Review: Henry’s Hi-Life

9:55 PM Kari R. 3 Comments

Is Henry High On Life?

Yesterday, I decided to officially celebrate Mardi Gras by traveling to a local Louisiana kitchen in the South Bay – Poor House Bistro. Yet, it seems like my idea wasn’t that brilliant since after sipping one beer and waiting nearly 30 minutes, nobody left their table. I was stuck standing in the chilly California air watching one buzznebriated woman dance to the live band. My group and I then decided to venture away from the jazz music and make our way to the nearby BBQ restaurant, Henry's Hi-Life.

I've heard about how great HHL was from some of my friends and how it's way better than Sam’s BBQ or Armadillo Willy’s, but I decided to make the call for myself.

As we walked in, we were immediately greeted by the long bar where a lovely young waitress TOOK OUR ORDER, while we waited for our table. After only about 10 minutes, we made our way to a secluded table in the back where our side salads were ALREADY waiting for us.

Unfortunately, the salads weren’t anything special – simple bagged wet lettuce with pre-made dressing; but who the hell cares since we were here for the meat anyways. As we waited for our main course, we were given a basket of amazing garlic cheese bread that was grilled to perfection.

Then, the big kahuna – apparently nobody in my group wanted to venture out, so out came five, half orders, of baby back ribs.

I have to admit, I am not a rib person since I hate getting messy while I eat, not to mention I was wearing a white top. But, these ribs were exquisite. The baby backs were accompanied by a lovely baked potato on a simple plate that had no presentation.

But, despite the lack of presentation, the ribs were perfectly cooked. A “these are so succulent…” came from my neighbor – no joke, I had laugh a little since it was so random, but true. As usual, my table also requested extra BBQ sauce, which we all smothered over the perfectly cooked ribs, which I loved.

One thing I’ve noticed when cooking ribs, or any meat for that matter, is dilemma you are faced with when it comes to fat. You love it, but you hate it; keep it or trim it? Unless you are a professionally trained culinary genius, you are left wondering – if you keep the fat, you have a flavorful piece of meat that locks in the flavor, but you may be stuck with the nasty chewiness that will ruin any eating experience. HHL was able to delicately master the challenge of trimming the fat, yet keeping in the flavor and juiciness that most fat gives grilled meat.

You can tell HHL chefs have spent a majority of their time making sure these ribs were tenderized and grilled to perfection.

In between finishing a rib or two, I tried bites of my baked potato. Usually, I don’t care for baked potatoes since most people overcook them and they taste like cardboard. These, on the other hand, were pretty damn fantastic. Each were slightly slit open and topped with chopped green onions and cheese butter. I repeat: CHEESE BUTTER. Enough said, probably two of my favorite words. I don’t think that you can get much better than that (despite the fact you may get a clogged artery if you ate one everyday, but it would be worth it).

Henry’s Hi-Life – well Henry sure is living the high life if he’s eating this way. Overall, a lovely dining experience if you don’t mind being in the heart of a desolate downtown San Jose restaurant that is a paper-napkin-I-don’t-care-about-presentation-if-you-do-get-the-hell-out type of restaurant.

In my books, HHL gets a 4 out of 5. Missing one byte mostly because there wasn’t much thought given to the salad. But, it’s all relative, if you are going to HHL, chances are you don’t really give a shit about the green side.

Name: Henry’s Hi-Life
Address: 301 West St. John Street, San Jose, CA 95110
Pricing: On average $20 bucks a person (not including drinks and tip)
Byte Rating: 4 out of 5


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. These ribs are truly what dreams are made of. The meat practically falls off the bone and leaves you with pains of joy. Henry's High Life is one of SJ's hidden gems that bequeaths complete and utter satisfaction from start to finish.

  3. I have to agree with you. Being a true HHL fan the ribs are some of the best. I have to admit, I still love Sam's more but the ribs and bread are amazing at HHL!