Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Henry's Louisiana Grill Fits the Bill
*a really great area for waiting on those busy nights that includes a bar big enough to eat at if you so desire…..the bar at Rays on the River comes to mind or Stoney River Steaks at Cumberland.
*something magically appears on the table for me to munch on the minute I’m seated…….Ted’s Montana Grill has marinated cucumber slices……Mexican restaurants provide chips and salsa……even Carrabbas has the sinful bread and olive oil with spices for dipping.
*the salad course includes honest to goodness homemade croutons…..NO commercial chunks of goodness from a cardboard box, please, or I will promptly tell my waitperson their croutons suck. Most of the higher-end places understand this…..sadly, after George McKerrow, Jr. sold his Longhorn’s chain they changed their croutons, and the salads have just been ho-hum ever since.
*this one is a given but of course the place has to deliver on the food. It has to be prepared to perfection or close to it.
and the most important must-have……..
*ambiance, ambiance, ambiance……some sort of gimmick like great décor, a location along an old main street or inside an old storefront. Perhaps there is fantastic patio to sit at outdoors or the grounds surrounding the restaurant are attractive. Papadeaux in Marietta has a wonderful brick entry way and the views from the windows at the far end of the dining room are attractive. The Chart House along River Street in Savannah has the tugs and the cargo freighters moving up the river and even the dining room at the Resort at Brasstown Bald can only be described as rustic elegance with open beams and stacked stone fireplaces. The windows and wide porches provide a view of the setting sun over lovely grounds that just calm the soul.
Now a great restaurant in my book doesn’t have to achieve all of my benchmarks, but I sure do hope for one or two. This past Saturday night I visited a spot north of Atlanta that met ALL of my benchmarks.
Henry’s Louisiana Grill in Acworth, Georgia.
Recently Chef Henry won the People’s Platelist Contest by ABC’s Nightline, and now I understand why.
There is only one thing I can say…..Ooh La La!
Henry’s has a wonderful bar where my husband and I waited for a table. Even though the place was packed the wait didn’t take long and we soon had our table, however, I would have been just as happy to enjoy my meal sitting at the bar. While we waited Chef Henry Chandler, the owner and head chef, made his round talking to people. He’s known to refer to first-timers to his establishment as virgins.
No sooner had we reached our table a basket of sourdough bread and the best cornbread I’ve ever tasted magically appeared on our table.
From that point on our various courses were perfectly timed. We didn’t feel hurried, but we were never left without food for very long, and of course, Chef Henry made a second appearance at our table to bestow beads around my neck….a gift of welcome he provides all female customers with.
I instantly eyed the hushpuppies that were included in the appetizer section of the menu and was intrigued enough to order them. I’m glad I did, however, I have had delicious dreams of those wonderful bits of love flowing through my mind ever since. They were the most unbelievable bits of moistness I’ve ever tasted served up with remoulade sauce on the side.
Our ceasar salads were just enough for a salad course and yes…..the croutons were tasty.
Mr. Elementaryhistoryteacher ordered the Louisiana Ohh La La……..one of Chef Henry’s signature dishes that includes oysters, shrimp and crawfish flash fried and tossed with tasso, spinach, roasted garlic and Henry’s Cajun Cream Sauce. You can order the dish with just the shrimp, etc. but my husband opted for the whole thing. The dish is served over angel hair pasta or grits. The AJC has named this dish as one of the top 50 dishes to drive for, and they aren’t off the mark at all.
Finally, Henry’s Louisiana Grill does have the ambiance. It’s friendly, it’s loud, it’s comfortable, and it’s worth the drive.
Laissez les bon temps roulex……Let the good times roll!!!!!