The dog days of summer in Brooklyn, New York call for many things; proper air conditioning, delicious eats, cold drinks + adult beverages, sun, and great company. What if you could get all of these things in one place, and if you live near the South Central region of BK, just with a quick trip on the train or by car? Yes, it is possible.
Indoor seating & bar
Located on 4th Avenue between President & Carroll Streets in Park Slope (or Gowanus, if you prefer), the bar-centric eatery is easily accessible from the Prospect Expressway and Union St. R-Train station. I attended the media preview earlier this month, and arrived cool and in style via Uber. I was working in Bushwick that day, so it was perfect that we had Uber codes for the event, or else it would have taken near an hour of commute time. To my surprise, I was the first guest to arrive (which never happens, in life) and because of this, I was treated to a nice little tour from Kayla, who handled all press for the event. I also bumped into one of my college friends, Erin, who works at the restaurant and created the indoor & outdoor stencil artwork for the establishment.
As it was a muggy day, and I tend to get flustered really quickly, I was immediately treated to a cocktail from mixologist Leon. More on cocktails later. I sipped on my cold beverage as I learned more about the owners, food & drink menu, former business in the space (vegetarian eatery Pickle Shack), and was able to meet the chef.
Walking through and arriving at the backyard, in which the restaurant is named, was a delight! Its simple design featuring wooden plank flooring, no nonsense tables, aluminum chairs, and rattan benches evoke summer vibes all year round. What about the colder months, you ask? They’ve got that covered, with a retractable roof/awning that will keep patrons warm and dry when the weather cools up again.
A key feature of the backyard, aside from its cool city oasis feel, is a full bar, with 18 lines of beer on tap. Sure to satisfy even the most discerned drinker!
Now, let’s get back to cocktails, as that is how I began my evening. Seen above is the full signature cocktail list for Henri’s Backyard. As I love glamour and excess (or whatever) I began my evening with the S.O.B. which along with bourbon and a mixed berry purée with citrus, was topped off with champagne. Throughout the evening, I ended up sampling all cocktails, but of course, there was one that stood out.
Backyard Boogie cocktail
Here we have the Backyard Boogie cocktail, a delicious concoction composed of rum (of course), Scotch Whisky, ginger, pineapple, and soda. To me, it tasted like a hybrid of a two of my favorite drinks, Dark & Stormy and a Mojito. The splash of pineapple solidified island vibes, and when it comes to cocktails, I prefer to feel like I am always on vacation.
Crudité platter with house made hummus & ranch
The cocktails were delicious and the food was just as delicious as there was so much attention to detail. Let me highlight some of my favorites for you. First up was the crudité platter, which is pretty common at a gathering, or on an appetizer menu. Henri’s version was a bit more special, offering cauliflower, pickles, red peppers, carrots, and radish, with house made black garlic-topped hummus along with house made ranch. Delicious.
Wild mushroom croquettes
Next up was the wild mushroom croquettes. Very important thing to know about me, I love mushrooms, and I love handheld fried foods. A great tip is to not eat these too fast because they were literally fresh out the fryer, but paired with the dipping sauce, it was a bite of fried earthy goodness. I can eat a TON of these.
Bacon wrapped beef hot dog topped with pico de gallo
For those that like to experiment culturally with their food, next up was a very special hot dog. Wrapped in bacon and topped with super fresh pico de gallo, this hot dog was the perfect marriage of all-American BBQ and Mexican realness. Just too good!
Corn on the Cob
Here is the part where I state my favorite, which hands down, was the corn on the cob. Being Belizean-American, corn is basically my middle name (next to Kay) because so much of Belize’s food is corn-based from the Yucatán. This little ear of corn on a stick was a flavor bomb! Reminiscent of Mexican street corn, Henri’s variation was grilled corn topped with roasted garlic mayo, aged cheese, and chili lime sea salt. I think I shed a tear of joy in my head and heart when I bit in because it was so delicious! I REALLY LOVE CORN, and this easily went straight to the top of my list.
You can view the entire menu below, including salads and dessert offerings.
I had an absolutely lovely time checking out, eating, and drinking at Henri’s Backyard. The hospitality was top notch, and everything was just delicious. Major points to the team for providing us with Ubers back home; it was only a 15-minute drive back home! I will definitely be back as it has opened to the public. You can catch me at the bar eating corn and croquettes, indulging in a crisp cocktail.
*All photos, unless marked, provided by Henri’s Backyard