Bonwit Inn Has Come A Long Way
By Leah & Erin/
The allure of The Bonwit Inn is in its design.
In the 36 years since it opened on Vanderbilt Parkway in Commack,
its original room with a fireplace at each end has spread
out into rooms that lead to rooms, and so on.
Parties big and small can enjoy the privacy that the separate
dining areas bring to the Bonwit. A more casual bar and lounge
to the right of the dining area provide additional seating
in a more relaxed atmosphere, but with the same great menu.
Tim Dunbar, the manager, said the restaurant was originally
a tollhouse along Vanderbilt Parkway when it was first built.
Steve Polatsidis, another manager who was working the room
making sure drinks were refilled at every table, said their
surf and turf special had been recently featured on ABC 7.
The big loaf of bread and the complimentary large Greek salad
placed on the table when you sit down is sure to please big
eaters. The salad and bread gives diners more time to relax
as they nosh and peruse the menu.
The seafood appetizers, such as the Shrimp Cocktail ($13)
and Mussels in a garlic and spicy tomato sauce ($8) were fresh
from the sea.
The Butternut Squash ravioli ($15) stood out on the fairly
traditional menu, and when we tasted it. The tender homemade
ravioli was filled with butternut squash and lightly finished
with a parmigiano, walnut and sage sauce, which was a hands-down
Named after the establishment, the Veal Bonwit ($20) was a
mighty portion of sautéed scaloppini of veal, asparagus,
shitake mushroom, baby shrimp and sun-dried tomatoes in a
light cognac sauce. The Chicken Alla Zingra ($18) was a sautéed
breast of chicken, garlic, mushrooms, roasted peppers, and
artichoke hearts in a white sauce with a touch of tomato.
The Filet Mignon ($32) was a tender, large portion cooked
in a merlot wine jus served atop whipped potatoes.
We tried the sautéed broccoli in garlic and oil ($5)
and were pleased with the generous portion of fresh vegetables.
The restaurant also does catering events in the rooms above.
By far the most popular time of week for the Bonwit is their
Sunday Brunch, which a banner outside proudly states.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the restaurant is packed and they regularly
turn people away from this famous buffet feast. It includes
the staples to any big breakfast such as omelets, French toast,
waffles, pancakes, sausage, bacon and home-fried potatoes.
Since this is the brunch of all brunches, it strays far from
the typical. Entrees include the Bonwit baked clams, fried
calamari, eggplant rollatini, and various weekly specials.
The seafood platter includes smoked or cold poached salmon,
smoked whitefish, shrimp and snow crab legs. A cold salad
buffet includes the famous Bonwit Greek salad, a tomato and
mozzarella salad, chicken Caesar and an assortment of others.
There is also a Tuscan table featuring a variety of imported
and domestic cheeses, and marinated grilled vegetables. A
carving station serves roast beef, roast turkey or pork. After
all of that, there is still dessert, so remember to save room,
no matter what time you come in. Reservations are recommended,
especially for Sunday brunch.
The Bonwit Inn
1 Vanderbilt Parkway
Commack NY 11725
Price range: Inexpensive
Lunch 1:30 p.m. -4 p.m.
Dinner 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday
open until 11 p.m.
Brunch Sunday 11 a.m. -2 p.m.