Chances are, Manhattan’s Cafe Henrie started popping up in your Instagram feed earlier this year during downtown culinary wiz Camille Becerra‘s three month Chef Residency. Well, the ‘grams aren’t going to stop anytime soon: Becerra’s residency was extended, and the Lower East Side-Chinatown restaurant just expanded its hours and launched its first-ever dinner menu. Hashtag awesome.
The charming, pastel-hued cafe’s signature Dragon Bowls aren’t going anywhere, but there are new, equally delicious menu options, including onigiri (rice balls) with genre-bending fixings such as caper mayo, turmeric salmon, red pesto plum, and matcha wasabi.
No surprise that Cafe Henrie has garnered the buzz that it has, considering that is owned by Parisian graffiti artist and club owner Andre Saraiva (a guy who knows a thing or too about trend-setting). It’s a bright space with a cool-but-not-trying-hard vibe that the French pull off so masterfully. The initial collaboration with Becerra came about in a New York kind of way: “I was living across the street and this was my morning coffee hang, so I met [him] that way,” Becerra tells us. “Then we realized we had a lot of mutual friends, and we all became friends.” Eventually they talked about doing something together, and her pop-up (pop-in?) of sorts is the result.
The Dragon Bowls are Becerra’s take on a classic macrobiotic meal (see our cute infographic of one here). Grains, vegetables, and pickles are all in there, but she’s taken some liberties and added untraditional elements, and lots of flavor. “I was really excited about doing my take on a macro bowl, and how I would make it more current,” she says, pointing out her sauces as a cool way to do it.
The sauces, like carrot harissa yogurt and a beet tahini puree, come streaked across the bowl with a creative director’s flourish. Picture it splashed over vibrant greens, golden turmeric, purple radishes, and a magenta beet tahini sauce—and yes, you’re legitimately tasting the rainbow. Protein add-ons include a tea-poached chicken and lamb meatballs.
Or, in lieu of a sauce, you can opt for a cup of spicy bone broth: “When I was thinking about the sauces, and what would go, and about the time of year when it’s all pretty cold, I thought broth would be so nourishing and so warming, and it makes it different,” Becerra muses. “If you have the bowl with sauce, it’s like a grain bowl, but if you have it with the broth it becomes a soup. Or you can drink the broth in the mug that it comes in.” Either way, the results are yum.
You can understand why half the guests are snapping their food at the tables, and why the Dragon Bowls, at once comforting and good-for-you, are a hit.
Cafe Henrie, 110 Forsyth Street, New York, NY 10002, cafehenrie.com