It’s Restaurant Week in Boston. Some people love it and others hate it, but if you’re on a tight budget it’s a great way to sample that high-cost restaurant you’ve been eying (after volunteering with AmeriCorps for the year, the only option is to be frugal).
During the week (actually two weeks), participating restaurants typically offer a two- or three-course prix fixe menu for $15.11 or $20.11 for lunch and $33.11 for a three-course dinner. Henrietta’s Table is unique in that it maintains its regular menu through Restaurant Week with two- and three-course lunch options.
Located in the Charles Hotel of Harvard Square, the space is airy and relaxed, as if you’ve entered your cool grandma’s farmhouse kitchen in Vermont.
My friend and I had reservations for noon on Tuesday and arrived a few minutes early, so we were asked to wait on ordering until the kitchen was ready. I asked the hostess about the Restaurant Week menu and she explained that we could order anything from either side of the menu to make up a two- or three-course meal. Fantastic!
We were seated by the window with three types of bread (my favorites were cranberry bread from Pain D’Avignon, the most amazing Cape bakery, and anadama, delicious slathered in butter).
We both chose the Maine Rock Crab and Corn Chowder with Smoked Bacon. It was brought to our table in hot cast iron bowls forty-five seconds after we ordered, which slightly raised a red flag. The balance of creamy corn and crab was a good combination of flavors, but the crab was in tiny threads rather than small chunks and the two minute bacon pieces didn’t contribute salt or smoke that would have made this dish amazing.
For my entree I ordered the Baked Gloucester Scrod. The contrast between fresh fish and crisp buttery breading made every bite complete. The roasted organic potatoes on the side had a great flavor, but next to white fish and brown breading, a small salad of micro greens and a light vinaigrette would have been perfection. The lemon on the side was delicious over the scrod, although I wish they had washed off the bright green stamp.
My friend ordered the steak special over a beautiful (and huge) mixed greens salad with bright red tomatoes that tasted like they came from my parents’ garden. She was a happy customer.
We received our bill without the Restaurant Week prices, which our server changed to $15.11 for me and $20.11 for my friend. Back when the hostess showed us both sides of the menu, she said everything was included in the Restaurant Week prices. We managed to track down our server and she explained they add $5 for the specials with the Restaurant Week option. She said she’d correct the hostess, but didn’t change our bill.
Overall, I would recommend Henrietta’s Table. The environment and quality of ingredients (some locally sourced and/or organic) were great, while the food preparation and service could have been improved (there are almost too many servers in the dining room, but few are attentive to customers’ needs). I look forward to coming back for a Saturday brunch, of which I’ve heard only excellent reviews.
Henrietta’s Table, Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge