Intro + Henri’x BBQ HousePosted: sim May 3rd, 2006 in categories BBQ, Reviews
Thanks to Antti for the short introduction yesterday; a while back he asked whether I was interested in doing some selective cross-posting style syndication with some food-stuff I write for my personal blog, Only Slightly Bent. There was a clear danger in saying “yes” to this, as I found out already last summer that some people actually identify me as “the guy who photographs his food”. Right. Perhaps not the kind of thing you want to be associated with in the minds of strangers..
But then again, things could be worse. I do photograph my food occasionally, so the heck with it. So I said yes.
I don’t know about superbly written stories, but I’ll write stories – probably mostly restaurant reviews. And despite the theme of the site, I can’t promise there wouldn’t be occasionally some drama. Btw, a word of reading advice is likely in order; whenever I mention “we”, the other person involved is, unless otherwise indicated, my wife Sarita.
But enough with the introductions.
Henri’x BBQ House in Kamppi
One evening a couple weeks back, we decided to give another Kamppi newcomer a try: Henri’x BBQ House. I was hoping they’d fare better than their neighbor Minos (review of which is coming up later) and, being one of the few truly BBQ/steak-oriented restaurants in the city, expectations were actually quite high.
The surroundings suffer a bit from the restaurant being essentially in a mall; however, Henri’x also has a nice all-glass semi-terrace from where you could observe the life around the Kamppi center. As was expected with all the concrete and tiles, this life consisted almost purely of skaters who had the open space completely under their control. And they weren’t great either. So not much in terms of a view (yet).
Once inside, we were shown to our table after some initial confusion as to where it is that we were supposed to be seated in the first place. There is not much internal decoration to speak of and the tables and chairs are, while comfortable, also very basic. The neon bull at the bar was quite nice, but that was about the extent of the interior d?cor.
At the tables, things seemed to be in order: nice cloth napkins and a clean set of glasses. No tableclothes, but that is perfectly understandable for a BBQ place. The physical menu itself, however, was flimsy – a piece of more or less crumpled paper, some haphazardly glued to a piece of cardboard.
From reading the menu, it’s immediately clear that this is not a place for vegetarians: in fact, the main courses are all steaks. The wine was interestingly classified on the menu with selections of only “decent – good – superb”. It turned out that there is a separate wine menu, too, something that wasn’t curiously brought to us before we asked for it. Our selection of wine, Ca’del Solo Big House Red, turned out to be a bit too weak to accompany the heavy food. Of course, this was purely our mistake and I’m sure the list would’ve offered better options.
But on with the real essence of the evening, the food. The starters sounded quite delicious with choices like coconut green curry-soup, but we felt like going straight for the meat, with the hopes that the portions are big enough. Sarita went with a chateaubriand (€22) with chilli butter. I was looking forward to testing the much-advertised BBQ sauce, so I chose the porterhouse steak (€38, though see note at the end) with that. Neither of us was asked how we wanted the steaks – this could either be a good or a bad sign.. After taking a little long to arrive, I was a bit disappointed to find out that my porterhouse steak was served pre-sliced and not as whole. But as soon as it came to the table, doubts about it being big enough vanished. There was lots of it. I mean lots, the photo does not do justice to it.
And, as it turns out, it was really quite good and tender. When bringing the portion, the waitress immediately offered to bring more BBQ sauce and taking her up on the offer was the right thing to do – the BBQ sauce was delicious. Doubts about the level of doneness were luckily unfounded: everything was cooked just right. Sarita’s chateaubriand also turned out just perfect, though the chilli butter could’ve used some chilli in it – a common problem in Finland. In any case, in terms of quality of food, the expectations were met or even partly exceeded.
There was a choice of three side dish selections; Basic, Classic and Modern. At least the Basic with potato wedges, simmered red cabbage and an onion-haricot bake was a good selection.
Then came the shocker, however: my portion was so big that I just could not down it all. This caused more mental anxiety than actual physical trauma – am I going to have to leave delicious meat on the plate? In the end, I had to condescend to admitting defeat: there was just no room for it all.
The dessert menu also sounded delicious, but anything more to eat was out of the question at this stage. When we got the check, I realized why I had trouble with the size of my portion. They had inadvertently brought me the porterhouse for two (€64, IIRC), which our waitress said is a whole kilogram of meat. What a relief. Suddenly I didn’t feel so bad about not being able to eat it all. The mistake was swiftly sorted out on the check. But of course, now I can’t be sure whether the porterhouse for one would’ve been big enough… Perhaps it’d still be safe to say that it would.
All in all, the service was quite good, and the occasional glitches (like not refilling our tiny water pitcher without asking, offering the table next to us food they didn’t order etc.) were something that I could live with. With the food also very good, it’s likely we’ll be back here – must try the starters and desserts next time, too.
7 Responses to “Intro + Henri’x BBQ House”
Judging by the menu, they should really call the place a ‘Steak House’ and leave out the BBQ as a BBQ place needs to offer pulled pork, dirty rice, slaw, pork and beans, and cornbread to qualify. Since you’ve lived in Boston, you might know the only place in town that qualifies as BBQ is the Blue Ribbon in Arlington. New England seems to like their sauce sweet and the cornbread even sweeter and dry as a bone.
You mention the sauce briefly, but don’t mention what it tastes like. I’m guessing it isn’t spicy but is it anything like the sweet Boston BBQ or maybe further south?
Oh…and you’ve got nothing on another Nokia guy who takes photos of all of his meals just about. :) See http://www.flickr.com/photos/antimega/ ( and he also ‘reviewed’ Henrix on this pic – http://www.flickr.com/photos/antimega/106811910/ ) 40 euro for a strange looking porterhouse (the bone, if that is a bone, should look different) in a mall restaurant with tear off menus seems pushing the envelope of reasonable expectations.
Nice post, Sim – that porterhouse steak looks absolutey humongous! Scary almost:)
hfb: You’re right: Blue Ribbon has excellent BBQ, especially their ribs. I used to go there for lunch 1-5 times a week ;) Laura, the very nice lady behind the counter knew me by name, and often had my order ready and waiting when I came in :P
Another excellent BBQ experience in the greater Boston area can be had in Tennessee’s BBQ in Framingham. Their BBQ wings are out of this world!
hfb: Ugh, almost forgot to mention the Red Bones in Somerville. They DEFINITELY do qualify as far as good BBQ goes. During lunch they serve a “Sampler Platter”, which in essence is an unlimited supply of dry rice, beans, slaw, sausages, chicken, different kinds of pork ribs and beef ribs. When (if) you finish your heaping plateful of ribs, you can ask for more as many time as you want… But the refills are so big I haven’t managed to eat more than two of them =)
Ah, yes, Red Bones. They even serve Dixie Beer as I recall. :) Their sauces could be better and their corn bread ain’t bad, but Blue Ribbon really does do a better pulled pork. Bones has better St. Louis cut ribs though. I used to live down the street from BR in Arlington Heights….I ate there more frequently than anyone should admit to publicly. :)
And Framingham? Geez, that’s almost to the Pacific Ocean! :)
Pille – :) A porterhouse steak is just a middle cut of the same part of the cow that the t-bone steak comes from which is why it has the t-shaped bone and is larger/wider than a regular t-bone. I think the minimum weight for a porterhouse is 1 pound so they are ginormous by definition.
I remain a bit suspicious of that porterhouse in the picture because of the bone and the slicing, especially if that sucker is supposed to be a 1kg/2 pound porterhouse. Then again, I’m judging what a porterhouse in the states should look like since sightings of large portions of beef around these parts are rare :)
hfb – about the sauce.. well, I wouldn’t say it was sweet. Definately more spicy than sweet, but one cannot really classify it as spicy either. (Unless you use the Finland-yardstick). Difficult to describe it more accurately this much after the fact.
And about the BBQ places in Boston.. well, I think we can all agree that there is no comparing those places & anything found in Finland. Although in general I have to say food in Ohio was better than in Boston.
It’s really too bad they sliced the thing up. It’d be easier to determine if it was anything resembling the real thing if it was kept whole.