Chez Henri disappoints
The long-standing disconnect between the dining room and the bar (to which the famed Cubano sandwich is restricted) was evident by the mass of people crammed into the bar side when we first arrived at 8.
Though the quoted 1.5 hr wait time at the bar ruled out any chance of experiencing the wonderful Cubano again, I was initially glad we'd made reservations for the dining room. Unfortunately, the experience was a bummer, especially for the prices.
My DC and I shared three apps and an entree: goat cheese arepa, bistro salad, "Cuban fries", and the banana leaf-wrapped red snapper with coconut rice, the latter of which I was totally excited about.
The arepa was so very average. It came as a sloppy, unidentifiable disc it was drowned in a tomato-y sauce. A few teaspoon scoops of goat cheese were placed on top of the thing in a circular fashion. The wetness of the tomato sauce made the arepa indiscernible and soggy; the pair of shrimp and the goat cheese were both fine, but I found the tomato ratatouille covering to be too acidic to allow any corniness to shine through.
Now here's what really was an omen to a bad night - "Cuban Fries". They'd finally brought out a serving dish of limp, super oily specimens, with no crispiness. I suspect that the oil wasn't hot enough when frying, so the poor fries soaked it up.
Our entree finally arrived after a wait. Coconut rice had very separated large grains, somewhat box-ricey. What I mean is, it lacked that silky, fluffy coconut-scented goodness you'd find at a good Thai place. The red snapper was just OK; its blandness reminded my DC and I of a hunk of cod. A few coconut rice grains were crunchy hard from undercooking. Thiny sliced mango slaw was underwhelming, as mangos have been tasting to me
While they graciously comped us on the fish after I spoke up, I was pretty disappointed in general by the experience. From looking around, we noticed many folks ready to present their groupons; the deadline for Chez Henri groupon is tomorrow (or today, I believe?). We too had a groupon, the $40 from $20. This may be an explanation for why the dining room became ultra packed as we were heading out.
I wonder if the days at a restaurant before a Groupon expires feel much like Restaurant Week?
Man, I reallly want that Cubano now
1 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA 02138