taxi service.