FOOD | Vegetable-forward with plenty to satisfy carnivorous cravings.
VIBE | Spirited, hip and homey.
DECOR | Hanging ferns bring the outside in, and lend warmth and freshness to this “right-sized” space.
DISH | The potatoes are ridiculous, fried with lime, herbs, jalapeno and green goddess sauce.
TIP | Don’t skip dessert. The butterscotch pudding is sublime.
According to chef Steve Smee, Ten Foot Henry is an “everyday restaurant.” If, by that, he means sublime, relatively affordable, veg-forward food in an enchanting setting, well, then, we’ll let him have that one. It seems safe to say, however, that “everyday” is not the first word that comes to mind when one is faced with a buoyant dish of warm tomatoes, whipped feta and fresh herbs on toasted Sidewalk Citizen sourdough or a perfectly turned out hanger steak with truffle Dijon mustard and greens. If only we ate like that every day.
There is something inherently comforting about Ten Foot Henry, opened by Smee and his wife, Aja Lapointe, in March, 2016. The insouciant namesake character himself – all levity and nostalgia – adds to the warmth, but it’s more in the room (a rare feat of airy elegance in a square, windowless space) and, most certainly, in the menu. In an era when restaurants’ offerings change as frequently as their table linens, Ten Foot Henry is abiding in its devotion to what Smee sums up as “not extremely elevated comfort food.”
Indeed, while inventiveness and freshness underpin the kitchen’s made-to-share output, Smee all but promises that a few items will never disappear from the menu. The aforementioned tomatoes, for one, as well as the yam tortilla with sumac, the yellow fin crudo in chimichurri and the bucatini cacio e pepe (classic silky pasta with cheese and pepper). Says Smee: “Our customers dictate what we serve – we serve what they love.”
This spring, there will be yet more to love when Little Henry (the tiny caf adjoining the restaurant) adds a toast bar to its grab-and-go selection of treats, which includes dark-chocolate-avocado tarts and cherry-stuffed doughnuts.
“We want our customers to be able to experience our food in a grab-and-go capacity even when the restaurant is closed,” says Smee. More everyday fare – without the ho-hum.
1209 1 St. S.W., 403-475-5537, tenfoothenry.com