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Restaurants & Bars 8

5/16/12 Chez Henri: A Talented Chef is Still Talented

opinionatedchef | May 18, 201211:07 AM

We have been fans of Paul O’Connell since he first began with the impressive Providence( in Brookline) those many years ago. When he closed it and opened Chez Henri at a lower price point, we followed him there. We liked it alot. And after Paul visited Cuba, we liked the new dance card- modern bistro French with Latin . But in recent years, the menu hasn’t drawn us back. Enter CH and a scathing review, service- directed iirc. Then a Groupon opp. I checked out the menu , saw frogs legs and bouillabaisse, and clicked on one coupon.

So this was our early dinner before Justin Townes Earle at the Somv.Thtre on Wednesday. While we were on the lookout for someone of that name, we did not have the- server- from -hell. While her upbeat voice and smiles felt far from authentic, she was far from hell, and she did a fine job of checking on us. The room was still very comfortable and attractive, and it was a lovely Spring day for the front sidewalk window wall to be open.

Paul was off-site this evening, but the food was consistently delicious. While we have always found the Chez Henri soups to be uniquely wow-worthy, we both began with a generous salad with pomegranate dressing , bleu de Basque, and curry spiced pecans . I love frogs legs and never ever see them on menus, so i ordered an entree portion of them with some crispy full flavored kabocha squash polenta wedges on the side. Once I asked for chipotle aioli for the polenta and more garlic lemon creme for the (grossly undersalted but cooked perfectly) frogs legs, I was a very happy camper. My Love declared his bouillabaisse (he orders it everywhere) “ much better than all the others"... “so much going on with the many different seafoods and the vegetables AND the broth". They have always had good reds by the glass, so that worked out well. Btw, they also continue to have their daily 3 course prix fixe (2 menus to choose from) which , in the past, always offered its own comparably alluring dishes. We saw a number of other tempting choices on the just-large-enough menu, so we look forward to returning. And since Gargoyles is no more, it looks like Chez Henri will be our new go-to for pre-show dinners.


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