Brunch in All Its Majesty
Nov 05, 2015 12:20PM
● By Dia
A neon purple “Majestic” sign beckons Dallas- goers into a popular brunch spot on McKinney Avenue in Uptown. Henry’s Majestic boasts two full bars, one visible from the unassuming entrance, where a few young adults chatter in front of a “prescriptions” sign.
With antique wallpaper, Edison light bulbs dangling from the ceiling and unique “found” items in every nook and cranny, the Henry’s atmosphere is a paradox. It’s industrial, yet rustic. The space is nearly 5,000 square feet, but it feels quaint. It gives off a Prohibition-era vibe, but the patio is bustling, cocktail in every hand.
Henry’s is a venture from the folks behind the successful Dallas café Bread Winners and acclaimed chef Roe DiLeo. You may have seen her on Season 13 of Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” or most recently on Food Network’s “BBQ Blitz” with Eddie Jackson. You may have even tasted her food if you stopped by The Libertine Bar in Dallas just over a year ago.
“Leaving the Libertine was difficult for me – after five years it was definitely like home – but I needed to expand beyond bar food,” DiLeo says.
The Libertine taught her some valuable les- sons she’s brought with her to Henry’s, which opened for business last October: know your cus- tomers and be consistent. With the help of these two mantras, DiLeo has quickly turned Henry’s into a dining destination made of more than just bar food.
Featuring live music on the weekends, a dog-friendly outdoor patio with a pool table and fireplace, Henry’s is a hot spot for nearby college students and Dallas foodies alike to be seen grabbing morning brunch or hanging out until 2 a.m. While Henry’s attracts many different types of people, DiLeo says, they all have one thing in common: they know their food and drink.
One way (read: the right way) to start off your experience at Henry’s is to opt for the Sparkling Bar. The waitress fills your glass with your choice of Aria Brut Cava, Riondo Prosecco, Zonin Sparkling Rose or J Roget Champagne and then ushers you to a side table where you’re free to add house-made cordials, seasonal fruits and fresh juices.
If you want to stay seated, the brunch cocktail menu is no disappointment. Not for the faint of palate, drinks by barman Alex Fletcher (The People’s Last Stand, Victor Tangos) push the envelope with bold flavors and unlikely pairings – the Sunday Fix is comprised of freshly shucked oyster, mescal spritz, ponzu, basil and sriracha.
The brunch menu is a mix of elevated pub fare, variations of breakfast favorites and downright eccentric offerings. One of the most unique is a Texan twist on pho, with brisket, Akaushi flank, soft-boiled egg and rice noodles. And we can’t fail to mention the celebrated Bone Marrow Spiked Burger made with Akaushi beef, bacon and farm egg.
With two sections of the menu emphasizing shared plates, our party first shared the Grilled PBJ and Banana, which was savored all around. Homemade jam, sliced bananas and creamy peanut butter were sandwiched in between warm Tuscan bread. The cold milk on the side was a nice temperature contrast, perfect for dipping.
Next, we split Henry’s Shrimp & Grits. It was a burst of unique flavors – hot sauce, chives and bleu cheese surrounded the large shrimp in a hot skillet. With our taste buds satiated with both sweet and spicy, we ordered our main courses.
A favorite was the Rose Peach French Toast. Thick, warm French toast was soaked in rose wine and served with peach compote and honey cream, which our fork scooped up before every bite. The whole dish was sprinkled with sliced almonds and was the perfect balance between indulgently sweet and light.
Next time, we’ll have to try DiLeo’s favorite, the Al Pastor Pork Benedict. “It is the most involved dish and hardest to keep consistent, so I like the challenge,” she says. “The crispy arepas have to be fried perfectly; the lime crema needs to be seasoned correctly; the eggs need to poached just right; the cotija cheese and garnish need to be fresh. When all of these things come together, they result in an amazing, flavorful brunch dish.”
While her food may be renowned, DiLeo is most proud of something else entirely: her staff. She says most have been at the restaurant since it opened and truly care about the success of Henry’s. It’s this come-in-early, leave-late attitude that guests sense upon walking through the doors.
“I want all of our guests to feel at home and taken care of when they are at Henry’s,” DiLeo says. “I often tell my staff that they should feel like we’re throwing a party for our friends every night.”
That’s a good way to describe an experience at Henry’s. Or, as its website promises: “...Great ideas will be forged, enemies will become friends, bonds will be strength- ened and memories will be made” all in a comfortable, sophisticated setting with good food, strong drink and genuine charm.
HENRY’S MAJESTIC 4900 McKinney Ave., Dallas