Gather: Café Henrie
More than just a café André Saraiva’s new restaurant on Lower East Side is a gathering place for creativity. With ease Café Henrie brings people together for morning coffee and light bites. Here you might run into a couple of friends and end up chatting for hours over chef Camille Becerra’s vibrant, comforting yet good-for-you additions to the menu. While sometimes difficult to avoid the morning hustle, Café Henrie takes the Parisian approach to mornings, musing for hours, enjoying coffee over quality food with good company. In a city known for its fast pace and endless hustle, it’s a quite welcome relief to find a corner to slow down and connect to the energy that drew us here in the first place.
Pegboard walls and pops of cerulean, pink and mint set the tone for the gallery feel of the creative hub. Saraiva enlists his favorite artists such as Petra Collins, Tom Sachs and rotating local artists to help with the decor.
Camille Becerra can be credited for the surge of photos at the new spot with her colorful presentation of “healthful, unfussy New American”. If you are popping in for lunch, we suggest the Dragon Bowl Camille’s take on a classic macrobiotic meal. Her sauces are what keep us coming back for more. The artful direction of the beet tahini puree and carrot harissa yogurt are masterful in design and taste.
Now extending their menu to dinner (with the exception of Monday + Tuesday nights), we can’t wait to hang out at Café Henrie and eat all day. Camille, the beautiful and brilliant chef of the cool downtown hang shared with us her upcoming projects as well as how she is bringing healthier eating more into a daily focus.
When entertaining friends at home, what type of dish is the most satisfying for an intimate meal?
I like making a beautiful salad, a one pot main like; paella, posole or tagine. The sharing of one meal has a unifying quality for guests and it also allows time to make a dessert. A homemade dessert is always key for me unless there's a baker on the guest list (which usually makes them very happy to participate), otherwise I like guests to come stress-free...I batch out a welcoming cocktail and have guests bring wine (but definitely have wine at home on reserve), people love to hang and sit, talk for hours and sip wine. Always an amaro, I love Luxardo and a sipping tequila, always Casa Dragones.
Which ingredients do you feel are the most transformative?
Nigella seed and rose.
How would you say travel has influenced your career and style?
It opens my creativity, I'm very influenced by traditions from foreign lands.
Living in New York is fast paced and can be demanding. Where is your special place to rejuvenate and find inspiration?
Very early mornings at the market. Spa’s like Great Jones and Aire. Zen meditations at local zendos.
We love everything about your current residency at Cafe Henrie. Can you describe what a perfect day off would entail when you aren’t at the restaurant?
I love a day spent entirely at home, unfortunately months go by without this special treat.
Using food as energy and a sustainable way to get through the day is important in a bustling city. Is this part of your philosophy on the menu behind Café Henrie? How do you incorporate this into your day to day?
The lunch menu at Cafe Henrie is all about eating for health and sustenance. I'm very much about eating a big meal for lunch and light bites for dinner.
Where do you like to go for a bite to eat, a nice cocktail, coffee or tea?
I love Wildair, it's in my neighborhood, and fits my ideal meal of drinking great wine, sharing a few different dishes with friends, then walking home to digest all the goodness.
We heard you are preparing for a pop up in Paris, as well as working on a book! Can you share what’s next for you?
My friend and owner of Cafe Henrie, Andre Saraiva also owns two great hotels in Paris, Hotel Amour and Grand Hotel Amour, both really special places. We’ll be taking the Cafe Henrie lunch menu to Grand Hotel Amour for the month of June.
As for the book, I'm currently in development, the book is about food and cooking culture– things that inspire me to cook and create. It’s more about inciting one to cook and learn to cook through visual stories.