Biscuit Boy and I were in Chattanooga last weekend to help celebrate his parent's 40th wedding anniversary. They had no idea we were coming down for the occasion so it was a nice surprise for them when we pulled into the driveway.
We'd been planning the event for about 2 months with his brother. All his parents knew were that his brother and girlfriend were taking them out to dinner but they suspected something else was going on even if they couldn't figure it out. We were originally going to take them to the Back Inn Cafe until we found out the restaurant changed it's format and now served only crepes. Not exactly my father in law's style so I asked Emma from Modern Girls Kitchen for some suggestions since she lives in Chattanooga.
Among the places she named, one caught my attention, Hennen's. It's a fairly new restaurant in downtown Chattanooga near the Tennessee Aquarium (and yes, I will refrain from making any jokes about how fresh the seafood is at Hennen's). A quick search online netted a few reviews and the restaurant's web site. And so it was decided that we've give it a whirl.
So how was it? Pretty good. For those of you in the DC area, I thought it reminded me somewhat of the Clyde's restaurants but a little nicer. It had a very cool wine cellar, if that's what you would call it. A tall, glass enclosed wine area is just inside the entrance. Hundreds of bottles of wine are there for all to see. I want one of these in my house....and fully stocked.
We were seated promptly in a nice comfy booth for 6 near the somewhat open kitchen so there was a lot of activity to see and also gave us a chance to see what the entrees looked like as they were carried out. Oh yeah, food porn.
Hennen's has a very nice wine by the glass list as well as a nice well rounded list of wines by the bottle. But their cocktail list was disappointing to me, it was mostly martini's. I haven't hopped on the martini-craze train and probably won't since I don't care for vodka. Now I'm sure I could have ordered any drink I liked from the bar but I think a little more variety on the cocktail menu would be nice. The food menu is limited but this isn't a bad thing. The choices are well balanced and there's something for everyone. We started with two appetizers, the Baked Spinach Artichoke Fondue. Basically it was spinach artichoke dip. It came with triangle of pita bread, some of which were a bit too hard but it tasted pretty good.
Baked Spinach Artichoke Fondue - Biscuit rating: 3 biscuits* *The biscuit rating is on a scale of 1-5. 1 is the lowest rating, 5 the highest. We ordered our entrees and each couple got a Caesar salad to share. It was an extra $4 per salad which some reviewers had complained about. Not me. It was the best damn Caesar salad I've had in ages. The dressing clung to each and every leaf of lettuce and imparted a creamy, garlicky, parmesan cheesy flavor with every bite. I wanted to lick the plate. Biscuit Boy thought the Caesar salad at Ray's the Steaks was better but he surely ate his share of this one.
The other appetizer was the Sweet Ginger Calamari. Lightly battered and fried calamari served with a sweet chili ginger sauce. It was cooked to perfection. Each piece was as tender as could be. The dipping sauce was a little too sweet for my tastes but not bad even though I enjoyed the calamari all by itself.
Sweet Ginger Calamari - Biscuit rating - 5 biscuits Caesar Salad - Biscuit rating - me: 5 biscuits, Biscuit Boy - 4 biscuits Brother in-law's girlfriend got the Boursin Crusted Filet with a side of the mashed potatoes of the day. Forgive me if I've forgotten what they were seasoned with but they were tasty. The filet was melt in your mouth tender and very flavorful. A really nice dish.
Shortly after we finished our salads, the entrees arrived. I ordered the Cedar Plank Salmon. The somewhat slender cut of salmon came served on a little cedar shingle and as a side I chose the Jasmine rice. If the cedar is supposed to impart some flavor to the fish, I couldn't detect it although it tasted very fresh and was moist and flaky. It came with a little ramekin of a butter dill sauce that was nice for dipping. The rice was a bit clumpy but was flavored nicely. Over all the dish was good and cooked perfectly but the seasoning of the fish could have used a boost.
Cedar plank Salmon - Biscuit rating - 4 biscuits
Boursin crusted Filet - Biscuit rating - 4 biscuits
Brother in law got the fish of the day - Mahi Mahi which came with a side of the broccolini and jasmine rice. He also got an extra side of the mashed potatoes. Again I forgot how the mahi was prepared but that aside it was excellent. Hennen's really know how to cook their seafood. (Oh the tempation to make a joke about it's proximity to the aquarium is killing me but I'll be good)Mahi Mahi - Biscuit rating - 4 biscuits
Next up was a slab o' Prime Rib ordered by my father in-law. He commented that it was just ok but the kitchen should have trimmed it up a bit.
Prime Rib - Biscuit rating - 3 biscuits
Another filet was ordered by my mother in-law but this one was naked, no boursin crust for this bad boy. And like the other filet, it was tender, tasty and cooked just right. She chose the broccolini as her side dish.
Hennen's House Filet - 4 biscuits I ventured off my chocolate loving path and ordered the Caramel Mousse with Lace Cookie Napoleon. It was very rich and very yummy and there wasn't a bit left. The caramel mousse was light in texture and very creamy. The buttery, crunchy lace cookies accented it well and added a nice contrast to the texture of the mousse. Both the girlfriend and I agreed that this is a place to go for coffee and dessert.
Biscuit Boy ordered the Delmonico (Rib Eye) steak with the mashed potatoes. And like the prime rib, he said it was just ok. It had a rather large amount of fat in it even for a rib eye. Unfortunately, the picture didn't come out so you'll just have to use your imagination.Delmonico Steak - 3 biscuits
Then there was dessert. Only two of us were craving something sweet after the meal, me and the brother in-laws girlfriend. She was craving chocolate and got the Warm Chocolate Cake with white chocolate raspberry ice cream. It was a little on the small side but was hot, rich, creamy and very chocolaty The ice cream was so good with it and could have easily been a dessert all by itself.Warm Chocolate Cake - Biscuit rating - 4.5 biscuits
Caramel Mousse with Lace Cookie Napoleon - Biscuit rating - 4.5 biscuits
Overall we enjoyed the meal. The service was friendly and didn't feel rushed. The noise level was high but not to the point where you couldn't hear others at the table. Given our choices of places to eat in downtown Chattanooga, there are more affordable options to choose from (Our tab came to about $50 per person including tip). You go to Hennen's for the atmosphere and location; it's in a prime tourist area. Did I mention it was close to the aquarium? Could explain the fresh fish. (Sorry, I just couldn't stand it, the joke was begging to me to say it.) But seriously, if you go to Hennen's get the House Filet, Boursin Filet or any of the fish and you won't be disappointed.
Overall rating of Hennen's - 3.5 biscuits.
193 Chestnut Street (Chestnut and 2nd Street)
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Labels: Chattanooga, Restaurants