The Henry is the second Fox Restaurant Concept I have been to in Phoenix, the first being Culinary Dropout. Fox Restaurant Concepts is a company run by Sam Fox, who creates and intimately develops each of their 19 total concepts, which are then implemented in 39 locations all over the United States. Fox Restaurant Concepts takes the franchise idea to the next level, creating a unique experience with each concept you try. The Henry is described as a neighbourhood hangout, where you can start your day with a hearty breakfast, grab a cup of coffee, hold a lunch meeting, meet friends for cocktails, and even enjoy a great dinner.
On my visit we went for dinner with a larger group of 6. The interor decor and overall vibe feels like a rich, cozy, men’s hangout. From the deep navy walls with various landscape paintings, to the large cushy furniture, and even the smokey aroma from the wood-fired rotisserie, the whole place oozes a comforting and tasteful masculinity that anyone can enjoy. I made the comment that if I could, I would decorate an entire home in that same fashion. The servers wear awesome uniforms of light pink button down shirts with navy knitted ties and a bicycle tie clip, reaffirming the level of detail Fox Restaurant Concepts focuses on in each concept they open.
The menu is pretty varied, and at times it is a bit unclear what exactly the general idea of the menu is, but we were informed by one member of our party (who, incidentally, is in charge of training all FRC staff to the theme of each concept) that the menu is a collection of items that none of the other chefs would keep on the menu at other concepts, so Sam Fox insisted all his favourites appear here.
We started our meal with three different appetizers – Warm Cheddar Popovers, Brie Toast, and the Grilled and Chilled Shrimp. I didn’t try the shrimp as I’m not a shellfish lover, but the brie toast was delicious, with roasted pear, brie, crushed hazelnut, and drizzled pomegranate molasses. The cheddar popovers were great as well (though to my stepmum Susan – yours are ALWAYS better), they came with a herb butter and a smoked ham butter to spread on the warm popovers. Of course I smeared both on my popovers, because….well, butter. That’s why.
For our mains, three of us – my mum, our friend who works for FRC, and myself, ordered the rotisserie chicken special which comes with two sides. I chose the cauliflower polenta and the mac and cheese. This is probably the most perfect roast chicken I’ve ever had, it’s perfectly smokey with a fantastic hit of lemon they put on as it roasts. The mac and cheese was definitely great as well, the cheese sauce could have been thicker, but the flavour was strong and they obviously used a good sharp cheddar. Personally I like a little more funk in my mac, which is why my recipe includes a cup of grated gruyere. The mac and cheese was topped with toasted panko bread crumbs, which added textural variety and a toasty depth of flavour. Some people don’t like toasted breadcrumbs on top of their mac, but they are fools. The cauliflower polenta was also delicious, if I hadn’t filled up on mac and cheese and the chicken, I probably could’ve just eaten an entire bowl of the polenta to myself.
For dessert, we ordered something which had caught our eye earlier that another table ordered. It turned out to be the Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake, and again, I certify this to be one of THE BEST things I’ve ever eaten. Warm, rich, and almost molten, the chocolate cake is baked inside a small mason jar, and topped with a melty chocolate ganache sauce that soaks into the cake, and a hit of vanilla creme more akin to homemade marshmallow, which is then toasted on top. Every bite gave me the food giggles.
If you’re in the Phoenix area and want to try out a Fox Restaurant Concept, The Henry is a great place to start. If I return to Culinary Dropout, I’ll add a post about them as well.
The Henry, 4455 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix Arizona 85018