Honu: Small Plates, Generous On Taste

By Tes Silverman

Honu chef Robert Flaherty, owner Mark Zecher and manager Tom Nocella present skirt steak and shrimp and sea scallop risotto dishes.

Honu chef Robert Flaherty, owner Mark Zecher and manager Tom Nocella present skirt steak and shrimp and sea scallop risotto dishes.

Honu Kitchen & Cocktails, formerly Blue Honu, serves small-plate New American cuisine in the heart of Huntington village.

Honu’s plates may be small, but chef Robert Flaherty, who has been creating amazing dishes since 2008, serves generous portions.

For starters, the lobster bisque ($10), ahi tuna tartare ($14) and toasted gnocchi ($12) are delicious. The lobster bisque is served in small shot glasses. The bisque is creamy, but not heavy and has tender pieces of lobster. The ahi tuna tartare is fresh and served with avocado, chili oil and plantains on top. It combines the meaty texture of the tuna with the creaminess of the avocado and a hint of spiciness.

Pictured: Ahi tuna tartare.

Pictured: Ahi tuna tartare.

If you like salads, try the roasted beet and arugula salad ($11). The salad is served with feta cheese, toasted pistachios and topped with pomegranate-tangerine vinaigrette. The beets’ velvety texture combined with the creamy feta and crunchiness of the pistachios create a fusion of tastes and textures.

For those who want heartier fare, the skirt steak ($29) and the shrimp and sea scallop risotto ($29) are great options. The skirt steak is tender and served with caramelized brussel sprouts and candied pecans. The shrimps and sea scallops are tender, but with a meaty texture. Served with mushrooms, which has a more dense texture, spinach and truffle oil, it creates a complex dish with the creamy texture of the risotto.

For dessert, Honu’s cranberry walnut bread pudding ($8), and Irish coffee creme brulee ($9) are delicious. The bread pudding is creamy yet dense due to the pieces of bread mixed with candied walnuts, with a hint of sweetness from a vanilla glaze. The creme brulee is not for the weak-hearted when it comes to the liquors that make up the dessert (Bailey’s Irish Cream, Jameson Irish Whiskey). The spirits that make up the creme brulee may be strong, but they are tamed by the vanilla bean.

If you’re looking to pair your entrees with wine, the Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc ($13) goes well with the shrimp and scallop risotto, and the Super Tuscan (Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon - $13) pairs well with the skirt steak. The Sancerre’s salty, briny flavor balances the creamy, richness of the risotto. The Super Tuscan has a fruity forwardness that works well with the candied pecans and caramelized brussel sprouts served with the skirt steak.

For those wanting to try their hand-crafted cocktails, the coconut martini ($11) and Fig N Fennel ($12) are great. The coconut martini is made with Cruzan coconut rum, Cruzan pineapple rum, pineapple juice and toasted coconut throughout the rim. The Fig N Fennel is made with Figenza Artisanal Fig Vodka, fresh fennel, lemon juice and black currant juice, which creates a refreshing cocktail that’s not too sweet because of the fennel and citrus flavor of lemon juice.

The Fig N Fennel and coconut martinis.

The Fig N Fennel and coconut martinis.

If you’re partial to craft beers, Goose Island IPA ($8), Blue Point Toasted Lager ($7) and Founders All Day IPA ($7) are a few of the choices.

Mark Zecher, who took over Honu in January 2011, believes the restaurant’s success lies with the staff.

“They are truly like family, and when your staff is happy, diners feel it. When you have a happy staff, you have happy diners. We hope our guests feel welcome and comfortable and appreciate all the attention to detail with the decor, service and seasonality of the menu.”