All Things Come To Those Who Wait ... The Henry Opens On Orange Avenue - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Home And Business

All Things Come To Those Who Wait ... The Henry Opens On Orange Avenue

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Posted: Friday, August 30, 2019 4:36 pm | Updated: 5:33 pm, Fri Aug 30, 2019.

The long-anticipated opening of The Henry, located at 1031 Orange Avenue, arrived this weekend with scores of curious customers attending the soft openings last Friday and Saturday.

General Manager Emma Elmes, along with executive chef Brian Drosenos and several seasoned staff members, worked together tirelessly during the weeks leading up to the opening, ensuring that the first guests would experience a positive, glitch-free experience

I had the opportunity to attend Saturday’s opening with a guest, and we were off to a great start from the moment we arrived. We were met cheerily by former CHS student Carley Pinsonneault, who led us inside, where we were greeted warmly by Elmes and staff. We were quickly seated at a large interior booth, and immediately tended to by Mark, an experienced and knowledgeable waiter, who clearly knew his way around the Sam Fox restaurants.

While the restaurant is capacious (it occupies the site of the former Costa Azul restaurant) and open, it is inviting. The full bar, constructed of warm wood with high-backed, cushiony stools surrounding, is located just inside the doors, with a portion accessed from the exterior patio. Patrons who prefer dining and imbibing at a bar rather than a table can also enjoy an al fresco experience without changing seats.

The bar features large TV’s, though the design of the space keeps the noise at a comfortable level-- my dining companion and I were able to enjoy conversation without shouting at each other.

There are large communal-style tables near the bar, as well as bistro-style seating on the covered patio. Toward the back of the space are large, comfortable booths close to the open, glass-walled kitchen, which allows for both a quieter, intimate experience, with the bonus of watching the very large kitchen staff prepare meals for multitudes. Though the kitchen is bustling, the glass is thick, and kitchen noise is minimal.

After sliding into our well-lit booth, my companion and I perused the menu, which offers something for every taste, including several vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free items. Mark delivered our beverages (delicious, icy glasses of deep red sangria, made with brandy and raspberry liqueur, for both of us while we contemplated our choices).

We opted for the hummus, and decided that splurging on the basket of house-made pretzels and fondue was also in order. The hummus, served with warm pita (with an option for raw vegetables), was served topped with colorful sliced pear tomatoes and a perfect sprinkling of za’atar. While there are dozens of varieties and flavors of hummus, The Henry’s traditional Lebanese version is a true standout, and we enjoyed it immensely.

The pretzels, round in shape, were the perfect two-bite size for dipping into the small cast- iron pan of accompanying fondue, and elicited a bit of oohing and aaahing, and maybe a bit of lip smacking. You really can’t help it. If you’re carb conscious, try them anyway—they’re worth the splurge!

The most challenging part of our dining experience was selecting which entrees we each wanted to try. Salads are large, with Greek, Caesar, and kale/apple varieties amongst the selections. Avocado or protein can be added to any salad for an additional cost. Salad, however, was not on our minds, and I hemmed and hawed between the rotisserie chicken and the burger. Ultimately, I opted for the burger, upgrading my side to parmesan truffle fries, while my friend decided on the New York steak, with a smashed potato accompaniment.

My burger, perfectly cooked to medium, was juicy and flavorful, topped with grilled onion, cheddar, and Henry sauce. The fries, golden and lightly dusted with parmesan and fresh herbs, were of course the perfect accompaniment, though I did add a touch of salt.

My friend most generously offered me a slice of her steak, which was a beautiful, intensely flavored bite of heaven. Beefy, substantial yet tender, and served with a house-made steak sauce, I decided right away that it would be my choice for my next visit.

Before I jump to the dessert portion of our evening, it’s important to note that the service and execution of what is always a busy and stressful night for a restaurant was exemplary. We never lacked for attention. The finely-tuned staff refilled our water, whisked away our plates, and refreshed our napkins and silverware unobtrusively. Our conversation went without disruption, as the staff anticipated every possible need.

Did I mention dessert? Though I am normally not much of a sweets person and thus rarely order dessert, I do love dense, salty-sweet chocolate treats. So when I saw the words “chocolate peanut butter molten cake,” it’s not like I could, in good conscience, pass up such a divine combination. You probably shouldn’t either. While a lava cake typically has molten chocolate inside, this dense, extra chocolaty confection is filled with molten peanut butter. Molten peanut butter. Served with a scoop of peanut butter ice cream and garnished with roasted peanuts and powdered peanut butter, a bite put every taste bud in my mouth into glorious overdrive. In the words of Crush, the sea turtle from Finding Nemo, this dessert is righteous, righteous righteous.

My dining companion opted for the vegan strawberry shortcake. I admit it, I was skeptical, but we traded bites, and I was nothing short of amazed. The pistachio cake is moist and deeply flavorful. Served with a vegan vanilla crema and strawberry sorbet, it is rich and not too sweet. If it weren’t for that lava cake, I would most definitely order it on a subsequent visit.

This is the fourth Henry location, and Elmes notes that it is also the smallest, though the capacity is well over 200. There will also be a coffee shop available in the mornings, with access via the exterior, beginning at 8 a.m. daily. The interior opens at 11 a.m. daily for lunch, and will remain open until closing, though a transition menu will be available from 3-4 p.m. while the staff preps for dinner service.

Happy hour will be from 3-6 p.m. on weekdays, with discounts available for select cocktails and food. Reservations are made via Open Table, or by phoning the restaurant directly.

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