September 26, 2018
Henry at Life Hotel: A New Pan-African Concept Opens in NoMad
To confine the idea of “African” cuisine to the continent of Africa does a disservice to the term. As a byproduct of the slave trade, the tastes of the African diaspora have come to encompass distinct flavors across many lands, including Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the American South. Such is the inspiration behind rising chef JJ Johnson’s new pan-African concept restaurant, Henry, which opened at Life Hotel in NoMad in August.
For Johnson, whose initial claim to fame is as Executive Chef at Cecil in Harlem, Henry represents his first solo-driven concept restaurant. He has taken great effort to load the menu with a wide range of dishes reflective of many cultures but with African heritage at its core. The menu includes such dishes as tamarind jerk BBQ chicken, salmon noodles in African nectar broth, bone-in beef short rib, and collard green salad with adzuki beans, cucumbers, cashews and coconut dressing. A house specialty is the “Afropot” featuring King crab, mussels, prawns, clams, corn and Chinese pork sausage.
The African diaspora influence also extends into the restaurant’s cocktail menu, designed by mixologist Pam Wiznitzer (also the beverage director of the speakeasy Gibson + Luce in the hotel basement – named after Life illustrator Charles Dana Gibson and magazine magnate Henry Luce). Henry’s cocktails include ingredients like plantain and lemon (Wait Wait), coconut and Thai basil (Powell’s Delight) and peanut and blueberry (Whirlwind), among others.
Life Hotel (so named because it occupies the former headquarters of Life magazine) hopes the new concept will add to the rich texture of NoMad, attracting both locals and tourists to enjoy the creations of JJ Johnson. Henry at Life Hotel is located in the main floor lobby on West 31st Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.
Henry at Life Hotel
19 West 31st Street
New York, NY 10001
Monday-Saturday: 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Sunday: 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.