henry’s at the barn

Up until last weekend, all I knew about Henry’s at the Barn in Avon was that it’s dog-friendly (did a story on pet-friendly eateries for Metromix last summer; actually named after the owner’s dog) and that my sister and brother-in-law are big fans.

We found ourselves there last Saturday to celebrate my sister’s birthday. I didn’t know what to expect and to be frank, I’m not necessarily a huge fan of southern food. When we walked in, we were greeted by an incredibly warm and friendly staff. Since we were the first to arrive, they encouraged us to explore the space, which is actually an 1800′s era barn. The lodge-esque bar area is really quite cozy and warm with a lot of character. I instantly liked it. We then walked upstairs to the loft which would be a great place to enjoy drinks in the fall or winter with its giant couches, rich wood and again, overall coziness (check out the pictures of dogs on the wall, you can even hang your own). The main dining room was a little less my taste. It lost the warmth and uniqueness of the other spaces. The patio, where we sat, was also right up my alley. Beautiful surroundings and views of the barn plus a nice fire pit.

As aforementioned, the menu is southern, or Carolina low country cuisine as they say. Again, not being a huge fan of this type of food, nothing was necessarily jumping out for me (this is not to say that it’s not an impressive menu, rather just not my first choice of regions). I opted for a salad and two apps: the Henry’s spring house with deviled egg, berries, brittle and rhubarb vinaigrette; fried green tomatoes with smoked blue cheese; and smoked scallops with sweet pea and carrot spread. Jamie had the she crab soup, a house specialty, and the black and bleu rib eye, which was a special that night.

Let’s start with what I liked – the patio (so quaint and well thought-out it’s worth mentioning again), soup (I helped myself to Jamie’s) and the scallops. I can see why this soup is one of the most requested items – we were all impressed with the creaminess and overall flavor of this soup. My scallops were also rather enjoyable, although I was disappointed that they weren’t smoky in flavor – at all.

I also like the wine list – 25 wines for under $25. There were several good choices and we happily enjoyed a few bottles of cabernet.

As for the salad and tomatoes, I was somewhat disappointed. The dressing was just too overpowering and sweet and the tomatoes were actually a bit soggy for lack of a better word. Aside from the soup, Jamie was also underwhelmed with his dinner. While he thoroughly enjoyed the soup, his steak was rather overcooked and served cool. As for the bleu portion of the meal, it was crumbled around the dish versus melted on top.

The rest of the party seemed very pleased with their meal, with the exception of my brother and one sister who both sent back the duck for being too tough, which caused the manager to come out and apologize and sheepishly admit they weren’t happy when they saw the duck come in. Both were very happy with dinner #2.

Bottom line – it’s almost unfair for me to be overly critical of the food because again, this isn’t my type of cuisine. Those that do appreciate southern cooking, were quite happy. We both really did enjoy the space and service was wonderful. I don’t think I’d make a special trip from the east side to go back based on this experience, but if my family picked this place for another occasion, I’d happily accept the invite.

3 Comments

  1. Jill
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    If you do go again be sure to order the bacon-wrapped walleye and the tiramisu. Both are quite delicious. I was craving the walleye again the next day. To me that is the sign of a good meal. Maybe the chef was having an off day, because everyone I ate with raved about their meals.

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  3. BloggingJason
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    They seriously have She crab soup? It's my favorite soup evah, and I haven't had/seen it since I moved from NC.

    This warrants a visit.

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