It’s been a long time coming, waiting for the opening of Henry’s Oceanfront Dining. Earlier this year, pop-ups were held to introduce some of the menu items before the restaurant officially opened, and I was lucky enough to experience a handful of them. But now, the restaurant is open, and I couldn’t wait to visit.
At Henry’s, you may enjoy an a la carte menu, as well as, a 4- ($95) or 6-course ($145 by reservation only) tasting menu. Depending on how hungry you are, I would absolutely recommend getting the 4-course menu.
Your visit at Henry begins with an incredible house-made epi, crusted with flaked salt, and served with sublime house-churned butter. I highly suggest pacing yourself as the bread is so good you’ll never want to stop. On previous occasions, I have eaten way too much bread, and found it hard to get through the many courses. This is a true test of willpower, especially when your server offers to bring you another.
For starters, try the Mussels ($18) bathed in an umami-filled Mangalitsa nduja broth, dotted with bits of the savory spicy pork salumi. House-made ramp kimchi adds a little heat, while the grilled chewy sourdough is perfect for dipping into the broth. These mussels are perfectly executed, so tender and not at all rubbery, a clear example of Chef Kenny’s masterful culinary chops.
One of my favorite items during the popups were the bowls, currently on the menu as Sustainable Salmon Bowl ($18). Previous renditions have utilized hamachi among others, but currently, King salmon is the featured protein. The bowl starts with a base of Triticale wheat berry, then paired with house made kimchi, salmon skin, and a lettuce dressing. The wheat berry is nutty and chewy, with some toasted bits to give it a different crunch. I am impressed by the variety of textures in this dish, along with the savoriness that each bite invokes.
When it comes to entrees, you’ll have a difficult time deciding between the seafood and meat options. California Opah & Cucumber ($30) is at first glance, simple, but once you delve deeper, you’ll realize that there is a subtle complexity to this dish. Opah is a difficult fish to prepare as it isn’t oily. By pan-roasting, the opah is given a beautiful crust, while keeping the interior viable and flaky. A relish of both fresh cucumber, and pickled Persian cucumber give varying flavors, while cucumber chips lend yet another textural component to the mix. A light but bold cucumber beurre blanc ties the dish together.
Meat lovers will find themselves in a heavenly whirlwind from the Gracie Farms Ribeye ($40). I’ve eaten this at several pop-up visits and will never hesitate to order it. It is an exquisitely prepared piece of meat that will melt in your mouth. Accoutrements of fresh grated wasabi root, preserved Meyer lemon slivers, and black sea salt seem simple, but a lot of thought was put into it. My favorite has always been the preserved lemon slivers.
If you are a fan of pork, the Mangalitsa Pork Chop ($38) is a splendid option. I was initially reluctant to eat this due to the pork’s fat content, however, I was sold after the first bite. I learned about Mangalitsa pork the first time I had it at the pop up. The Mangalitsa pork is Hungarian breed of domestic pig initially raised for lard because of their mellow, silky fat. I’m told it starts melting at the same temperature as the human body, so you’ll notice the pork literally melting in your mouth a few seconds after you eat it. The luscious, unctuous mouthfeel is indescribably good and not at all unpleasant as I had originally expected.
Not having a sweet palate usually means I’m pretty blasé when it comes to desserts. However, once in a while, I come across some marvelous creations that change my mind about how I feel about sweets. Henry’s pastry chef Jacky Martinez (pastry chef for the resort), previously at the Pelican Hill Resort, is doing some amazing things.
Since I am very selective when it comes to desserts, the Basil Mascarpone Panna Cotta ($14) immediately catches my eye. Hibiscus compressed strawberry, and strawberry basil pate de fruit embrace the panna cotta, with vanilla meringue wafer triangle garnish. It is satisfyingly good.
However, it is the Sweet Corn Creme Brulee ($14) which blew my mind. Honey roasted peaches are sinfully sweet, but not overbearingly so. Freeze dried honey and rice puff granola add layers of varying textures to one of the best creme brulees I’ve ever eaten.
Henry’s is one of the best kept secrets in OC. Go check it out soon!
Henry’s Ocean View Dining
Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort
21100 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648