Harry's Cafe & Steak - New York
Harry’s Café & Steak is the most recent incarnation of a series of well-known restaurants opened by the Poulakako family, serving some of the finest USDA prime beef in New York’s financial district. Though it’s evolved to meet the evolving tastes of the American public, Harry’s Café & Steak remains an institution and a great place for aged steak.
In 1972, a Greek immigrant named Harry Poulakako, after a stint at New York’s legendary Delmonico’s, opened a restaurant called Harry’s at Hanover Square. This restaurant, mentioned by Tom Wolfe in “Bonfire of the Vanities” and Bret Easton Ellis in “American Psycho,” was legendary for its ambiance and, of course, its food.
Poulakako ran Harry’s at Hanover Square until 2003, when he closed it after his wife of many years passed away; his son, Peter, renovated and reopened the restaurant in 2006, calling it Harry’s Café & Steak.
Changing with the times, Harry’s Café & Steak reflects increasingly more eclectic American tastes. The appetizers now include seafood tacos and short rib sliders, and there’s a good selection of seafood including grilled tuna and Atlantic salmon. But because this is New York and the financial district, there’s also a section of the menu devoted to USDA prime steak, dry aged in Harry’s meat locker for 28 days.
Frank Bruni praised the bone-in strip steak in the “New York Times,” saying that it “spoke to the timeless glories of aged prime beef, a sensible marinade (oil, garlic, paprika) and a high-temperature broiler, agent of a crucial char. Thick and juicy, the strip was the best of the steaks at Harry’s, though the porterhouse for two had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.”
Harry’s Café & Steak is divided into an informal café and a more sedate steakhouse. In response to the current enthusiasm for brunch, Harry’s Café & Steak is offering that nebulous mid-day option…and Bruni thought the house-made Canadian bacon served during that day-part was boffo.
Harry Poulakako is still at the restaurant, still working six days a week, now as a greeter; stop by and see what a lifetime of serving excellent food can do for a man.