During my cocktail “research,” I couldn’t just sip drinks all night and not fortify myself! So a few friends and I shared a bunch of appetizers and a couple of entrees, too.
Harper’s chef-owner Chris Vergara says he thinks the creative cocktails Clark Moore is mixing behind the bar is a little too fussy for him — he prefers his food (and drink) straightforward, letting ingredients speak for themselves. That’s obvious from the dishes we tasted: all gutsy, made with seasonal ingredients and a nod toward modern flavors and combinations. We came away saying it was a perfect meal for a cold winter’s night. Here’s a look:
Chunks of duck and lots of unctous, fatty, yumminess.
Chicken Liver Toast with Marsala Shallots and Walnuts:
Just as rich as you’d expect. We scooped up every bite.
A special, fried sweetbreads:
Nutty, crispy and delicious.
Mushroom Toast with Melted gruyere, Marsala, Fried Egg
You had me at egg.
Long Island Fluke, a special:
After all that wintery food, it was nice to taste something clean and fresh. The texture was lovely.
Veal Agnolotti with Sage, Madeira and Parmigiano
A lot meatier than you’d think! The pasta, made moments before, was light, and made a wonderful wrapper for the flavorful veal. Sage helped cut the richness of the sweet butter and salty cheese.
Brussel Sprout Leaves with pancetta, poached egg, truffle:
Again, egg? Yes, please. And the bitter leaves and crispy pancetta were a great match. The truffle was not too much. I hate a heavy hand with truffle oil. This was just right.
Cider-braised pork cheeks with Brussels sprouts leaves, sunchoke puree and crispy pancetta.
So rich. The texture was fall-apart, too.
I always think of lobster as a summery dish, but it was so nice mixed with all these satisfying dishes.
Our evening at Harper’s was a lot of fun, and I can see why the restaurant has a big following of locals and regulars. There’s no pretense (well,g unless you count Clark’s cocktails, but that’s just the kind of pretense I love). Just good friends, a comfortable atmopshere and great food and cocktails. What more can you ask for than that?