Bodega Henriette on Gerrard
Bodega Henriette is a combination restaurant, bar, cafe, and wholesome convenience store in the Upper Beaches. It’s owned by Nicole Cheung of Eulalie’s Corner Store, and takes up humble residence in a corner location where an Irish pub used to be.
Not only is this place a jack of all trades, it’s also open most hours of the day, from morning until 11 or 12, and they do brunch on weekends.
Due to the corner space everything is sort of on a slant in here, but it’s lovely and quirky and comfortable. Gigantic windows let light stream in.
Near the front door to the left of the cash is the bodega section with a good range of produce and pantry basics.
I never would have thought to make squash into a bruschetta but winter squash bruschetta on Thuet sourdough ($8) totally works, tender squash harmonizing with smoky grilled bread.
For lunch, they have sandwiches ready to go in their case, but also prepare them to order with fingerling fries at no extra cost.
This is the grilled rapini vegetable sandwich ($8), with chili garlic rapini, parmesan, pickled egg, red pepper jelly, and lemon aioli again on Thuet sourdough. The egg is a suitable light protein for the nicely garlicky vegetarian sammy.
For drinks we grab an espresso old fashioned: yes, you read that right, espresso in an old fashioned. They use all Barocco coffee here and the espresso is no exception. That’s along with some amaro verna and bourbon bitters, creating a nicely boozy but almost fudgy effect.
One of their dinner items is the albacore tuna ($17) which plays off a tuna hand roll. The albacore is wrapped in nori, breaded in panko and deep fried, served atop garlic rapini with avocado mousse, sriracha aioli, cucumber carrot slaw and puffed rice.
I like my tuna rolls spicy so I could have used more of that, but overall, an elegant, satisfying plate.
"An Apple a Day" keeps the doctor away so we do one of those, a very apple-y cocktail made with sloe gin, lemon juice, and apple brandy, garnished with a thin apple slice.
Bodega Henriette also does all their own baking in house, with the obvious exception of bread.
There are about five two-person tables and two four-person tables, but there’s also a large communal table in the back corner.
They have WiFi so this is a good little nook to hunker down and get some work done, then reward yourself with a relaxing cocktail or beer.