Another top pick for a new dining destination in Toronto is Henry’s Restaurant and Wine Bar located at 922 Queen Street West.
Just opened in mid July 2022, this charming new addition is offering up a tight menu of seasonal ingredients by chefs Kevin Le, an alumni of Noma, and Alex Fields of Momofuku Kojin. They create unexpected and inspiring flavor combinations with a strong focus on seasonality.
As you enter you are greeted by a wrap-around U shaped bar that seats around 12 people where you have the choice of some rare wine finds and craft cocktails. Up a few steps leads to the main dining room. A modern light fixture is the focal point of this room, as is an open kitchen where you can see the chefs hard at work. They must have an excellent ventilation system as I couldn’t detect any odours. Green velvet banquets, black wooden chairs with blond cane backs form the room. A neutral palate and soft lime washed walls, and gold trimmed marble like tables fill the light hued room. There is also a backyard patio that wasn’t in use when we were there. The restaurant starts off quiet but the noise does build as the evening progresses.
Our server Kiley was friendly and knowledgeable and didn’t steer us wrong when asking for suggestions. The menu is concise and well curated. Everything sounded delicious and we were not disappointed.
The milk buns seem all the rage now and Henry’s did a fine job with their rendition, served with a fermented honey butter. The standout dish of the evening for us were the brilliant and succulent Hokkaido scallops, beautifully presented and served with a coconut vinaigrette and sprinkled with crispy ginger. We tried the heirloom tomato and stone fruit salad because they were perfectly in season at the time. They were tossed in a brown butter sauce and with chopped pistachios. Another perfect bite were the Ontario smashed potatoes with a dabble of tarragon sabayon and a hot sauce for dipping. The shrimp toast in lemon grass and mustard sauce needed a little more zip to its mild taste, but was otherwise tasty. Our neighbors said we must try the duck croquettes and truffle aioli next time we come back, which I took that under advisement. But we were smitten with the skate wing in a green coconut curry and Thai basil, and here the sauce had dynamic flavors. I haven’t seen this fish very often in Toronto restaurants so it was a pleasant surprise to see it on the menu here. Another satisfying dish was the ricotta agnolotti, with Ontario corn five ways and smoked mozzarella.
The wine list is quite extensive and they carry a wide range from Spain, France, Italy, Argentina, California, Chile, and even the Canary Islands. They have a wine shop right next door and you can find some rare wines you won’t find anywhere else. The wine menu is evolving and you are likely to see something new offered each time you return. If you enjoyed a wine during dinner you can buy a bottle or two, or three, next door and a reduced rate then the price offered on the dinner menu. The sommelier was knowledgeable about their 3,000 bottle cellar. Of course the restaurant also offers cocktails, spirits, scotch and digestive. Owners Ben (who runs a wine import agency called Brix and Mortar) and Roxanne Hodson and Guillermo Leal have a great concept here by promoting wine education but also offering excellent food that pairs well with their wine selections. (An no natural wine!!!) We ordered an excellent glass of Pouilly Fuisse that paired beautifully with our dinner. The food and the wine choices will rotate weekly. You can make your dinner of just appetizers or you can add some mains, on this modern, ambitious menu which is all very relaxed.Dessert had two offerings and both were excellent. A seasonal strawberry and almond sponge cake with Chantilly cream and a decadent sticky toffee and koji caramel, topped with a yoghurt Chantilly that somehow cuts the sweetness, and is sprinkled with toasted rice.
Recommend in the new Canadian Michelin Guide.
Recommend enthusiastically by me.