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August 17, 2019

Ten Foot Henry | Calgary’s 20 Best Restaurants 2019

Ten Foot Henry’s vegetable-forward, family-style menu leaves a lasting impression.

A selection of dishes in front of artwork depicting the 1930s comic-strip character that inspired the restaurant's name. Photograph by Jared Sych.

FOOD | Vegetable-forward and enjoyed family-style.
VIBE | Intimate and approachably upscale.
DECOR | Inviting and warm, with pops of live greenery and casual wooden tables.
DISH | Roasted tomatoes with herbs, feta, Sherry vinegar and Sidewalk Citizen sourdough toast.
TIP | Don’t fret if you don’t have a reservation; you might have to wait but they always try to make room for walk-ins.

 

Ten Foot Henry owners Stephen Smee and Aja Lapointe tell their staff that a balanced plate typically includes a protein, veg and starch, but at their restaurant, the table should be thought of as the plate. This food philosophy guides Ten Foot Henry’s evolving family-style menu; focused on shareable elements instead of entrees plated with sides, each item is celebrated in the kitchen and garnished to stand on its own. Diners then choose from a selection of proteins, vegetables and starches to transform their table into a shared “plate” — with or without the help of the restaurant’s service team, who undergo comprehensive training to offer suggestions that balance the meal.

Smee first experienced family-style dining in Italy and brought it home with him. He noticed it made conversations livelier and energy more dynamic. Locally sourced pasta noodles (from Mercato) and sourdough (from Sidewalk Citizen) further Ten Foot Henry’s community-minded mandate. Visits to the west coast of the United States inspired the menu, and a striking emphasis on veg elevates cabbage, cauliflower, carrots and beets with acid, cream, heat and sweet. This isn’t to suggest you should leave the carnivore at home; the adobo chicken is brightened with Peruvian green sauce and the hanger steak sings with a side of truffled mustard. It’s food that surprises, at once fresh and bold, yet clean and simple. Ten Foot Henry is ultimately a place to explore thoughtful cookery, an inspired menu and a dining experience that feels both intimate and communal and leaves a lasting impression.

1209 1 St. S.W., 403-475-5537, tenfoothenry.com

Back to Calgary’s Best Restaurants 2019

This article appears in the March 2019 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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