I really wanted to love Chez Henri. Really. It had so many things going for it. The restaurant is located at the base village in the shadow of Sugarbush mountain. We parked the car and could see the lights of the groomers getting the slopes ready for the next day. Crossing a very New-Englandy covered bridge, we heard the accordion music coming from the restaurant. Upon entering, we received a warm welcome from Henri himself, who promptly sat us at the best table in the house, next to the fireplace. Up to this point, we were having an amazing experience. We felt like we had been transported to the French Alps.
Our server was professional, but reserved. She demonstrated decent food knowledge, but when I asked for a wine suggestion, she did not answer with confidence. I asked for a full body wine with a lot of fruit, and the wine she brought over was light to medium body. She also did not know she should have decanted it as my wife got a mouthful of sediment at the bottom of her last glass. She poured the first glass, but the rest of the bottle was up to us to pour.
We asked about the bread piled up at the oven, and she said it was amazing. We could not wait! But wait we did. Finally when she brought out the appetizer, we asked about the bread. “Oh I am sorry, that was the busser’s job. I’ll get it right away”, was her response to our inquiry. The French onion soup was outstanding.
When our entrees came out, the duck I received was great (although it did not have the Brussel sprouts as the server described). My wife ordered a pasta dish with seafood, and the one scallop in the dish was raw. Not just a bit squishy in the center, but completely raw, inside and out. We flagged the busser down and let her know. She brought the dish into the kitchen and shortly after returned with the scallop cooked. Our server came over and asked how our meals were. We told her we had to send back a dinner, and she said, “I heard”. And then told us to enjoy our meals.
According to reviews here, the highlight of the meal is the desserts. We ordered a chocolate mousse cake off the dessert tray. The mousse was delicious: creamy and rich. There was a layer of cake on the bottom of the dessert the dryness of which suggested it might have been the actual slice off the dessert tray! My espresso was outstanding: rich, creamy, and very hot.
My biggest issue with our experience is the lack of response to obvious issues with service. Our dinner needed to be returned, we needed to ask for bread, our empty wine glasses were covered in sediment, and yet there was no communication from anyone who seemed to care that we were having a less-than-perfect experience.
To conclude, Chez Henri has some great potential. The personality of the place, the charming (albeit outdated) décor, the onion soup, and the location are all huge benefits. There was an older man, without a discernible roll in the restaurant who went through the dining room and took people’s pictures with their cameras. Very fun. So I really wanted to like Chez Henri’s, just like I wanted to like my neighbor’s big friendly golden retriever. But that dog kept pooping in my yard, and each time I stepped in his mess I liked him less. And for the price we paid at Chez Henri’s, we stepped in too many messes.
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