Anything from creative, comfort gastropub fare to cast iron specialties will hit the streets of Brightwaters come the end of March. Daniel Kitson, previous owner of Mighty Quinn’s and Declan Quinn’s in Bay Shore, will open Henley’s Village Tavern in the space of the former Toddler House.
From 2006 to 2011 at Declan Quinn’s, Kitson added options like Chilean sea bass and short ribs over pasta to his menu, but felt “they weren’t what people were expecting,” which is why patrons stuck with burgers. But he now plans to go heavy on the grub because he believes “people will take more chances with food.”
“People’s palates have changed; they are interested in trying different foods now,” he said. “People like going into these smaller, quaint cool little places and getting something really good to eat.”
Henley’s extensive menu features everything from scratch kitchen specialties that mold food and booze to tavern sandies and four cast iron entrees.
“We are trying to fuse the restaurant with a lot of reductions of sauces based on specific alcohol: bourbon base in one dish, tequila in another and wine or white wine.”
As far as starters and soups go, Kiston recommended the brisket and wild mushroom empanadas served with horse radish sour cream and the Kentucky bourbon burgoo made with beef shank, pork, potato, veggies and a bourbon base.
When it comes to the cast iron dishes, he’s a fan of the lobster mac & cheese and Guinness-braised brisket with truffle herb Idaho wedges, baby carrots and a Guinness reduction.
The 15-seat bar will house more traditional pub fare referred to as “Bar Bites,” craft beers and a seasonally driven cocktail menu. Think Blackberry Bourbon Smash, a fresh yet subtly sweet cocktail made with Maker’s Mark bourbon, house made simple syrup, blackberries and mint to warm and cool drinkers all at the same time. There’s also Henley’s “New” Fashioned combined with Bulleit bourbon, St Germain elderflower liqueur, muddled orange, lemon, Amarena cherries and a splash of ginger ale.
And those looking to delight their sweet tooth are also in luck. Some desserts include fried granny smith apple cinnamon rings with smoked maple caramel and churro dust, a skillet brownie with Valrhona chocolate, milk and cookies prepared with warm Toll House chocolate chips and a Tahitian vanilla milkshake shooter.
The vibe will be just as swanky with deep colored wood, steel and industrial fixtures and rustic touches.
“Brightwaters is a great walk around village. I want Henley’s to become a staple in town where people are looking to have a night out with a great meal, a couple drinks and just become part of Brightwaters.”