accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Henry’s Louisiana Grill, Acworth

$$-$$$

$$-$$$

Acworth, Small Town USA, chosen for the filming of the recent remake of the movie “Footloose,” houses an unlikely celebrity: Louisiana native Henry Chandler.

Jenny-Turknett-Review

Review by Jenny Turknett

Chef Henry, as he is affectionately known by the locals, is the recent winner of the People’s Platelist Award, a contest held by ABC ’s “Nightline.”
This popularity award celebrates chefs with a distinctive approach and a loyal following. With his Southern twang, shaggy hair and brightly patterned chef’s pants, Chandler holds court at Henry’s Louisiana Grill. He works his dining room, pronounces first-timers “virgins” and bestows Mardi Gras beads upon all the ladies.

Henry’s re-creates the feel-good vibe of the Big Easy — clearly a draw for the regulars who crowd into church pew benches beneath Mardi Gras posters, drink Louisiana craft beer and strain to hear helpful advice from the eager waitstaff over the loud, excited din. They may also like the heavy, deep-fried and abundantly sauced food, but I’ll admit that it didn’t always translate into the best examples of Cajun dining for me.

Hush puppies (Photos by Becky Stein)

Hush puppies (Photos by Becky Stein)

While perusing the menu, I munch on ultrasweet cakelike corn bread, which a waiter confesses led to his 16-pound weight gain over two years. More to my taste are the hush puppies ($2.95) — fried to a crisp in a coating of Zatarain’s Fish Fry that leaves no trace of grease and masks the marginally gummy interior.
The menu reads like your corner Mexican restaurant’s with its endless combinations of the same few ingredients. Many of the house specialties, including the jambalaya, gumbo and étouffée (each $4.95 per cup, also available in entree portions), slap you with the expected Cajun-style heat. But they fall flat. Where’s any dimension beyond the forefront taste of spice?
Missing are the layered flavors needed to give these classics their soul-satisfying richness. Fortunately, I found them in the shrimp creole ($4.95 per cup). Stewed onions, garlic, celery and peppers enrich the tangy, acidic, tomato-based broth; the shrimp are firm and tender, with a nice initial snap. Chef Henry does know how to cook his seafood.

Ooh La La

Ooh La La

Henry’s signature dish is the “Ooh La La” — a seemingly hard-to-go-wrong-with mixture of flash-fried seafood, spinach and tasso ham. Alas, one extra component spoils the party. A Cajun cream sauce dominates the flavor, conquers the crispiness of the delicately fried seafood and sits like a lump in your belly. Ooh No No.
On a lighter note, the Bayou Cakes ($12.95-$17.95) exhibit a bit more finesse. They contain sizable chunks of shrimp and crawfish, use little filler and sport a gorgeous crisp breading. The spicy remoulade and creole sauces complement, rather than overwhelm, the seafood in this dish.
If you’re hoping to end the party on a high note, skip the “world famous” bread pudding ($3.95 per cup), which has a gluey, off-putting texture that gums your mouth. This mistake likely could have been avoided by first toasting the bread used in it.
Though Chef Henry may not deliver the finest representations of his home state’s cuisine, the experience is unmistakably Louisiana. So, if you’re in Acworth and are yearning for a night in the bayou, stop by and get your beads.

HENRY’S LOUISIANA GRILL
4835 N. Main St., Acworth, 770-966-1515
$$-$$$

$$-$$$

Food: Cajun
Service: Friendly and enthusiastic, knowledgeable about dishes, eager to make recommendations
Best dishes: Bayou Cakes, Henry’s Hush Puppies
Vegetarian selections: Sauteed Vegetable Penne Pasta, several salads
Price range: $$-$$$
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays; 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays
Children: Yes
Parking: On street or in community lot across the street
Reservations: Yes
Wheelchair access: Ramp put out upon request
Smoking: No
Noise level: Loud
Patio: No
Takeout: Yes
RatingsKey_3

157 comments Add your comment

Academic Socialite

October 22nd, 2010
9:17 am

Skip Henry’s and go to Gumbeaux’s in Douglasville. A great Louisiana experience!

CMD

October 22nd, 2010
9:20 am

Yeah Henry’s is not all of that. As a matter of fact, if you don’t live in Acworth, it’s a waste of gas money. We went this past weekend for brunch and the food was just not good at all.

Academic Socialite

October 22nd, 2010
9:27 am

CMD – we felt the same. We were terribly sorry that we wasted the gas to go to Henry’s when we could have gone straight to Gumbeaux’s! At Henry’s, my shrimp creole was a flavorless tomato sauce with shrimp that tasted as if they came right out of a can. We didn’t even try dessert. I simply don’t understand why anyone would part with their hard-earned cash to eat there.

Enough about Henry’s! I would like it to be a faint memory!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajcdinecritic, John Kessler. John Kessler said: Henry’s Louisiana Grill, Acworth http://bit.ly/bqnmzl [...]

Turknett is wrong

October 22nd, 2010
10:07 am

Ms. Turknett completely missed the mark on this review. Henry’s is a local favorite worthy of a drive. From the delicious cornbread, salads with a kick, an array of fulfilling entrees, and the can’t-miss bread pudding, you can’t go wrong. Chef Henry is dedicated to his customers and the community, just as he is to the quality of food and service. Be prepared to wait for a table because clearly Ms. Turknett’s opinion is just wrong.

Acworth Family

October 22nd, 2010
10:11 am

We live in Acworth and so have limited options within a short drive and Henry’s is one. We like it, but have learned what to order and what to avoid. The po’boys are good and good values. Specials are usually pretty good. Some of the “saucy” dishes need help. Service is usually very good and the place is lively.

In Acworth, it doesn’t usually get much better.

rod

October 22nd, 2010
10:40 am

Henrys might not be a 4 but it is a solid 2.5 to 3. I guess the damn place has to be on Buford Highway with a 70 health department rating or cost $400 per person for the AJC to rate it higher.

James

October 22nd, 2010
10:59 am

It’s a fun place to go just for the experience, and if I lived in Acworth I’d be happy it was there. But if you’re a fan of cajun cuisine, expect some disappointment (I’ll take my wife’s jambalaya anyday). As Acworth family said, you have to learn what to order and what to avoid. And I totally agree on the bread pudding – and that’s a dish that’s pretty hard to mess up!

Smirkin

October 22nd, 2010
11:17 am

I think that Acworth Family hit the nail on the head with the comment that “in Acworth it doesn’t get much better”

People were clamoring for more OTP coverage, and I think that it is great that the AJC is making more of an effort to include more OTP restaurants in their coverage. But y’all should be prepared for the OTP restaurants to be held to the same standards as all of the ITP spots. Just because it’s the best option in the neighborhood doesn’t meant it should be graded any more generously than a restaurant in a more competitive area.

@Turnkett is Wrong – no review will please everyone. It sounds like if Jenny had given this 3/4 stars, she would have had plenty of complaints that Henry’s was undeserving of such a strong review.

@rod- a little bitter aren’t we?

Becky

October 22nd, 2010
11:22 am

Those things don’t even look like hushpuppoes..So if those are any indication of the food that is served there, we won’t be trying it any time soon..The picture of the Ooh La La doesn’t make it look appealing at all..

Thanks Academic Socialite for the heads up on Gumbeaux in Douglasville..Do you know if there is a time to go that is kid friendly? They are 8 and do know how to behave in a restaurant, but I still like to consider other patrons..

Ex-Acworthian

October 22nd, 2010
11:34 am

I don’t ususally comment, but the reporter is waaaaaay off the mark. And how about don’t comment on something, folks, if you haven’t even tried it? Henry is an authentic Louisianian and it shows in his food. Are you hating his place cause you had to drive up 75 to get to it? Get your nose out of your own behind. There is good food in the burbs and this place is a gem.

Ex-Acworthian

October 22nd, 2010
11:38 am

Oh wait…I get it now. He won the ABC contest so he immediately draws hate from the snobs. Hilarious!

James

October 22nd, 2010
11:41 am

@Ex-Acworthian – I’d say she nailed the mark! Just proves you can’t please everyone, eh?

I agree that Henry is an authentic Lousianian, and it seems his loyal local following has as much or more to do with him as a person than his food. Nothing wrong with that! Just not the best place for your cajun food fix…

PJ

October 22nd, 2010
12:00 pm

I much prefer North of Nola in Roswell, not just because it is closer to me, but because of the quality of the food. I would deem it worthy of a drive for the spicy jambalaya or the redfish special. I agree that Henry’s doesn’t miss the mark on everything, but isn’t worth a trip outside the local area.

Dawgfan

October 22nd, 2010
12:09 pm

To each his/her own I suppose. I’ll continue visiting Henry’s as will all the other people who pack in there and wait over an hour on weekends to enjoy his fare. I’ve never had a bad meal there and love the atmosphere. Keep up the good work Henry!

connieS

October 22nd, 2010
12:29 pm

It is clear Henry is getting cheaper cuts of meat and ingredients then when he first opened. However, Waterstone Grill in Acworth is outstanding. We travel from Roswell to go there.

Who Dat?

October 22nd, 2010
12:32 pm

Henry’s is awesome! Jenny, please go back to Henry’s when crawfish are back in season and provide a follow up review. I suspect you’ll add a few more stars. Haters, please stay away.

PAB

October 22nd, 2010
12:34 pm

The cheese grits were apalling: I’m not even sure grits were present in that “creation” and I’m fairly sure cheese grits shouldn’t be pink. Everything else was mediocre at best. Very disappointed because my friends gave Henry’s such rave reviews.

Alpharetta Resident

October 22nd, 2010
12:37 pm

I’ve been driving from Alpharetta to Henry’s for many years. His dishes are always delicious. Take a look at the crowd waiting to be seated each weekeend. That speaks for itself.

Good Food Fan

October 22nd, 2010
12:37 pm

Ms Turknett has expressed a negative opinion but it was the AJC that named Henry’s Ooh La La as one of the best dishes to drive for just a couple of years ago! So I’d have to agree with the Ex-Acworthian – now that Chef Henry won ABC’s national contest, the snobs come out. Doesn’t change the fact that he’s a great chef pleasing the crowds day after day.

James

October 22nd, 2010
12:46 pm

@Good Food Fan – perhaps the quality of the dish has gone down since then? They could be using different or cheaper ingredients, have changed kitchen personnel, etc. I’ve tried it myself, and it is…uh..weird – it’s not a dish I’d drive for nowadays at least.

Fred Flintstone

October 22nd, 2010
12:52 pm

I think this is a case of the person overshadowing the food. The locals love Henry so they lessen their expectations of the food. Or maybe they’ve just never had really good cajun before, so they think this is good. I’ve talked to too many people who sat and waited to eat there on a Saturday night and were very disappointed in the food and the prices. Waiting an hour to eat a Po ‘Boy isn’t my idea of a great meal out either.

West Cobb Willie

October 22nd, 2010
1:12 pm

Jenny who ? She’s been there once, and it’s hit or miss ?
I guess she’s right, and all those who fill the joint are
off base. Somebody better tell Jenny that Henry packs heat…

Jim

October 22nd, 2010
1:25 pm

@Fred Flintstone – I think that’s what boils down to.

@West Cobb Willie – Come on it’s Acworth for pete’s sake. Where else they gonna go?!

We love Henry's!

October 22nd, 2010
1:25 pm

For a SOUTHERN GIRL, Jen does not extend much love to the locals! Just go wait in line about any night and you will find alot of happy well fed people coming from Henry’s. Great guy, fun atmosphere, a little too loud but overall a good night out. He doesn’t try to cater to the critics but does a great job of cajun comfort! 3 1/2 stars!

Louisiana Girl

October 22nd, 2010
1:25 pm

This former Louisiana resident absolutely loves Henry’s! My parents have often been disappointed by restaurants out of Louisiana that claim to be Cajun, but with Henry’s they found a hit! Every single experience there reminds us of the delicious Cajun cooking we’ve been missing for so long. This is Cajun food. If you don’t like Cajun food, don’t go to a Louisiana Grill. Just sayin’.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AroundAbout Acworth, Jenny Turknett. Jenny Turknett said: Review: Henry’s Louisiana Grill, Acworth http://t.co/aP6Eaw7 [...]

Zeus

October 22nd, 2010
1:27 pm

Fred Flintstone is on the money. Acworthians love Henry because he tries so hard to win them over. He’s a character. But that doesn’t mean his food is the best or even a good example of Cajun cuisine. For those who seldom venture out of north Cobb, however, Henry’s food seems like da bomb.

tommy

October 22nd, 2010
1:30 pm

Henrys is so bad there is always a two hour wait on the weekend. It is so bad people are lining the streets of Acworth to get in to eat. it is so bad before it came no was seen on the streets after dark. It is so bad Henry himself comes out side and gives away food to those standing in line. It is so bad you better call ahead or you butt will get splinters waiting. It is so bad … just stay home so I dont have to wait so long the next time I go ….. catch my drift!

James

October 22nd, 2010
1:30 pm

@We Love Henry’s – so because she’s Southern she should say she likes it? I’d rather folks give their honest opinion personally….

David

October 22nd, 2010
1:31 pm

While I am admittedly no connoisseur of Cajun food, Henry’s gumbo is downright heavenly, and for me, makes it worth the trip.

Louisiana Born

October 22nd, 2010
1:33 pm

Louisiana food should be flavorable not HOT! Po-Boys in Louisiana are all about the French Bread they are served on. Henry’s does what he knows. Justin Wilson was taught by his family a certain way and he probably cooked very different than Henry does but it’s still Louisiana food! Different parts of the state were taught different ways.
It’s all about taste and what you like!

OP

October 22nd, 2010
1:39 pm

Henry’s is a great place to eat, much better than Gumbeaux, so don’t let some of these readers tell you otherwise.

Ashley

October 22nd, 2010
1:40 pm

I completely disagree! I’ve only ever tried the chicken ooh la la, and it was delicious! The cream sauce is what makes it. Also, I’m not a bread pudding fan, but Chef Henry’s is the best! The caramel sauce is to die for.

And Henry’s Louisiana Grill beats Gumbeaux’s in Douglasville hands down, any day!

Ashley

October 22nd, 2010
1:46 pm

*I meant to say that his bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts, despite the fact that I don’t normally like bread pudding.

DavidA

October 22nd, 2010
1:48 pm

I’m not sure someone who grew on a “farm” in Tucker would even know anything about Cajun food. I have traveled all over Louisiana and Henry’s stands up to anything I ever had at Commander’s Palace or Ralph and Kakoos or any of those other Cajun bastions. If you left Henry’s unsatisfied it was your own fault because Henry will make it right including comping your meal if you are not satisfied. The reviewer missed the best part by not trying one of the daily specials. The catch of the day will match anything any Buckhead restaurant puts out. I’m not sure how the fried food can go from being heavy early in the article to delicate later on. Come on Jenny if you are going to do this job at least be consistent. BTW it’s hard to find anything that is worth a two or three hour wait so people set themselves up for being disappointed because they are so hungry and angry by the time they get a table. I think it is hilarious to think that all of those people line up just to hang out with Henry. I promise you people it’s the food that brings them back. Henry’s has thousands of REPEAT customers. And, one thing Henry will never do is scrimp on ingredients. So unless you are Henry’s food buyer you shouldn’t be insinuating that he would lower food quality. Bottom line: Henry’s is good food and a good time. If you don’t have both while you are there then tell Henry. He’ll make it right.

Jenny Turknett

October 22nd, 2010
1:49 pm

Love the discussion, guys!
@West Cobb Willie, just to clarify – when reviewing a restaurant, we always go at least twice. And typically, we will take people with us to order different dishes so that we can try a large number of the offerings.
@We Love Henry’s: It’s this wonderfully loyal following that earned Chef Henry his Platelist Award and that lends the restaurant its charm. We do like one star restaurants – they are worthy additions to the neighborhood. But the food can be hit or miss.
@Smirkin, you’re right. The standards and rating scale are the same for Inside and Outside the Perimeter.

skydog

October 22nd, 2010
1:51 pm

I just completed a 2 year job in cajon country, Port Author, Tx. and have visited and eaten in New Orleans many times.

Henrys is good.

I suspect Ms Turdnett has some sinister reason for the 1 rating. The verbage did not equate a 1 at all.
Girl if you whoofed down a whole order of Oh La La no wonder you had gas when you wrote your review! Get the 1/2 order next time.

I will skip all future reviews by the Food Goddess and just listen to my fellow Georgians.

Jim

October 22nd, 2010
2:02 pm

@skydog – not sure anyone could woof down a whole order of the Ooh La La – eek. And a 1 star rating means “a worthy addition to the neigborhood, but the food is hit and miss”. That’s exactly the impression I got from the review (and from the comments here, in fact!). Might brush up on them literacy skillz.

bhorsoft

October 22nd, 2010
2:19 pm

Disclaimer – I live in Acworth, but I only visit Henry’s occasionally. It is usually out of my price range for weekly visits. That said, I would quibble with the rating on this review. The one star means the food is inconsistent. I have found the food at Henry’s very consistent. That doesn’t mean I like all of it – I’m not a fan of the OhLaLa! either, but he does have a way with frying seafood that is superb. I’ve tried several of his dishes multiple times (including the OhLaLa! and I find them to be consistent from visit to visit, some consistently good and others consistently not so good.

When I compare this review to Kessler’s review of Daveo, I notice a lot of similarities – some of the dishes at Daveo are great, others not so much. However, Daveo gets two stars for consistency.

Me thinks the ratings need a bit more clarity. Is the AJC meaning that consistency means most of the dishes on the menu are good, or does it mean that the dishes are the same quality with each visit? Inquiring minds want to know.

Jon Watson

October 22nd, 2010
2:32 pm

@bhorsoft – To clarify on the star rating system– When we say “hit or miss” for the 1 star rating, it doesn’t mean that the food is inconsistent in the sense that the same dish fluxuates in quality. It means the some of the food on the menu is good, some isn’t. Based on your feedback that you like some of the food, and dislike some of it, it sounds like you would have to give this a 1 star review as well.

And there is some room for interpretation in the starred system as well. If I were to eat at a restaurant where the food that is “good” is actually fantastic, but there are some misses on the menu, I would probably lean towards a 2 star rating. If the “good” is just good, and isn’t particularly amazing, it would be a 1 star.

Smirkin

October 22nd, 2010
2:37 pm

@skydog- because she (and a high percentage of other commenters) didn’t LOVE the food, her motivations are sinister? Yeah, I’m sure she was really out to get Henry…what possible sinister reason could she have? Oh, and she is a 4th generation Atlantan. I think that would qualify her as a Georgian as well, wouldn’t you?

bhorsoft

October 22nd, 2010
2:42 pm

Thanks for the clarification, Jon. Actually, I probably would have given Henry’s 2 stars, because I do look for consistency between visits. There are other restaurants I go to that would get a 1 star from me. I like most of their dishes, but on some days the dish is excellent – flavors are perfect, presentation flawless, and preparation was spot on. On other days, the same dish might have an overabundance of a particular spice, mediocre presentation, and flawed preparation – too much oil, over cooked, etc. In some cases, I would prefer to visit a restaurant that has one or two outstanding dishes that are consistently prepared versus an restaurant the has many outstanding disthes, but that may not be all that outstanding on the night I visit. I look for the reviews to tell me what the reviewer thinks are the best dishes at a restaurant, and that I can rely on these dishes to be good on any given visit.

skydog

October 22nd, 2010
2:46 pm

Jim,
Did I have you for english class in 68?
A general rule in blogging is that if someone picks on your grammer or speeling……they don`t have a comeback for the discussion.

Jon Watson,
Say what? Sounds like the rating system for Dancing with the Stars.
If Henrys is a 1, where are the 2,3,4,& 5s?

Maybe you would be better at rating music.
Are the Allman Brothers a 4 or a 4.23?

Marietta Girl

October 22nd, 2010
2:53 pm

I have to agree with @ David A on all points. Henry’s is a staple of the Acworth community boasting excellent entrees, creative specials, and delicious dessert (worthy of being called “World Famous”)! Perhaps Ms. Turknett accidentally reviewed the wrong restaurant, because the Henry’s that I know is NOT the one described in her article.
I would gladly wait 2 hours for a table at Henry’s, not only because the atmosphere is enchanting and exciting but because the food is always AMAZING! Jenny, you were way off the mark on this one. Go back to Tucker and try some of “their” authentic Cajun cooking.
@James-one quick question: Do you have anything better to do with your time than continue to leave rude comments on an AJC website?

rod

October 22nd, 2010
2:55 pm

Smirkin, how to you get that I am bitter when i state if it aint on Buford Hwy it does not get a high rating? I have a great wife, two kids and have traveled the US and some travel outside of the United States. I have eaten at many great resturants in this town and others. I wake up everyday feeling blessed. I like the work of the critics on AJC but you must admit the reviews are always gaga over Buford Hwy. I guess we are all stupid on the northside of town to pack in this establishment.
PS I am 4th generation Atlanta also.

skydog

October 22nd, 2010
2:59 pm

Smirkin,
Something is bad wrong here. I don`t have a dog in this hunt and have eaten at Henrys maybe 6 times.
I have been working construction around the country for the last ten years, eating out every meal, every day. I get expenses so I don`t have to eat cheap.
A 1 using any rating system is total BS.
Sorry if I missed any commas Jim.

Bemused Observer

October 22nd, 2010
2:59 pm

A snarky blog, engendered by a snarky review. Jenny, you might want to dial it back just a notch—or two.

Smirkin

October 22nd, 2010
3:00 pm

@rod- the 4th generation comment was for Skydog. But congrats.

I made the bitter comment because the implication that it has to be expensive or on Buford highway for the AJC to like it is not only untrue it’s short sighted. It makes you sound jaded. And the implication that everything on Buford Highway (which clearly referred to ethnic restaurants) gets a 70 from the health department is simply ignorance, perhaps with a touch of bigotry.

Acworth Family

October 22nd, 2010
3:12 pm

Wow. People really get fired up about these things. Henry’s is pretty simple. Nice people running it who try pretty hard to please. I’ve always had fun there and the food (to me) ranges from really good – fried seafood and occassionally a special – to not so good – don’t like the jambalaya, never tried the ooh lala. Apps are usually pretty good, although I had a seafood taquito there once that was like a log, just terrible. One star sounds insulting but when you read the description it pretty much fits her opinion. I would give it higher on her scale but then I’m not qualified to write reviews.

We go because its close, they are very nice people, people are having a good time, and we know what we like to order. Its pretty good for families.