The Henri: Modern Bistro, Private Dining, Fresh Menu
By February 14, 2022 0 628•
The Henri, Executive Chef and restaurateur Frederik De Pue’s bold, modern bistro and private dining complex located at 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, provides an array of dining options well suited to these post-pandemic times. Close by the National and Warner theaters, the sophisticated, open-feeling bar and adjacent dining room offer appealing settings for drinks and dining. The enterprise’s distinguishing feature, however, is the extensive, private dining facilities. Surrounding an enormous open kitchen dedicated to private dining, modular rooms can be configured for parties as intimate as three, as well as events attended by up to 80 people (at the same time). Each space offers customizable sound and video systems and art work. There is also a private dining bar and separate entrance.
De Pue credits his catering background as well as his experience running restaurants in D.C. and Annapolis for the development of this concept. He has seen a lack of private dining facilities that can permit chef-driven food and allow customers the “luxury” of customization. “Hotel kitchens are half a mile away from private dining spaces,” he exclaims, commenting that it is no wonder hotels offer private diners boring and restricted food options.
The menu options at The Henri in both the public and private dining spaces are innovative and diverse. A formidable Bonnet rotisserie in the public dining room’s open kitchen is the source of succulent roasts like Amish chicken, lamb T-bone, pork shoulder and venison sausage. Exciting main courses, like wild boar lasagna, veal cheeks carbonnade and a coq au vin-inspired dish of root vegetables braised in red wine reflect De Pue’s French/Belgian roots. So do intriguing appetizers like a suckling pig-chestnut crepe and “bird nest” beef meatballs. There are a host of flavor-packed steak, fish and vegetable choices. Desserts are beautifully composed creations. The house specialty, a pistachio-speculoos tart, offers the contrasts of a speculoos’ warm spiciness with pistachio gelato and a crunchy cookie-like base.
De Pue emphasizes that most of the restaurant menu will be available to private diners, with options to customize. He sees “more and more demand” for private dining facilities. The pandemic has expanded this mode and he expects it to continue to grow. Whether it’s purely social – dining with elderly guests who have health or hearing issues, family gatherings, wedding rehearsals and parties – or for holding fundraisers or doing business without being overheard, demand for suitable space exceeds the current availability. The Henri, he says, will fill this gap with the “luxury of your room.”