Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Harry's Smokehouse Food Review

Harry's Classic Burger with House Made Fries

I'm not a "food court" kinda guy; so I was happy to find Harry's Smokehouse on the lower level of Pentagon City mall. A replacement for the horror that was Ruby Tuesday, Harry's offers a respite from the rigors of holiday shopping... and even skillet corn bread, assuming you have the time.

There's a lot to like about Harry's... especially the service. I asked the host for a quiet table (instead of the bar, where most of the singles were) and was given a nearby corner spot. Cool. Next up, Anthony... my extra friendly server, who was quick with a smile and plenty of cheerful banter. I placed an order for a Fresh Skillet Corn Bread starter ($3) with Diet Coke and a Harry's Classic Burger with house made french fries ($12.) Time? About 1:20 PM. 

Fresh Skillet Corn Bread (original)

My drink arrived, as well as a promise that my corn bread was soon to follow. I asked where the restrooms were (great bathrooms BTW) and came back to find my starter waiting for me. Terrific bread - nice corn flavor, crumbly and not too salty. A unique start, and one I'd love to have again.

The area around my table was fairly quiet; but the layout at Harry's is a bit deceiving. It's actually quite spacious, with lots of seats. Almost 25 minutes had elapsed since Anthony took my starter away, and I asked him to check on my entree. After all, how long does it take to cook a MEDIUM burger with fries? Quite a while, it turns out. That's when I met James, Harry's friendly (and professional) general manager.

James introduced himself, and almost immediately announced, "lunch is on me." Anthony had forgotten to press SEND on my order, and the kitchen had yet to prepare it. I was very impressed with the way James handled the situation: Who doesn't love a free lunch? A minute later, Anthony came by and apologized personally. Why can't other restaurants be this honest and responsible? Unfortunately, I had to wait another 20 minutes for my burger to finally arrive. If you have an hour for lunch... Well, you do the math.

As for my burger... It was hardly worth the wait. For starters, the bun was too light and soft: I could feel the meat as I held the burger. Flavor-wise, it was below par. No salt, pepper or seasoning of any kind. Fries were flimsy and badly needed salt (no salt or pepper shakers at the table.) If I had to fork over 12 bucks, I'd have been annoyed to no end. As it is, color me impressed with the friendliness & professionalism of the staff; and not so enamored with the food (save the corn bread.)

Atmosphere: B (Intimate nook inside a cavernous shopping mall. Very nice bathroom.)
Burger: C- (Disappointing bun. Burger was properly cooked; but zero flavor.)
Fries: C- (No seasoning and flimsy.)
Service: B (Super friendly. Big mistake, but handled well.)
Value: A- (It took forever, but free is free.)
Overall: C (I'm reluctant to return; but the staff owned up to their mistakes, and made me feel super welcome. Food = not so great.)