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Harry's Café and Harry's Steak

Note: Click here for a more recent review of Harry’s Steak.

When I started working on Wall Street in 1989, Harry’s at Hanover Square was the quintessential “good ol’ boys” restaurant. Located at One Hanover Square in the landmarked India House, in the heart of the Financial District, it catered primarily to brokers and investment bankers. A big horseshoe-shaped bar dominated the space. It wasn’t known for its food.

Harry Poulakakos retired a few years ago. The space was carved up; two restaurants on Stone Street now occupy space that was formerly part of Harry’s. The main restaurant was closed for approximately 2½ years. Harry’s son gutted the place, and it has now re-opened as two separate but connected restaurants: Harry’s Café and Harry’s Steak. (Papa Harry is still associated with the place, as an advisor.)

The two technically have separate entrances: Harry’s Café at 1 Hanover Square, Harry’s Steak at the adjacent 97 Pearl Street. They are listed separately on Zagat and Menupages. But they have a common website, and apparently a common kitchen. The steak restaurant, which is smaller, is located in the former wine cellar of Harry’s at Hanover Square.

The steakhouse menu has pretty much the standard items and price structure that you would expect in Manhattan. The café menu has some of the steakhouse appetizers, but only one actual entree in common (the Dry Aged New York Strip on the bone, $41). The café’s entrees are more eclectic, with everything from lemon sole ($22) to “the original crackling pork shank” ($25), whatever that may be.

I was actually looking for the steakhouse, but wandered into the café instead. The staff advised that the café doesn’t normally offer the full steak menu, except on weekends, when the café is open but the steakhouse is not. But they let me order from the steak menu anyway. I chose the bone-in rib steak ($38.50). This was an enormous hunk of beef, possibly two inches thick before cooking. It was perfectly marbled and aged, and comparable to the two best ribeyes I’ve had in New York, at Strip House and Nebraska Beef.

At the café (but not the steakhouse), steaks come with fries and creamed spinach without any extra charge. There was no way I could finish all that food, but I noted that the spinach was excellent. The helping of fries was enormous and could easily have served several people. The bread service was above average.

Service was friendly and efficient. There was a bit of a delay in getting my steak out of the kitchen, and although I did not complain about it at all, they comped a glass of wine anyway. The décor is still in the burnished mahogany of the old Harry’s, but the space seems a bit more open and inviting.

The restaurant wasn’t full, but they have only opened recently, and are still building word-of-mouth. The clientele seemed to be a mix, rather than the pure Wall Street types you used to see in Harry’s at Hanover Square. The fact that the café is now open seven days a week speaks volumes to how the financial district has changed. Back in 1989, you could roll a bowling ball down Broad Street on a Saturday without striking anyone. It’s now a family neighborhood, with residential conversions on just about every block.

Harry’s Café (1 Hanover Square) and Harry’s Steak (97 Pearl Street), Financial District

Food: *½
Service: **
Ambiance: *
Overall: *½

It’s hard to judge by just one visit, but based on what I saw yesterday, Harry’s is doing an impressive job.

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