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Hen House/Newmarket Sq

9
9lives Sep 12, 2008 06:07 AM

This is a fairly new place on Mass Ave..near Newmarket Sq. Odd concept (more common in the South) of waffles and fried chicken. Clean, "fun" environment with a lot of outdoor picnic tables. They had just opened..11:15 ish..so can't judge crowds.

I didn't go all out with waffle and chix but did get 2 breasts, mac and cheese, collared greens..to go. Thought it was all very good...even with reheating the chicken for dinner(did cheat and take a bite right away and reheating in hot oven didn't hurt it much)..light crispy batter with a little spice, moist, tender meat. Mac n cheese and ccollared greens were both very good.

Next time I'll try more but I had plans for Speeds for lunch..2 blocks away. Good as ever.

http://www.thehenhouseboston.com/

  1. sheila Sep 12, 2008 06:21 AM

    The name of this place sounds weired but it never hurts to give it a try.

    Do they have parking? Is it close to Hampton Inn?

    1. Prav Sep 12, 2008 06:31 AM

      Thanks, 9!

      I have plans to hit this place up tonight for a pal's birthday. I shall report back on the waffle part; I'm curious to see how it goes, after having read multiple reports of the waffles being cold and 'bleh'.

      1. MC Slim JB Sep 12, 2008 06:35 AM

        I just reviewed this place for The Phoenix: http://thephoenix.com/Boston/Food/676...

        My take: excellent fried chicken (get whole piece instead of wings or tenders), reasonably priced, waffles are freshly made but need to be more substantial and crispier. The effect is like eating a good hamburger on a bun that's not sturdy enough. They need a heavier batter; the multigrain waffle (which I didn't try) might be an improvement, but I think the real issue is that they need to use butter or other fat on their waffle iron for more of a crust.

        I'd recommend skipping the myriad sauces they offer to put on the chicken: they seem like Sysco bottled sauces. Maple-flavored, not real maple syrup; I might go for honey next time.

        Free or metered street parking is easy nearby, and it's only a few blocks from the Hampton Inn. Service tends to be slow, and the place could be kept cleaner. Sides are from fair to excellent (red beans were my fave). I'd go back for the fried chicken. I do like their logo.

        5 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB
          Prav Sep 12, 2008 06:51 AM

          Ooh, good to know, about the sauces' mediocrity. I am still intrigued by the variety of sauce offerings, I wonder if I can order one/some on the side, so I can have control over them? Nothing worse than soggy chickens.

          1. re: Prav
            MC Slim JB Sep 12, 2008 06:54 AM

            The sauces aren't terrible, they just seem non-traditional and superfluous. A friend actually went with the Buffalo sauce and thought the combination of vinegar/chilli fire was intriguing with the butter and chicken and maple syrup, but it was one element too much for me. I was sorry to see that they didn't offer the savory alternative to syrup, Southern-style white gravy (properly made with ham drippings).

            They always serve the chicken sauces on the side in little plastic containers.

          2. re: MC Slim JB
            9
            9lives Sep 12, 2008 07:35 AM

            Funny, It was your Phoenix article that prompted me to try it..but I'm embarassed to say I hadn't noticed you'd written it..:)

            I didn't try any of the sauces and as to the cleanliness; I wondered how it would look if it got busy. It was immaculate at 11:15 AM..:)

            This little area now has 3 good spots that are easily accessible for downtown cyclists..Hen House, Speed's, M&M Ribs..Ride out..eat at 1..takeout from another..or cross the bridge to Andrew Sq for the Polish fare.

            1. re: 9lives
              f
              fredid Sep 12, 2008 07:38 AM

              Quick note: There are some earlier threads for additional feedback...

              1. re: 9lives
                MC Slim JB Sep 12, 2008 07:59 AM

                Yeah, I do the On the Cheap thing pretty much every week now, with occasional breaks for day-job travel.

            2. yumyum Oct 14, 2008 08:52 AM

              I was trying to remember where I'd heard of the chicken and waffles concept before and a friend pointed me to this youtube about Roscoe's chicken and waffles, the original, legendary waffles and chicken joint in Los Angeles. My favorite line is "the waffle leads the chicken into the stomach like a sherpa".

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qawlh...

              Any recent reports? Is it worth the schlepp down to Newmarket to get some?

              6 Replies
              1. re: yumyum
                FastTalkingHighTrousers Oct 14, 2008 09:24 PM

                It's chicken and waffles in Boston. Could it ever be a destination spot?

                1. re: FastTalkingHighTrousers
                  ChickenBrocandZiti Oct 15, 2008 05:11 AM

                  I don't think it will ever be a destination spot, but it certainly could be. The space is terribly underutilized, it is a huge space and they could put in booths, expand the menu and offer table service. This would make it more along the lines of Roscoe's, right now is mostly Sysco food and all take out. It's a shame because Boston is really lacking places like Roscoe's that could become fun, late night destination.

                  1. re: ChickenBrocandZiti
                    yumyum Oct 15, 2008 08:41 AM

                    Agreed. I think it *could* be a destination spot, but with the crummy food reports, it's unlikely it will be.

                    1. re: yumyum
                      9
                      9lives Oct 15, 2008 09:00 AM

                      I didn't think the fried chicken, mac n cheese or collared greens were crummy...no opinion on the waffles.

                      1. re: 9lives
                        Joanie Oct 15, 2008 11:13 AM

                        I didn't think it was crummy and my leftover piece of chicken breast yesterday was a lot better than the chicken leg. The skin didn't seem so excessive. It's a pleasant spot, I have no problems with self service at all. But it is quite large and it takes a while for the food. Then again, they're cooking it right then rather than taking it from a heat lamp.

                2. re: yumyum
                  Prav Oct 15, 2008 07:43 AM

                  I'm not a fan yet, but I think it has tremendous potential. My sentiments about the waffle being flimsy seem to echo others'. They also need to tighten their "process" - the orders take WAY too long to make (my order took thirty minutes), and by the time they arrive, the waffle has gone cold and limp.

                  Whatever you do, do NOT try the smoked cheddar grits. Blech - these are completely inedible. The grits are overwhelmed with a strange, artificial, rubber-y smoke taste. I discarded the entire side dish after two bites. Probably the most disgusting thing I've ever had. And I LOVE grits.

                  I'm surprised at how few New Englanders had heard of chicken & waffles as a combination!

                3. massgirl Oct 15, 2008 09:32 AM

                  I can't speak to Hen House as I haven't been yet but chicken and waffles (at least done right) are a FANTASTIC combination. When I lived in NYC I tutored in Harlem and that's where I had it for the first time. It was delicious. i can't remember the name of the restaurant, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Cafeteria in the Chelsea area of Manhattan has a very tasty version too. I am looking forward to trying Hen House in the very near future. MMMMMMM chicken and waffles :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: massgirl
                    yumyum Oct 15, 2008 10:39 AM

                    I bet that was at Sylvia's. The first place I ever had 'em too.

                    1. re: massgirl
                      Prav Oct 15, 2008 11:28 AM

                      I must mention that I had a lovely first intro to the Hen House, as my pal and I arrived unknowingly during a closed, private function. A seemingly "high up" person was so kind when I explained that we had been looking forward to trying this place, and that we had no idea it would be closed for a function. He smiled and let us in, and we had a couple plates on the house. :) Seems like good people.

                    2. j
                      jody Oct 15, 2008 01:34 PM

                      I enjoyed my one visit, but with all the different choices, I had to wonder if there weren't some optimal combination of waffles, syrups, chicken, butters and sauces. I'd love to hear people more people post when they hit on an exceptional combo.

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