>> Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Harvard Square is such a magical place at night. I especially love the area around the Charles Hotel right now, where crystal blue trees light up the courtyard.
Enter the Charles Hotel, and you'll encounter a quaint restaurant called Henrietta's Table. The moment you step, in, you'll feel like you're walking into someone's home, someone's kitchen. It's almost as if Henrietta personally invited you over to her farmhouse for a home-cooked meal using the vegetables from her garden.
The plush pigs at the front add to the warm and welcoming feel of the place.
In many ways, eating at Henrietta's Table is like going to a farmer's house for dinner. The restaurant focuses on locally grown, organic, and sustainable food. In fact, it has been doing so ever since it opened thirteen years ago, arguably long before it was the "in" thing to do. It's most known for its amazing Sunday brunch buffet, which is a sight to see and a price to behold ($48pp).
Alas, I will not be describing the brunch to you today (sorry! It is amazing, and one of these days I will!) Instead, a group of girls and I decided to check out Henrietta's Table for Restaurant Week a few nights ago. The great thing about Henrietta's Table is that the Restaurant Week menu is no different from their regular menu. In fact, the entire menu is part of Restaurant Week. You just pick an appetizer, entree, side, and dessert. It's that simple.
House Smoked Pastrami Salmon
Field Greens, Chive Oil, Crispy Potato Wafer, Lemon Vermont Creme Fraiche
My friend really enjoyed this dish, especially how the crispy wafers went together with the smoky salmon.
Dried Cranberries, almonds, Feta
I loved my arugula salad. It's nothing inventive, but the quality of all the ingredients was excellent, as if it really did just come from the garden out back. The feta cheese was delicious, much better than the salty stuff you typically get in the supermarket. I really wonder where they get this cheese!
Seasonal Fruit, Westfield Farm Chevre, and Spicy Maple Pecan Vinaigrette
There is dressing in this dish! It just came on the side and had not been poured yet. The strawberries in this dish were really juicy and fresh, although the pecans had a funny spice that we could not place. Maybe cardamon? Several people at our table got this salad, and more than one person thought the spices on the nuts were a bit strong. Other than that, however, the vegetables were fresh and high quality.
Maine Rock Crab Cake
Tartar Sauce, Native Vegetable Slaw with Sorrel Vinaigrette
I got the crabcake and thought it was pretty good. It's not as good as the Maryland style crabcakes at The Oceanaire, but it does use high quality Maine crabs and had excellent flavor. The tartar sauce actually tasted homemade here, and I liked it a lot. It was less salty and sour compared to the type that comes in a commercial jar.
Barbeque Ale Braised Elysian Field Farm's Pulled Lamb Shank
Local Wilted Greens, Native Beans, Crispy Nitrate Free Smoked Bacon
House Maple Smoked and Grilled Free Range Duck Breast
Confit Leg, Native Cranberry Chutney, Port Wine Reduction
I tried a bite of this duck and thought it was solid. Nice and juicy and not too overdone. Again, nothing particularly interesting - just good, solid American cooking. Though my friend thought it was good, she said, "it still doesn't beat a really good Peking duck."
Ozark Mountain Grilled Smoked Pork Chop
Native Apple Sauce, Apple Brandy Reduction Sauce
Roasted Root Vegetables, Beets, and Cauliflower
These sides were solid, but nothing I couldn't make at home. In fact, I like my own version of roasted cauliflower a lot better, mostly because I drizzle it with a nice glug of truffle oil! Nevertheless, I loved how they had so many healthy options! Such a variety of vegetables all roasted in olive oil.
Henrietta's World Famous Chocolate Bread Pudding
Rum Caramelized Bananas, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
I actually thought this tasted fantastic, although my friend was not satisfied because the "bread" seemed more cake-like in texture and not as bread-like.
Henrietta's Pie of the Day (Mixed Berries),
Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream
My other friend really liked her pie. Expecting just a single slice, she was pleasantly surprised when they brought this complete mini-pie to her. She really enjoyed it, citing the sweet, fresh berries inside and the nice, crumbly crust.
Lace Cookie and Fresh Berries
I really liked this custard. It reminded me of panna cotta (in fact, it might be the exact same thing). I love how it has that farm fresh cream flavor that's not too sweet. The fresh berries, of course, were a perfect complement to the creamy custard.
If you like the idea of a simple, New England restaurant that's focused on farm fresh vegetables, organic foods, sustainability, and good, honest cooking, you'll love Henrietta's Table. Though none of the dishes are particularly inventive or cutting edge, most of the dishes are solid and use quality ingredients.
Plus, it's actually very reasonably priced for Harvard Square. Most of the entrees are between $15 and $22, which is not bad at all for a nice restaurant in the middle of Harvard Square. The five of us enjoyed a bottle of wine for $30, which is quite reasonable. Most of their wines are in this price range.
Overall, I had a very enjoyable meal there with friends. The restaurant did not rush us at all, allowing us to sit there for hours just chilling. One member of our party was actually quite late, but the waitstaff was very kind in seating us early and not rushing us at all while we waited for our friend. I was quite pleased with the service.
And of course, how can you not love a place that has these guys at the door saying good by as you leave.
1 Bennett St
Cambridge, MA 02138
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