- Karl S. Sep 30, 2002 03:03 PM
Had a wonderful meal with family on Saturday night at Henrietta's Table, which has become one of my favored spots for excellent food in a pleasantly informal atmosphere.
My crab cake was delicious, and its summer vegetable tartar sauce ditto (and I normally hate tartar sauce), and the bed of slivers of sauteed summer squashes was delectable, to boot. My brother had a very rich venison sausage, with good mustard and nice bed of coarsely sliced but nicely flavored sauerkraut.
My roasted duck with nectarines was among the best I have ever had (and I have had a lot of duck). Others opted for the smoked pork loin, which was very delicately flavored and moist (I expect no less when the Niman Ranch name is branded on the menu....). Excellent shared vegetable sides, the consistent variety and simplicity of preparation of which is one of reasons I love this restaurant.
A nice if somewhat pricey Oregon pinot noir from 1998 was still a tad bit young (which is why I pushed when the waiter at first brought a 1999 when the wine list 1998; I knew even the 1998 was probably a bit of a risk) and could have stood some further time, but it was still delicious with all of our offerings (even my crab cake, which I was suprised did not fight the wine, but perhaps might to those more refined palates that never have dare let a red wine near seafood).
We happened to go by early Sunday afternoon, hoping for a quick bite and the kind of experience that you describe (and we've had before). We're told that our only option was their Sunday brunch buffet...at $42 per person (no typo - $42). We didn't bother to find out just what $42 buys one for brunch, but unless every dish was caviar-encrusted and truffle-dusted, this is verrrry steep for this place.
I"ve been there for brunch - on Christmas Eve - and, apart from the quantity of food, I did not think it was worth the $50. And no caviar or truffle sightings either! They offered a nice selection of roast meats (turkey, lamb, pork, beef) but none of them was particularly flavourful. The food tasted like standard hotel fare, albeit from a 4(?5)-star one.
What WAS outstanding was their cranberry walnut bread, and I was going to order a loaf to take home until I found out that it cost $13!! HAs anyone paid that much for a loaf of bread ???
A gross thing also occurred during our meal : I noticed a well-dressed male customer running his hand over all the top plates in the stacks that were in the plate-warming thingys next to the buffet table. He didn't use those plates - he just left them and moved on to the next stack! Ugh! Moral of this story: at a buffet, NEVER USE THE TOP PLATE! Always take the next, or 3rd or 4th one down - you never know who's been there!
Well, it seems you are discussing brunch and buffet, both of which are notorious for bringing out the worst food in any establishment. That is *not* the norm at HT, I can assure you.
Their cranberry walnut bread is justly famous; the reason you pay $13 is because it covers their overhead, which is pricey.... You are not just paying for the ingredients and labor, but the loss to the restaurant when it factors it into its pricing matrix. IT is different than at a regular bakery.
Also, the conduct of a customer is not something that reflects on the restaurant itself.