henry's kitchen, the dining area
You know how it is when you have a good meal and go back hoping to duplicate it? Well, I did that today. I was craving some of the awesome bouillabaisse I had about a month ago. Today, a Friday, it wasn't so busy. There were only 2 other tables at 5:30p.m.
the wine cellar & bar, henry's kitchen
I recalled the hefty portion of seafood in my bouillabaisse on my last visit. For some reason today, after it was placed in front of me, Stomach and I both immediately looked at each other and commented on how we thought it looked smaller than before. I'm pretty sure the little wok was filled higher last time. The elements also seemed a little different. This time the rouille had cheese sprinkled on it and the impressive turned potatoes from last time were kind of turned this time! like someone was going to attempt to turn the potatoes, but stopped 'cause it was too much bother. I started to wonder if the same chef was in. Bebe's garlic and cheese bread looked different, in that the bread base was different--a focaccia; but it still tasted great. Her penne in red sauce was the same too. She really liked it. Stomach ordered the daily special, Snapper & Prawns with lentils in a lobster reduction. He wasn't complaining and said his meal was really good. I was not disappointed with the flavours in my bouillabaise. However, it was pretty much perfect last time and I couldn't find fault in it at all. So now, I am wondering if we should only go on Saturdays when it's busier and we can be sure the chef is in.
Interestingly enough, another reason for me wanting to go when it's busier is that the service was not as attentive today as it was when it was busy. Though service was polite, we didn't think it too professional that the 2 servers were yakking up a storm--we could overhear them socializing. It bugged us. Stomach thought the girl had the hots for the guy and was giving him major attention. Another table had to try to hail her down a couple times before she noticed they needed something. When it was busy last time, she seemed more focussed and professional with the customers.
The meals were still very good overall so I definitely will go back but next time I'll try something different.
FOOD RE-REVIEW! *note revised review at bottom
RESTAURANT: Henry's Kitchen
ADDRESS: 904 West King Edward Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia
PHONE: (604) 738-9883
PARKING: free! in the plaza
TOTAL POINTS: 18.5/24
ADDENDUM: NOVEMBER 1, 2007
A good friend of mine, G., went to Henry's Kitchen on Monday, October 29. She was extremely disappointed with the service. This is how it went...
After sitting for about 30 minutes waiting for their orders to arrive, the waiter came up to G's table and told them that their order was "misplaced" by the kitchen. He asked if they would like some bread. G's party said, "yes"...and waited a further long 10 minutes before they even received the bread. By the time the bread came out, their orders were ready and came out too. Did no one think to plop some nuts down? Have a free drink on the house for having made a big boo-boo? No. At no time did the waiter come by to check on the party before the bread came, and G said that her water wasn't even refilled.
I asked her what the "management/owner" was doing while this was all happening. I believe that the hostess/manager is the wife of the chef and she putters around the bar, walking back and forth doing practically nothing. I noticed that she did pretty much squat the last 2 times I was there. G said she did squat during her visit too. On my visits there, I got a sort of unfriendly feeling from her. She certainly isn't a welcoming hostess. She's terse and unsmiling. If she's not willing to smile, that's fine with me (although a hostess by definition should be welcoming). However, she ought to manage the front of the restaurant better and ensure the wait staff are on task and tables and orders are tended to.
G added that despite the horrendous service (I agree! they should fix it if they want to stay in business) the food was very good.
So, if you're willing to put up with crap service/no service for good food, I suppose you can still try Henry's Kitchen. But G adds that for a diner who goes out to eat infrequently, and counts on a restaurant visit to be memorable--service and food cannot be separated and both are needed to enhance the whole experience.
By the way, I too had visited Henry's Kitchen but on a Saturday (yes, we both ordered the bouillabaise) along with my friend N. However the service wasn't memorable either way. I would say there is minimal contact between patron and server at this restaurant.
CAKEBRAIN'S FOOD REVIEW OF OCT 2007
Here's the revised rating:
(I'm docking off points for inconsistency in service. I can't recommend a restaurant to friends if they're going to have such horrible experiences...that's simply embarrassing)
TOTAL POINTS: 16.5/24