and one that is becoming hipper and cooler by the day.
It all started with Joe Beef settling in the neighborhood almost a decade ago, signaling to the world that SW was the new place to be/seen. A suite of local treasures quickly followed suit, from third wave coffee shops (Lili et Oli, Café St-Henri) to new bistro/bars (Little Burgundy, Ludger).
The latest addition to the strip? Henri Saint-Henri, an ode to the U.S. East Coast.
An upscale pub from the same owners as Quai No. 4 and Monsieur Smith, HSH will bring you from Maine to Maryland in a meal’s time. The sea is the star of the menu, with fish and seafood brought to the foreground. In honor of the establishment’s soft launch, mother and I sat through a lovely tasting of the pub’s offer (yuuup, #mothersforthewin).
We kicked off the evening with a beef tartar, shrimp doughnut and fried veal rice appetizers. The tartar and oyster were a raw delight, but hands down, it’s the one scallop that ornamented the veal rice that made the first round of entrées. Almost creamy in texture, it had a lovely mild smoked flavor – just enough to not overpower the shellfish.
Then came le seafood platter; a gigantic celebration of lobster claws, oysters, gambas, snow crab, and razor clams presented on a nest of algae.
Without shame, we both dug barehanded into the platter. I had my sights on the gorgeous gamba that rapidly found itself on my plate and soon after in my tummy. Dressed in a beautiful red coat and juicy, the shrimp was met expectations, although a lemon accompaniment would have been nice. The platter also came with lobster rolls that I remember quite fondly; velvety with crunchy pieces of celery.
Believe it or not, after these two first rounds, mains were still on the agenda: artic char, Surf ‘N Turf, and a young smoked chicken. The fish, straightforward, was presented with a rich beat sauce and a few delicate veggie cubes. The chicken, pickled and then smoked for 24 hours, offered a salty delight balanced out by sour cream and BBQ sauce. But it’s the beef shoulder from the Surf N Turf that stood out. As tender as medium-rare can be and served with all-time favorite onion rings and whiskey sauce.
Finally, came the much-anticipated deserts: float, smores and lime pie. It was the 1950s all over again. The float, simply, made me smile. When was the last time I had a Dr Pepper? The smores, deconstructed, had the most exquisite marshmallows. As for the pie – smooth and crunchy without being overly sweet – will, I suspect, become the signature dessert of HSH.
All in all, a very pleasant evening in the heart of Saint-Henri. If you’re looking to satisfy your seafood craving in a rather laid-back atmosphere, Henri Saint-Henri is worth a try. Make sure to book on a sunny day; I hear they have a terrace coming soon ;).