Accessible Five-Star Dining in Downtown Huntington Beach
Words: JSP Jacobs Pictures: Marcie Taylor
The fanciest meal I’ve eaten this year was when I sprang $2.19 for extra guacamole on the burrito I ate at my desk between classes. So, I admit, though I consider myself a food connoisseur, I didn’t have a high standard when it came to a fine dining experience. However, whatever bar I may have set in my mind was cleared and then some by my dining experience at Henry’s.
Occupying the old Shades location at The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel, Henry’s Restaurant was barely two weeks old when Marcie (Surf City Family founder) and I were invited to dine there. They have a gorgeous ocean- view dining room with seating inside and out, but there are dozens of restaurants springing up along Pacific Coast Highway touting the same. What sets Henry’s apart from its competition? I think it can only be a deep love for the food and its service as demonstrated by every member of the restaurant’s staff we were impeccably waited on by.
Throughout the course of our meal, we were able to speak with several servers, the manager, and Chef de Cuisine Kenny Seliger. Each knew the menu and its preparation intimately. From the butter that’s fresh-churned daily, to the buttermilk it produces that’s added to the homemade to-die-for polenta, to the perfect pairings of fat, salt, bitter and sweet, the slow craft movement can be tasted in every offering.
Everyone at Henry’s seemed most proud of the Mangalitsa pork chop being offered on our menu for the night. The Mangalitsa is an incredibly old breed of pig that actually has wool. Its fat content is higher in Omega 3 fatty acids than fish, and the meat, though marbled with fat, melts in your mouth like a tender beef.
Speaking of tender beef, that’s what I ordered (the A-5 Japanese Myazaki tenderloin) and found it perfectly accented with a fresh wasabi root puree, black sea salt, and preserved Meyer lemon spirals. It was accompanied by spring carrots with quinoa and pistachios, prepared in some type of sauce I had to keep myself from licking off the plate.
Dessert, made fresh by the pastry chef, was a sumptuous hazelnut mousse. My husband would like me to interject here that I couldn’t stop talking about my meal for days—which is the truth.
Henry’s offers an ever-changing menu based on the freshest seasonal ingredients, with breakfast and dinner, featuring appetizers, main courses, additions, and desserts. Vegetarian options are available, as are 3- and 6-course tasting menus. They also have an extensive wine and craft drink menu, and arguably the largest scotch selection in the county.
While many in Huntington Beach may be like me—throwing down fast food burritos at their desk, afraid to eat in a downtown that seems overcrowded with tourists for half the year, I promise Henry’s is worth the risk of stepping out of your comfort zone. The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel, offers easy, free valet parking for Henry’s customers, and while the food feels approachably formal, you will likely be dining with a mix of folks dressed to the nines and those in their shorts who have just come from the beach. It’s the perfect place for a celebration (anniversary, birthday, Father’s Day, graduation), or to bring your foodie friends. Likely to attract the attention of Los Angeles and Palm Springs diners; come enjoy the experience while it’s still easy to get a table. You won’t be sorry.
Henry’s Restaurant is located at the Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel 21100 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92648