A menu is a magical piece of literature, as enthralling as any epic tale. Sure, there’s a familiar plot…appetizer, entree, dessert…but there are unique characters, such as lamb and mushroom risotto and red velvet twinkies. Then there’s the suspense of waiting, the thrill of watching the plate being brought to the table, the climax of the first bite, and finally the satisfying conclusion of the last delicious morsel. Now some stories end up to be tragedies, but the menu at Horne & Dekker ended in happily ever after.
Horne & Dekker is one of the many great restaurants on Henderson Avenue. It serves gourmet comfort food, or as they describe on their website, “the stuff your mom would cook–if she was a ninja.” I’ve had ninja-mom food, and they truly deliver on their promise.
Comfort really is their goal. As soon as we walked in, we noticed that it smelled like a warm and cozy campfire. Even though it was a Friday night, we were promptly seated at our table at a booth lined in red velvet. (It helps that we got there at 6:30, kind of early.) The waiter gave us each a little teacup of a light berry drink, which, he explained, the chef likes to serve to get the palate started. He told us the special, asked for questions, and left us to our menus.
I know I’m at a great restaurant when I literally become giddy as I begin reading the menu. I grin and squirm in my seat like a kid. My mind starts spinning with excitement, and I can barely read the words on the page. It’s like starting a novel you’ve been dying to read, and you know you’re going to love just from the first paragraph.
The waiter brought us fluffy biscuits and butter to start off. He placed the plate on personalized Horne & Dekker tin cans that served as a table centerpiece, pedestal, and advertisement for their happy hour and Sunday specials. I ordered a peach mojito first, which was refreshing. The peach and the mint were balanced perfectly. I picked lamb and risotto for my entree. I’m not a lamb connoisseur by any stretch, but it was tender, juicy, and delicious. The accompanying salad was crisp and tart, and the mushroom risotto was earthy and creamy.
For dessert, I had the whimsical red velvet twinkies, which they served with a carton of milk. It’s a kid dessert for grown-ups, and it perfectly represents the attitude of the restaurant: laid-back and light-hearted. It tasted like any standard red velvet cake, which isn’t by any means a bad thing. I definitely enjoyed it with my milk. I preferred the dessert of my dinner buddy, the Engineer. He ordered banana nut bread pudding, which came with a scoop of heavenly vanilla ice cream and little crumbles of what might have been toffee or some kind of brittle.
The service was attentive and unobtrusive. Our water glasses always stayed topped off, sometimes without us even noticing. The Engineer noticed that they were very careful not to reach across the table to fill glasses or get plates, opting instead to just go around the table. The chef even came around to our table to ask how things were.
We received a comment card with our checks to give our feedback and to my delight it was in the form of a mad-lib! You remember mad-libs, where they give you the story and you fill in with nouns, adjectives, and adverbs where indicated. With this one, you filled out information about the food, service, and your company in the form of a story. One part read something like, “I came here with my family/friend/date (circle one). They are (adjective)…” I couldn’t help but be amused at the thought of how many awkward situations that has probably caused and how much fun they must have reading these. My (friend) and I left the restaurant very satisfied with the conclusion of our meal. We drove off into the sunset, full and happy.