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Henrietta's Table?

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Chris in MA May 2, 2010 05:34 PM

My first visit to Henrietta's Table.

What would you recommend to try or avoid from their current menu?

I've read some random reviews online that seems to indicate tendency to over salt and oil?

I've been to the Salts in Cambridge and the Ten Tables in JP, how does Henrietta's compare?

Thanks.

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Henrietta's Table
One Bennett St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Ten Tables
5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

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    jajjguy RE: Chris in MA May 2, 2010 08:20 PM

    I tend to think of Henrietta's as high end utility: a place to go with older relatives or when location is the deciding factor. It's quite good in that capacity, and I'm not bashing it at all, but I don't think it withstands comparison to the other places you mention, which are more in he stratum of Rialto, Henrietta's big sibling.

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      skordalia RE: Chris in MA May 3, 2010 05:06 AM

      I never understood why this place is relatively unpopular on CH. I actually think it's one of the best options around for explicitly New England-y food, as well as one of the best places in Harvard Square in its price range. I've had a few dinners there and enjoyed everything I had, as did my companions. Don't recall over seasoning etc. Love the pot roast- how many restaurants in Cambridge serve pot roast? I appreciate that they're doing good versions of frumpy stuff like that with high quality ingredients.

      one thing that they do really well is breakfast, it's probably my favorite non-diner breakfast in the area, especially the corned beef hash. I haven't had their weekend mega-brunch but a reliable source tells me it's quite amazing, and worth the high price.

      I've never made it to salts or ten tables (tried to go to tt multiple times and couldn't get res, and was turned off by the attitudes of the people I spoke to on phone), but I think Henrietta's is much more casual and with less elaborate food.

      3 Replies
      1. re: skordalia
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        bear RE: skordalia May 3, 2010 05:24 AM

        I haven't been to HT for dinner, but I agree that they do a really nice breakfast. The hash browns are fabulous, the multigrain pancakes with berries, biscuits, really smoky bacon and ham are really good, and I also like the red flannel hash. The cranberry walnut and the anadama toast are also top notch. Coffee refills can be a bit spotty, but service seems to have been a little more consistent the past couple of times we've been.

        1. re: skordalia
          lipoff RE: skordalia May 6, 2010 12:56 AM

          I think it is unpopular on Chowhound because it is not very good.

          The menus is a kind of faux New England --- old recipes that are themselves not very good to start with, but gussied up with fancy proteins, destroying any redeeming value of traditional nostalgia, while not transcending the lackluster recipes to start with. Combine that with high prices, a nearly insufferable air of pretense about the "local-ness" of the ingredients, a general lack of consistency and poor service (punctuated by the occasionally excellent server) and you might begin to see why many Chowhounders don't like.

          However, I do make a special exception for their breakfast. It is less over-priced than any other meal there; the hash browns and corned beef hash are truly excellent, the Flax Snax (flaxseed muffin) is to die for, the grapefruit juice is freshly squeezed, the coffee freshly brewed and the jams on the table pair well with the bread. I've been less impressed with their hotcakes and waffles, but I look forward to their breakfast despite the surly service.

          How they can turn out such a terrible brunch while producing such a wonderful breakfast is beyond me.

          However, I would recommend avoiding everything on their "supper" menu and instead go there for breakfast. Save dinner for places like Salts and Ten Tables, which are excellent!

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          Ten Tables
          5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

          1. re: lipoff
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            athanasius RE: lipoff Oct 7, 2010 07:45 PM

            "The menus is a kind of faux New England --- old recipes that are themselves not very good to start with, but gussied up with fancy proteins, destroying any redeeming value of traditional nostalgia, while not transcending the lackluster recipes to start with. Combine that with high prices, a nearly insufferable air of pretense about the 'local-ness' of the ingredients, a general lack of consistency and poor service (punctuated by the occasionally excellent server) and you might begin to see why many Chowhounders don't like."

            I'd call the service average -- I've been there a number of occasions and only once had a poor server.

            I'm not sure what you find insufferable about local ingredients. Some people are into that for environmental reasons -- it's not more or less pretentious than restaurants who advertise their "organic" offerings. I found the local source idea mentioned on the menu and perhaps hinted at by a server a few times, but I'd hardly call that "pretentious" -- it's useful information for people who want to eat local (usually for ethical reasons), much as a "vegetarian" or "vegan" option appears on many menus these days.

            And I have no idea what you mean by "fancy proteins" -- I've had a pretty awesome pork chop, but I would hardly call that "fancy." It's not like they replaced the pork by wild boar or something. Everything is pretty standard protein here -- beef pot roast, roasted chicken, lamb shank, etc. The most exotic meat is duck breast, which is hardly exotic.

            The recipes aren't out of this world, but they're pretty good simple variations on standard New England-y fair. If you're into that sort of thing, it's good -- if you like the exotic, this is not the place for you. It's a little expensive for this type of cuisine, but I've never had a dish that was really disappointing (as I've had at restaurants that have similar food that's cheaper).

            In fact, the "Yard Sale" that happens on off-nights for dinner is a reasonably good deal, depending on what you order. Appetizer, entree, side dish, and dessert for about $30.

            "How they can turn out such a terrible brunch while producing such a wonderful breakfast is beyond me."

            Here I have to agree with you, though. The dinners aren't bad, if slightly pricey, but the brunch is hugely overrated. There's a huge variety of food, but almost everything is mediocre. If I'm paying close to $50 for brunch, I'd rather have a few things done well than a huge spread of mediocre food. Here there were a few good things, but some of it was truly awful. About the only redeeming feature was the dessert bar, where you basically can sample most of the normal dinner desserts, many of which aren't bad -- but I don't go to brunch only for dessert.

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          ChocolateMilkshake RE: Chris in MA May 3, 2010 12:13 PM

          At lunch they do an amazing BLT.

          1. kobuta RE: Chris in MA May 5, 2010 10:37 AM

            When my friends and I dined there, over seasoning was definitely not a problem. While I thought my meal was quite good, my DCs actually thought a few items were under-seasoned on their plates. Very simple preparation of foods, but great if you like a natural 'clean' taste to dishes. Works well with locally sourced foods IMO. This place had a simple roasted beets side dish that turned me on to beets.

            What I was disappointed in was their drinks. I don't drink alcohol and tried one of their sesaonal cocktails without it. I was hoping for Craigie style mocktail magic and that just didn't happen. They may be great, boozed up, but I know this wasn't meant to be how they are served. Ah well.

            2 Replies
            1. re: kobuta
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              scotty27 RE: kobuta May 5, 2010 10:38 AM

              It's a solid restaurant deserving lots of praise. Self-effacing chef!

              1. re: scotty27
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                hckybg RE: scotty27 May 5, 2010 11:17 AM

                Agree, I've always had nice meals there. I had a very good roasted chicken for dinner last year and enjoyed their eggs benedict on Anadama bread several weeks ago. I like the space, even when it is busy.

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              OakTownHound RE: Chris in MA May 5, 2010 12:25 PM

              I've had dinner there twice after reading positive reviews and been disappointed both times. The sell the "farm-to-table" image very hard, but the cooking just seems uninspired. It feels like they know the location and upscale-rustic vibe will keep the business coming in so they don't put much effort into the food. The menu reads great, but tastes like they're just trying to churn out inoffensive product - there's no love or care going into the food, and even the ingredients don't seem all that top-quality. The food is perfectly fine but definitely doesn't justify the price point.

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                scratchie RE: Chris in MA May 5, 2010 12:35 PM

                The pot roast is good but... it's just pot roast. As others have said, the food is really not that special here. Plus, on the two occasions I've eaten there, I've still been hungry when I left.

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                  cpingenot RE: Chris in MA May 5, 2010 02:38 PM

                  I think that breakfast is their strongest suit.
                  I had a very strange experience there last weekend. DC and I wanted to eat outside on the gorgeous evening, and the courtyard inside the hotel is a pleasant place. We walked up through the courtyard, and although there was a hostess stand, no hostess to be seen anywhere. So we went into the restaurant to see if they were doing the seating from there. No hostess there either, just another couple looking around. Oddly, the waiters, bartenders, seemed to be avoiding eye contact instead of being welcoming.
                  after 2 or 3 minutes the hostess arrived, and when the couple ahead of us asked about a table. Instead of checking a seating chart, she went and wandered around the dining room, returned and said, we don't have anything right now. (no time frame, no offer to take their names) Up to bat, we enquire about the outdoor seating. She then went and did a lap around the outdoor seating area, returning to tell us that there wasn't anything right now, and that we needed to talk to the outdoor hostess. Why she needed to wander off for that, instead of just telling us to go out for that seating, I'm not sure, because there was a line forming at this point.
                  We went back outside (hostess disappeared again) and finally found someone who said that it would be 20 minutes (didn't take our name or anything). It turned out not to be so long, and dinner was fine, but this is not the first time we've had a weird disorganized and unwelcoming experience from the hosting staff, and I'm not going to hurry back.

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                    DeniseB RE: Chris in MA May 6, 2010 01:05 AM

                    Henrietta's Table is good but nothing spectacular. A little on the bland and boring side. As others have mentioned, good for the location in Harvard Square, to bring the grandparents, or to have a safe and predictable business breakfast or lunch. I go there for convenience only. Many better and more interesting choices elsewhere for each meal time.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: DeniseB
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                      jack324 RE: DeniseB Sep 3, 2010 04:30 PM

                      Hey everyone! So, I recently received a $100 gift card to Henrietta's Table. I checked out their website and to be honest, the menu doesn't really appeal to my tastes all that much - there's only a couple items between the dinner and lunch menus that really stand out to me. However, their Sunday brunch menu looks really nice, and I'm thinking of taking my girlfriend there over our upcoming anniversary weekend. But at $45 a head, it's going to have to be something truly exceptional to merit the cost. So my question is, is it really worth the high price tag? Or should I just try to sell the gift card / save it for a gift?

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                      Henrietta's Table
                      One Bennett St., Cambridge, MA 02138

                      1. re: jack324
                        Berheenia RE: jack324 Sep 6, 2010 06:54 AM

                        We've been there for Easter Brunch twice and agree that it's a little pricey but there is a gigantic selection of fresh salads, grilled veg, pates, cheeses, breads and terrines that I really enjoyed plus the usual omelet, carving stations sort of things. Lots of fresh fruit and so-so desserts. Nice staff and service even though it is a buffet.

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                      fantundo RE: Chris in MA Sep 3, 2010 08:31 PM

                      I sometimes have trouble finding something on the dinner menu that strikes my fancy, but the chocolate bread pudding is the closest to my grandmother's I've ever had, and that's a serious compliment.

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                        carneyvore RE: Chris in MA Sep 6, 2010 02:40 PM

                        I've heard the brunch is very good (though expensive). Had dinner there which was fine, but unexceptional. Enjoyed sitting in the plaza, but the restaurant had the type of indifferent service that annoys the heck out of me. It's as if they assume they're serving hotel guests who won't be repeat customers.

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                          CollegeSolutions RE: Chris in MA Oct 8, 2010 07:46 PM

                          Is excellent for the $$$. The four of us had four different meals chicken, fish, pork & meaf. All met or beat our expectations. Service was good not great.

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                          Henrietta's Table
                          One Bennett St., Cambridge, MA 02138

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