The bold, modern bistro and private dining complex of Henri, Executive Chef and Restaurateur Frederik De Pue, located at 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, offers a range of dining options well suited to these post-pandemic times. Close to the National and Warner theatres, the sophisticated, open bar and adjoining dining room provide an attractive setting for drinks and meals. The distinguishing feature of the business, however, is the expansive private dining room. Around a huge open kitchen dedicated to private dining, flexible rooms can be configured for parties as intimate as three, as well as events for up to 80 people (at the same time). Each space features customizable audio and video systems and artwork. There is also a private dining bar and a separate entrance.
De Pue credits his restaurant background as well as his experience managing restaurants in DC and Annapolis for developing this concept. He saw a lack of private dining rooms that can allow chef-led cooking and allow customers the “luxury” of customization. “Hotel kitchens are half a mile from private dining spaces,” he exclaims, commenting that it’s no wonder hotels offer private dining options that are boring and restricted.
Henri’s menu options in public and private dining spaces are innovative and diverse. A terrific Bonnet rotisserie in the open kitchen of the public dining room is the source of mouth-watering roasts like Amish chicken, lamb t-bone, pork shoulder and venison sausage. Exciting mains, such as wild boar lasagna, a carbonnade of veal cheeks and a coq au vin-inspired dish of root vegetables braised in red wine reflect De Pue’s Franco-Belgian roots. The same goes for intriguing appetizers like a suckling pig and chestnut pancake and “bird’s nest” beef meatballs. There is a host of choices of steaks, fish and tasty vegetables. The desserts are beautifully composed creations. The specialty of the house, a pistachio-speculoos tangy, offers the contrasts of a speculoos‘ hot spiced with pistachio ice cream and a crunchy cookie-like base.
De Pue points out that most of the restaurant menu will be availablecapable of private dining, with options to customize. He sees “increasing demand” for private dining room facilities. The pandemic has extended this mode and he expects it to continue to grow. Whether it’s purely social – having diner with age guests who have hhealth or hearing problems, family reunions, wedding rehearsals and parties – Where for organize fundraisers or do business withbut to be heard, request for a suitable space exceed the current availablity. The Henryhe said, will fill this gap with the “luxury of your room.”