Food Reviews: Hendrick’s Tavern

Roslyn, (516) 621-1200


Hendrick’s Tavern is an instant destination restaurant. It epitomizes luxurious Long Island dining. About a year ago, Gillis and George Poll purchased what was once the fondly remembered but recently declining George Washington Manor in Roslyn and painstakingly turned it into a sprawling and spiffy upscale venue. It’s a woodsy, masculine steakhouse-style spot with multiple dining rooms, three bars and a lounge. Its beamed ceiling, mirrored columns, nicely-spaced tables, discrete lighting, civilized noise level, walls of vintage photos, bouquets, leather accents, informed white-jacketed waitstaff and concerned maître d’ make it one of the Island’s most comfortable dining rooms. The new Hendrick’s Tavern is not a once-over-lightly project, but a complete transformation and facelift from its George Washington Manor days.

Despite the dry aged prime steaks prominently listed in a box at the center of Hendrick’s menu, it’s much more than a steakhouse. There’s plenty of poultry, pastas and pizzas, as well as a raw bar, eight seafood entrées, nine small dishes and six salads. The menu takes some creative turns such as a small dish of panko crusted avocado ($7.50) with sweet chili sauce that offers both crunch and flavor, and a Kobe beef hot dog ($17) that looks like an oversized pig in a blanket served with mustard, ketchup and sauerkraut. It’s an assertive, robust taste sensation of ten pieces that are enough for two.

Although it’s easy to spend real moola here, it’s also possible to steer a moderate course. To pursue the moderate path, check out the pizzas ($9 to $17), pastas ($12.50 to $19) and four or five of the small plates ($7 to $8).
But when I think of the Poll Brothers, I think of meat, especially steak. In addition to Cipollini, a Manhasset Italian restaurant, Toku, an Asian outpost there, and Bar Frites, a French Bistro in Greenvale, they own three steakhouses: The formidable Bryant & Cooper in Roslyn, and Majors, the lower priced red meat option in Woodbury and East Meadow.

The thick, truck driver-sized 14-ounce sirloin ($46) is a juicy, minerally treat, and the flavor-packed 8oz Wagyu rib eye ($35), despite its very thin cut, came medium rare, precisely as ordered. Those two proceeding a crust-topped, no filler and truly jumbo Maryland crab cake ($18.50), and followed by a honey sticky bun ($10) with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce or a wedge of layered mille crêpes and pastry cream ($12) make for a memorable meal. Yet seafood lovers need not feel neglected. They should sample the four perfectly seared sea scallops ($28) with their shaved fennel and prosciutto strips or the fresh, flaky seared Norwegian salmon ($25).

I’d pass on the pedestrian margarita pizza ($9) in need of seasoning and the nothing special chicken parmigiano ($21) with its too-hefty layer of cheese. Italian food lovers should opt instead for the interesting, creative, fresh linguini Zsa Zsa ($19), alive with smoky pancetta and sage and crowned with a fried egg (break the yolk and let it sink into the pasta).

Among the recommended sides, homemade tater tots and crisp hand-cut French fries (both $8), and crisp fried Brussels sprout leaves and burnt broccoli (both $9) top the commonly seen versions elsewhere.

photos by stephen lang

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richard jay scholem

Richard Jay Scholem practically invented the Long Island restaurant culture through 800+ reviews of the region's eateries both on radio and in print over the last 30 years. He is a former New York Times Long Island Section restaurant reviewer, has contributed to the Great Restaurants of...magazines and Bon Vivant, authored a book, aired reviews on WGSM and WCTO radio stations, served on the board of countless community and food and beverage organizations, and received many accolades for his journalism in both print and broadcast media. He is currently available for restaurant consultation. Reach him at (631) 271-3227.