The August edition of the first year of Steakboyz in New York City took us to the fabled Harry’s Café & Steak in downtown Manhattan. Established in 1972, the restaurant takes up the basement of the historic India House building. Given its location, it is frequented by the Wall St types and competes with Delmonico’s, the oldest steakhouse in Manhattan, and the place Harry first plied his trade in the restaurant business before opening up his own more laidback version.
The restaurant space itself is a combination of old and new, and it was a little disappointing to see we were not seated out the back in the historic part. The scene around our table lacked the sort of vibrancy one might expect to see during a bull market. Having just enjoyed an aperitif at one of the bustling open air bars on neighboring Stone St, this was not a good sign.
And so perhaps unsurprisingly we got off on the wrong foot right from the get go with an array of appetizers that could be politely described as disappointing. This is the eighth review of NYC steakhouses so far for this young Steakboyz chapter, and it pains me to write Harry’s has gotten the award so far for worst sides. A more accurate assessment of them might be to say they weren’t worth squandering the stomach space one likes to reserve for a steak dinner. This part of the meal certainly underlines the word ‘Café’ in the restaurant’s name.
The sides for the steaks were a slight improvement, it was hard to fault how these were prepared or presented. The dishes were safe choices for a steakhouse but frankly unimaginative, and so a letdown for a group such as ours. One thing the restaurant did do well more importantly were the steaks. The house lays claim to aging their steaks on premises in a meat locker for 28 days. Five of the seven Steakboyz present ordered the bone-in rib eye and this cut was generally well received, a couple of the members rating this their best steak of the year so far.
This was some redemption on an otherwise decidedly average dining experience however. A word of advice to Harry, pay some more attention to the rest of the menu, definitely due for an upgrade. Until some changes are made here we will not be back, and I would be hard pressed to recommend it to any other steak aficionado. Maybe give Delmonico’s a try instead if you find yourself in the area.
Harry's Cafe & Steak
One Hanover Square
New York, NY 10004