Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chef Henry's

Great Czech and European food has come to Longwood! Several years ago, the owners of the original Chef Henry's Cafe on Howell Branch Road sold their restaurant to Chef Hans who kept the same good food but changed the name to Chef Hans Cafe. Well, Chef Henry came back to town and is now open in Longwood, on 434 just east of I-4. I'm glad they did!

Chef Henry's is a quaint restaurant occupying the space formerly occupied by Journey's. It's not huge, but is quaintly decorated and has a fair amount of outside seating. There was another table of 8 or so, and a table of maybe 2-4 other people. It was not crowded, though we were told that they do a very good lunch business. And they have only been open three weeks. I'm sure as word spreads, they'll get busier, based on the great food we had there.

Chef Henry's is definitely a family run business. We were promptly greeted by Evelina, a daughter of Henry and Estera, the owners. She provided excellent service during our whole meal and was very forthcoming with details about the restaurant, their food, and their business. It was a very pleasant experience, indeed.

Our dinners were preceded by a salad and a basket of bread. The bread had to be home made. It was excellent. Very artisanal-like with a nice bready taste and a crispy, chewy crust. It was served with a "dressing" of cream cheese and hungarian paprika. Delicious. The salad consisted of a single leaf of Romaine topped with some diced tomatoes and cucumbers and some sliced potatoes, and dressed with a sweet-ish dressing. It was delicious. I am not a big cucumber fan at all, but this was good and I loved it. My only complaint was that I wished there had been more of it. Yumm.

We started with an appetizer of Halu┼íky--basically spaetzel with goat cheese and a few other secret ingredients that gave it a slightly acidic but creamy and savory flavor, topped with just a bit of bacon bits and scallions. It was absolutely delicious, and quite filling. We were smart and did not finish it off, saving room for the main course. 

For the main course my friend had Creamy Champignon--two huge veal cutlets pounded thin, breaded, fried nice and crisp, sittin on a bed of red cabbage and topped with a creamy mushroom sauce. It was excellent. The veal was tender, the breading crispy, and the sauce creamy and with a great flavor--the woodsiness of the mushrooms. Excellent flavors!


For my main course I had the Chicken Rouladen. This was a cutlet of skin-on chicken that was flattened and pounded somewhat thin, then layered with a spinach and gouda cheese mixture, and wrapped around some stuffing. It was expertly cooked and presented! The skin on the chickin was crisply, there was just a hint of the advertised apricot compote on it, and the flavors were spot-on. The chicken itself was very tender, the dressing with a hint of sage but not overpowering, and the Spinach/gouda mixture expertly complimenting the other flavors. This was truly a great dish. I have only one very minor complaint. The red cabbage was excellent. But some of the juice from the cabbage met the chicken and should not have. The cabbage is great but a strong flavor and best eaten separate from the Chicken, so it would have been better to somehow separate the two.

This was a great dining experience, but we weren't done yet. After we'd gotten the check and were about to leave with our ample portions of leftovers, we decided to have a cup of coffee outside on the patio. It was a perfect night for it. Evelina took great care of us again. While we were enjoying the night air, Chef Henry himself came out to have his evening meal. He was very friendly and said hi, and also enjoyed our compliments, I'm sure. It was a great evening and we had a great time.

I'm sure I'll return to Chef Henry's. Knowing that they do a good lunch business and are so close to my employer (about 5 miles away), I know I can drag some coworkers down here. I know they'll be impressed. Our total bill which included two Czech beers, an iced tea, appetizer and two entrees came to about $58. Not exactly cheap, but we have three more meals between the two of us that we took home and a great dining experience. I recommend this place, most definitely. If the "old" Chef Henry's Cafe can provide any lesson, once this place gets going, you'll definitely need reservations!
Chef Henry's on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. You left one thing out. Price. Is dinner $100.00 a couple? $150.00? 200.00? Do they serve wine? How much is that? Glass? Bottle? Carafe? The Sentinel says dinner is $15-32. What does that mean? A dinner is 15-32? Is that, say, a salad, main course, and desert? That's what I call dinner. I think the Sentinel means per platter. Which would make a 3-course dinner, with a bit of wine, well over $100.00 per couple. The restaurant's web site says nothing about price. Or drinks.

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  2. Click the Urbanspoon badge at the end of the artcle above, I posted screen shots of the menu that show the prices. It's not necessarily cheap, just very, very good!

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