UPDATE as of 9/19/21: HENRY at Life Hotel has permanently closed.
It almost sounds like an insult to refer to an amazing dining establishment as a “hotel restaurant.” It doesn’t seem to do it justice. And depending on the hotel, it might make you think of poorly made coffee and day old danishes. I can guarantee that dining at HENRY at Life Hotel in New York City will make you embrace the idea of a hotel restaurant again.
As part of my recent stay at LIFE Hotel NYC, I took advantage of the Preferred Guest program which, among other things, gave me a $30 per day credit to use at the hotel restaurant. Honestly, I assumed it would save me the cost and inconvenience of having to grab breakfast on the way to the Javits Center but didn’t think much beyond that. And had I not had that credit, I probably wouldn’t have had the chance to experience some amazing dishes.
Afternoon Bar Seating
After meeting up with my roommate, Shannon, we decided we needed a drink and a snack before heading out for the evening. I had taken the train and she had taken the bus and we were both ready for something, even if it was just pizza and fries.
Well, we did order pizza and fries but not the type you’d expect.
Although Shannon insisted she didn’t like chickpeas, we agreed to try to Chickpea Frites layered with buffalo milk ricotta and calabrian chile honey. Unlike anything I’ve ever had, the texture was tender and delicious and the ricotta could have been served as a standalone!
We also ordered the Merguez Meatball pizza with chili roasted tomato and goat cheese. If you like a little spice with your pizza, you’ll find it with this one!
Breakfast at Henry
I don’t always need a big breakfast but knowing we were going to be walking around the Javits Center all day ensured that we stopped for breakfast at Henry every morning.
The afternoon and evening bar magically transforms into a walk-up breakfast counter. Order your food and drinks, pay for your meal, have a seat anywhere in the restaurant and they’ll bring it to you.
It looked like a straightforward menu with straightforward breakfast options (there was a more descriptive paper menu available on the counter). Little did I realize that these simple menu items would be transformed into culinary delights.
On day one, I opted for The California Sandwich described as egg white, roasted tomato, avocado, and sunflower sprouts. I especially appreciated the low carb option which allowed me to remove the bread and double the egg.
And can you see that teapot? Yes, they actually know how to serve a proper cup of tea!
We enjoyed breakfast so much that we went back for more on day two. This time, I opted for the Hearth Baked Egg White Souffle with baby spinach, foraged mushrooms, and parmesan. If heaven were made of eggs, it would taste like this. My Instagram followers were convinced this was some over-the-top baked good but it was just me sticking to my low carb eating!
Back for Lunch
On the last day before my departure for NYC, I invited my friend, Matt, to join me for lunch. I wanted to make sure I used my $30 credit and I just had to try a proper sitdown meal at Henry.
I was actually looking for a lighter meal and order the Delicata Squash “Cacio E Pepe” Spaghetti at the server’s suggestion.
At this point, you must be thinking I’m out of my mind. Pasta is NOT low-carb and this certainly wasn’t a light meal but I definitely enjoyed it. But don’t be fooled. The red pepper flakes lit my mouth on fire. It was fine, though, because when it came to drinks, Matt and I totally gave each other permission to have a daytime cocktail.
Wine and Cocktails
On the first night when we headed to the bar, we saw a gorgeous display of special syrups on the bar and knew that this must be a place for craft cocktails.
But because we were heading out, we wanted to stick to a simple glass of wine. As if wine can be simple.
I am by no means a wine snob but I know what I like and it’s not always readily available at the places I frequent. I adore a French Chardonnay so I was thrilled when I found not only one but three available on the menu.
After returning to the hotel each night, we could have easily made our way to the homey feel of the restaurant and bar in the small lobby area or we could have ventured downstairs to the unmarked speakeasy known as Gibson + Luce. It’s a nod to some of the artifacts found when renovating this Prohibition-era building. We’ll have to snake our way on our next visit to NYC.
If you haven’t heard of LIFE Hotel or want to learn more about it, we’d love for you to check out my hotel review for LIFE Hotel. But if you’re simply looking for culinary delights with a vintage feel, you’ll want to check out Henry at the LIFE Hotel.