The Game Festival at Henry’s End – Worth the Trip!

I don’t get out of this damned borough enough.

I mean I love Manhattan – I love sleeping here, working here, and especially eating here. Some of the world’s greatest eating experiences can be found just a cab ride from my front door.

And some are better found a train ride away – just over the bridge, in Brooklyn.

I’m not talking about hipster Brooklyn. You don’t have to wear a smaller jeans size than your girlfriend or carry a copy of “on the road” in your back pocket.  I’m talking about just Brooklyn being a place that happens to have outstanding food.

The food is at Henry’s End.

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Don’t expect much in the way of decor – it looks like any suburban pub. Families, friends, and longtime diners all crowded around the small tables. Christmas lights stay strung year round and you may find yourself next to a toddler having a meltdown.

It’s the kind of place where you expect a solid burger and maybe some frozen fries.

Not where you expect a totally memorable meal.

Though unpictured, the butter that comes with the varied bread basket is excellent. The bread itself is good if not great, bu that butter is sweet, soft, and dense – like whipped butter but with a smoother, heavier texture.

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Seared foie gras

Excellent. Nothing groundbreaking but foie is already perfect – let’s not reinvent the wheel, okay? This is a decent sized serving with a good sear on the outside and a warm, melting texture inside.  It is smooth and cuts with a spoon – clearly high quality. It’s served with softly poached pieces and a fruity balsamic glaze. Soft, lightly crunchy on the outside and rich beyond belief – at $17 it is the best priced foie dish in town, and thus one of my favorites.

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Pistachio crusted goat cheese and beet salad

Creamy herbed goat cheese is warm and unctuous inside its thick, fried coating of breadcrumbs and nuts. The beets aren’t overly spiced – they are earthy – really beets for beet lover. The lightly dressed spring leaves alongside lighten up the dish – it’s a welcome addition to what is sure to be a meat heavy meal.

Especially if you go, as I did, during the annual game festival, when game meats are heavily featured on the menu.

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Buffalo Pappardelle

Un-friggin-real. I have only had buffalo in burger or filet form, where it tastes lean and rather sweet. These short ribs are almost unrecognizable as buffalo – it is as fatty as pork. I mean that in a good way. Is there a bad way to mean that? The pappardelle is thick and eggy, clearly made in house. It’s draped in that soft, fatty buffalo that breaks apart on the tongue with the flavors of rosemary and red wine resonating through the palate. Some sharp pecorino cheese on top is the perfect finish.

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Antelope with sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts

This is so good I could cry just writing about it. I was nervous to order antelope because I don’t like really earthy flavors - they go muddy and dirty to me. This, however, is by far my favorite game meat. Ever. It comes seared medium rare and cuts like filet mignon. It tastes like filet too – soft, juicy, and with an incredibly mild taste - nothing too iron-y or woodsy here. It’s really juicy but not fatty. It’s lean but still soft, not cottony. It’s rubbed with cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, bringing out the sweeter side of the meat. It’s served on a bed of mashed sweet potatoes and salty roasted Brussels sprouts – a great counterpart to the dish’s sweet elements. I ate every ounce of this and could have eaten more – not because I was still hungry; the portion is very ample – but because it was so delicious. Please get this.

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Mud Pie

Chocolate ice cream with a very nice Kahlua kick to it – almost enough to get you tipsy! Oreo crust, viscous hot fudge..yeah this is the ideal end to a hell of a meal.

The best part is how this meal taste, but the second best part is how reasonable it is  because it REALLY is. Just so delicious, so interesting, so well portioned. It’s worth a trip across the bridge.

Contrary to what they say on Survivor, it’s nice to get off the island.

Comments

  1. Justin says:

    They have an appetizer of jumbo shrimp fried in tortilla flour that is one of my ten favorite things I’ve eaten in New York.

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