Entries in Harry's Steak (3)


Harry's Steak


I’ve written about Harry’s Steak twice now (here; here), and normally wouldn’t have thought there was any more worth saying about the place.

But the other night they were offering a special so unusual that I had to blog about it: a bone-in filet mignon. Filet is virtually always served off-the-bone, so I was sufficiently curious that I ordered it. Steaks cooked on the bone are usually more flavorful, and that certainly seemed true here. The combination wet–dry aging process left it with a cool mineral flavor. It was cooked with a nice char, to the requested medium-rare temperature.


Harry’s offers all of the usual steakhouse sides, but I ordered the Peas & Bacon ($8.50), which is a bit more offbeat. It was the kind of dish that could make me into a pea-lover (not an easy task), though I didn’t taste much of the bacon.

When the bill arrived, I was surprised to learn that the filet was $55. The other steaks at Harry’s, including their off-the-bone filet, are around the $40 mark (the going rate in Manhattan), and I had no reason to expect the filet would be any different. Most restaurants don’t recite the price of the specials unless you ask. But I do think they have an obligation to say something if one of the specials is significantly more expensive than the rest of their menu.

In multiple visits to Harry’s, I’ve never found it crowded. Servers are friendly and competent, but as noted here and on past occasions, they have a tendency to up-sell. However, for the pure steak lover, Harry’s gives the better places in town a run for their money.

Harry’s Steak (97 Pearl Street at Hanover Square, Financial District)

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


Harry's Steak

I visited Harry’s Steak last week, having dined at the companion Harry’s Café a couple of months ago. I went in with a steak on my mind, but the server talked me into other selections, and they were so good I just have to mention them.

Canadian bacon is common at New York steakhouses, but Harry’s version ($6.50), hickory smoked in-house, is served with the bone, and apple sauce on the side for dipping.  I’ve never seen bacon served that way, but as good as it was, I was only too happy to gnaw the bone clean after polishing off the bacon.

Most steakhouses have a crab cake appetizer, but here too Harry’s made it special. Their version ($15.75) was served in a shallow pool of shrimp bisque—again, a unique touch that shows an extremely thoughtful hand at work in the kitchen.

At another table, I heard a guy telling his companions that Harry’s is now his favorite steakhouse. As he put it, “You can go to Sparks, wait for an hour, and have a mediocre steak; or, you can come here, get seated immediately, and have an excellent one.”

Once again, the restaurant was not full. Both servers that came to my table were rather obviously “up-selling” me, but service was otherwise a happy experience. The steakhouse is in the former wine cellar, but it has been totally redone and is quite comfortable.

Harry’s Steak (97 Pearl Street at Hanover Square, Financial District)

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


Harry's CafĂ© 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.