The Boston Phoenix
December 16 - 23, 1999

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Henry's Diner

The best little hash house in Allston

by Sarah Lariviere

Stretch your imagination: it's Sunday morning in Boston, and you're not waiting in line for two hours for breakfast, not paying $7.50 for scrambled eggs, not playing mix-and-match with exotic omelet ingredients. Instead, you're sliding into a diner booth, and a cup of fresh coffee is landing in front of you before you've even taken off your coat.

You can't accuse Henry's, a classic diner parked on Western Avenue in Lower Allston, of being a slave to fashion - the "breakfast specials," written in marker, have been hanging over the counter for at least five years. The smart choice to make is the combination breakfast ($5.95): French toast (sufficiently eggy and cinnamon-powdered) or pancakes (choice of fruit) with two eggs any style, a choice of ham, sausage, or bacon, and home fries. The pancakes, served with a smear of butter the size of a child's fist, are the true standout. Large, moist, and made with a little vanilla, they avoid the occasional diner snag of having meaty overtones. Corned-beef hash (we substituted for $1) is heavy on the potatoes, but perfect when mixed with eggs over-easy. The home fries are pleasantly inconsistent -- you can count on a generous dose of paprika, but on some days the potatoes are soft and spicy, on others crisp and oniony. Once they arrived not fully cooked; we mentioned this, and the waitress said, "That's just how they are today." Some things just need to be taken on their own terms.

Henry's Diner, located at 270 Western Avenue, in Allston, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Breakfast served all day. Call (617) 783-5844.

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