A couple years ago we had a reservation at the Harrison and ended up canceling it. My folks were in town and for whatever reason, we decided to go with The Orchard instead. The good news is that we had an amazing meal and an incredible night. So I'm not saying we made a mistake. Not at all. But after dining at the Harrison last night for Steveo's birthday, I now know that either place would have yielded a truly memorable evening.

It had been a minute since we'd dined in Manhattan, so that alone was a fun change of pace. And when we eat in finer establishments, I feel like we tend toward more laid back environments that seem to dominate the Brooklyn fine dining scene (waiters with beards, wearing plaid, etc). I'm not saying the Harrison isn't laid back - it is. But something about the other diners and the general air of formality gave the joint a slightly more upscale feel.

Anyway, enough about the environment. It's the food that really matters, right?

And in that department, the Harrison over-delivered in nearly ever category.
We started with a wonderful petite syrah that was humorously listed on their "wines of the times" list. It was a discount list that had a whole host of bottles in the $29 to $39 range. Not necessarily bargain basement, but for this type of place, it was a much appreciated gesture. It was a great bottle and this got me even more excited about what was to come.

Starters were lovely in both presentation and taste. Meena had:

- house made gnocchi with braised oxtail and ricotta

Alec had:

- yellow split pea soup with duck confit and sage

Steve and Dan shared a lovely little shrimp appetizer and a crab salad special. Both were delicious.

Main courses were well thought out and cooked with precision. Meena had:

- horseradish crusted salmon with napa cabbage and turnips

Alec had:

- olive oil poached cod with blood orange, meyer lemon and sunflower sprouts
Steve also had the salmon and Dan had a chicken dish that was just perfect.

We also ordered a bowl of duck-fat fries to the table. I know it's a bit trendy to fry things in duck fat, but I mean ... it's that good. So who cares? Definitely try these if you ever make it here. Everyone else in the restaurant is so you probably should, too.

We couldn't stop while we were ahead so a couple of desserts found their way to the table as well. The table received the following:

- chocolate pretzel tart
- coconut birthday cake

In the end, for me, the pea soup and the cod were massive standouts. Pretty much everything exceeded all expectation. Meena's oxtail was good but not great ... but that was really about it. Dan and Steve seemed to order very well and ended up quite happy. Portions were unusually large for a Manhattan restaurant and I think we all left feeling gloriously stuffed with top notch food.

And honestly, what more could you possibly ask for from a birthday celebration with one of your very best friends?

Thank you, Dan and Steveo!

No comments: