Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Henry's End

A few weeks ago, Rick and one of Uncle George's friends (also named Rick) fulfilled George's request to scatter his ashes, and then went out to dinner at Henry's End. Rick raved about the place, more than once. The last time I heard him exalt a restaurant like this, it was Red Brick Tavern, which turned out to be a wonderful dining experience. Our original plan had been to visit Junior's for dinner on Sunday. I like Junior's a lot, but I don't exactly love it, so when Rick said "We don't have to go to Junior's, we can go somewhere else... have you guys been to Henry's End yet?" I immediately said no and that I would love to try it.

We considered making a reservation but, after deciding to eat a very early dinner, we wandered over to Henry's End at 5:30. We did not anticipate needing a reservation at that hour. We were wrong. The place was packed. However, the server took our name and encouraged us to have a drink at the Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar three doors down. "I will come get you when your table is ready," she said. That sounded like a good plan to me.

The wait was about 35 minutes. At the wine bar I had a glass of Montelpuciano and then a Brooklyn Lager. As I was finishing my second drink, the waitress came into the wine bar to fetch us and let us know our table was ready.

Elizabeth had a sauvignon blanc.

The interior of Henry's End is narrow and dark. I really liked it, it felt intimate and friendly, kind of like a clubhouse. (But as a result of the darkness, these are not going to be particularly good photographs.) The kitchen was open and tiny, but the smells coming from it were fantastic. 

We sat by a bunch of wine racks. The two open bottles closest to me were Ridge and Zaca Mesa. This made me smile: in Pasadena my friend Tim would often bring over bottles of Ridge for special occasions, they are all wonderful single-vineyard wines from Northern California. And back in 2007, when I first met Elizabeth, a group of us went on a weekend wine-tasting trip where we visited Zaca Mesa.

There was a great old photograph of Brooklyn on the wall a few feet away.

Rick had just cleaned out the joint-bank account he shared with Uncle George while the latter was ill. "This is on me and Uncle George, so get what you want and don't even look at the prices," he said.

Well, okay. 

I thought about getting another beer, but decided just to get iced tea. It was really tasty and the server kept bringing carafes of it for us so that we would not run out.

I liked the first piece of sourdough bread, but found the raisin bread to be too sweet. (If you like raisin bread, however, I imagine you would really enjoy Henry's End's version of it.)

We started with the crab & corn cakes. I loved these - plenty of big pieces of crab in each. I wasn't a fan of the tartar sauce, it tasted like it was only mayo, but these cakes didn't need any condiment. 

Rick had the duck in raspberry sauce. Duck is not one of my favorite things, but I took a piece and enjoyed it. I would never order it on my own, but if you told me I have to eat a duck dish (why you would tell me this or why I would listen, I don't know, let's just pretend), this would be the one. (There was a lot of sauce on the plate, and though it was tasty, I'd probably ask for a little less.)

A horrible picture of the spinach, I know, but I had to show it because Rick told us it was the best spinach he'd ever had and if we wanted any we had to get our own because he was "not sharing a single bite" of his with either of us. So Elizabeth got an order, too, and I tried it. It was very good, although very heavy with butter. I am more of an olive-oil-and-garlic guy when it comes to spinach, so I won't be calling this my favorite, but it was certainly good. 

Elizabeth had the "Salmon Moroccan" and she gave me a big hunk. It was great, a compound butter of cumin and cayenne crusting the top of it. Unfortunately the photos I took of the salmon were completely unusable. The spinach picture above is terrible but at least you can tell what is going; the salmon in the pictures I took is indistinguishable from mashed potatoes.

We all received delicious green beans with our entrees. 

I was vacillating between the "Shrimp With Andouille Sausage" and the "Buffalo Hanger Steak" off of the specials menu. Being that Henry's End is known for their game - they have a Wild Game Festival every fall, offering reindeer, turtle, bear, kangaroo and antelope - and that it's been years since I've eaten buffalo, I decided to get the steak. (I've had many buffalo burgers over the years, but I do not remember if I've ever had a buffalo steak.)

The "truffle fries" were not very good. I don't think I have ever had saltier fries. But, obviously, the steak was the main attraction here, and I really liked it. The steak was leaner than beef steak, and it had a delicate, almost sweet flavor to it. The homemade steak sauce had a good amount of zing to it, which balanced out the buttery-sweet steak. I shared a piece with each of my dining companions and they both agreed it was delicious.

We thought about getting dessert, but all three of us cleaned our plates - I do not remember the last time I felt so full after a meal - so we did not even look at the dessert menu. ("Can I just get another buffalo steak for dessert?" I asked.)

This was the best meal I have had in weeks, probably since Red Brick Tavern, as a matter of fact. The service was attentive and friendly. The entrees took a while to come out, at least thirty to forty minutes, but the pleasant atmosphere of the place made the wait seem almost enjoyable. I look forward to returning to Henry's End, hopefully for some of that wild game. 


mindful mule said...

I'll have the Warm Pistachio Goat Cheese Salad and one of those bottles of red. The place looks great - cozy, warm.

Michelle said...

It looks super cool and I really like that because it's so small she came and got you at a nearby bar.

Anonymous said...

dang even the green beans look good

Liz said...

The green beans were SO delicious. I could have had a full plate of those. And everything was so good, I was really impressed with this place.

banana wonder said...

Oooh those crab cakes are singin to me. I actually saw Brooklyn Lager in Guatemala of all places. Just like my Justin, he has also eaten a second steak (or requested it) for dessert.

JustinM said...

Rob: That's exactly what it felt like, very cozy.

Michelle: I agree, a nice touch. It's like Henry's End has a bar... it just happens to be three doors down.

Anon: The green beans were awesome.

Liz: Everything was great... except the company! Ha! See what I did there?

Banana: If he likes steak, he would have loved this buffalo steak.

Anonymous said...

This blog is fantastic. Been there when my husband and I were dating- he lived in The Heights and it was so much fun. Good to see it again!

JustinM said...

Thanks, glad you enjoy it.