Before school started again, some of my suitemates and I decided to eat out together to bond a little. We all like to eat, but we all have different – and when I say different, I mean very different – tastes, so it was difficult to decide on one restaurant we were going to. But one had Henrietta’s Table in mind, so we decided to give it a try.
Henrietta’s Table boasts locally sourced fresh ingredients to make “honest to goodness New England cooking” on the second floor of Charles Hotel in Cambridge. When walking in, we were greeted by a cute gift shop at the entrance, but we rushed past it – we were quite hungry after the trek all the way to Cambridge.
I enjoyed the casual atmosphere and loved the open kitchen, which allowed us to watch everything in action. The place was not too loud or too quiet, letting us to have a conversation going without having to whisper or shouting over the table.
One thing I disliked. The waiters’ outfit!
I admire the farm-to-table movement. I really do. And respect that the restaurant’s concept. But khakis shorts and green polo shirts? Please! I may be hating just a little bit, but I thought that their outfit did not suit the food or the restaurant at all. I get they wanted the diners to feel comfortable and in a casual dining space, but I thought that was a little too much. Or too little. I don’t know how to call it.
After a long time of chewing on bread (which was not too bad), we got our appetizers. This was a long time ago so I do not remember the name, but I ordered a salad with Portobello mushroom, cheese, and walnuts. What I expected to be a creative salad turned out to be a mushroom with a bit of melted cheese and walnuts on top of withered spinach.
We all ordered different appetizers and I tried a bite of each, and I have to say that they were all disappointing. The crab (or cod, I cannot recall) cake salad was also withered and the cake was puny, while the tartar sauce came in unnecessary abundance. The soup was plain baby food, and it was left untouched after a few half spoonfuls. Not a good start; We were quite disappointed.
Because the first course was so disappointing, I was upset, but hoped for a better second course. When we walked in, I spotted a waiter delivering a fish dish with a cute presentation, and was drawn to it. So when I saw the Mahi Mahi on the menu, I went for it. The dish consisted of onions, cherry tomato, and polenta under the fillet. The dish looked tasty, but even before I took my first bite, I was a little skeptical, because the fish and the polenta looked a little dry. And I was right – the fillet was overcooked and therefore too flaky and even tough, and the polenta was dry on the surface. It could have been a solid dish; however, that’s only if all the components were cooked properly.
I love entrées, but I also love desserts, and this S’mores Skillet saved the dinner. An iron skillet came out filled with goodies, including melted chocolate, marshmallow, vanilla ice cream, and a chocolate cookie. They all tasted great and of good quality by themselves or together; however, I couldn’t help but think, how hard can it be for any restaurant – or any individual, for that matter – to put together this dessert?
It is said that many restaurants serve food that is way below their usual standards when it comes to Restaurant Week, and I am sad to say that based on the service and the food we received that day, Henrietta’s Table is one of them. We went all the way to Cambridge expecting great food, but came back disappointed and tired from waiting for transportation. I don’t even think it will be worth giving it another chance; there are plenty of other restaurants that will serve good food no matter what week of the year it is.
1 Bennett St
Cambridge, MA 02138