We love Hen of the Wood. We returned there on the 23rd while Sobo watched the girls. Hooray for Sobo!
Again, Hen of the Wood did not disappoint. No pork belly on this menu, but they did have Niman Ranch pork cheeks, which could not have been more meltingly tender. That was served with a mustard creme fraiche. We could not decide between the crispy fried oysters with tarragon aioli, lemon zest, horseradish and parsley or the hen of the woods mushrooms with Vermont bacon and grilled Red Hen Bread. We got the oysters, which were light and lemony and delightful. If I had to pick a favorite, though, it would be the pork cheeks.
For the entree, we had the short ribs, which are braised overnight, and was served with chard...and I can not remember the starch for the life of me. Oh, I think it was smashed potatoes. Doug and I ate half of everything and then switched plates and he had the first half of this. I was too mesmerized by the short ribs to really notice anything else. We also had the smoked Labelle Farms duck breast with local kohlrabi puree (now there is an underused and under appreciated vegetable, if there ever was one), Pete's Farm Lacinato kale, and blackberries. Now, the duck was great, but the star of this plate was the kale. It was cooked with shallots (I actually thought it was garlic, but the server said it was shallots) and it was just so flavorful and tender. I could have eaten a whole bowl of this kale. Lacinato is a great variety of kale...it is not very bitter and it is really easy to cook with.
We had the cheese plate again (I didn't write down the cheeses or grab a cheese menu, but it was delicious) and one dessert: a clean tasting lemon tart with caramel ice cream and candied hazelnuts.
I did grab the wine list this time, and we splurged and got this.
This was a big wine, with dark juicy fruits and just a real pleasure to drink. It went so well with everything. It even somehow went with the oysters (whew). This would also be satisfying to drink on its own, but it was just a star with the pork cheeks. It helped that the pork cheeks tasted like something deities would eat on Mount Olympus.