Writing hasn't come easily for a while. You've seen that. But I'm still enjoying good food on a regular basis. For the past several weeks, it's been the new fall menu at Harry Browne's (and before that it's been their other seasonal menus since Chef Darren Poole took over). I live around the corner. I work next door. It could just be default. But it's not. Darren's creativity has turned this venerable institution into a fine dining destination. This joint should be a regular spot for everyone in Annapolis who thinks you have to go to DC or Baltimore for well-constructed menus.
In addition to this little Duck Confit over Warm White Bean Salad w/ Balsamic; I've rocked the N.Y. Strip over Langoustine Etouffe w/ Wild Rice. Ruby-red mid-rare strip over sweet, sweet langoustines and a earthy wild rice was a helluva way to enjoy a late night dinner after work.
Duck Breast w/ Duck Confit & Arugula Salad and Butternut Squash Gratin. Please. Stop reading. Go to Annapolis. Get this NOW. Ask if there's enough extra that you can have four portions to go. DO IT NOW!
Lobster & Shrimp over Creamy Saffron Risotto. A simple and elegant dish w/ clean flavors and every grain of rice as perfectly cooked as the crustacean-y goodness sitting on top of them.
The Veal Porterhouse is back w/ a Flintstones Bronto-Steak vengeance. And it's back with Gorgonzola Hash and Sauteed Broccolini.
I haven't managed the Scallops over Chorizo/Fingerling Hash or a Housemade Chorizo Ragu over Saffron Linguine w/ Manchego, Cilantro, and Grilled Crostini. I will...
I can even forgive Darren for pulling his ungodly perfectly cooked and eat-with-your-hands delicious rack of lamb. Have you seen lamb prices recently? Oh, and Darren can still pull a special out of his hat every once in a while (Hey, Darren...hint, hint).
Props to owner Rusty Romo for giving this Young Turk free rein to work his magic w/ the menu. Traditional Salmon "Werthman" named for the restaurant's original customer even gets an accompaniment makeover w/ the new menus each season. This time it's a fried rice cake with sauteed edamame and teryaki glaze.
And there's still the amazing and ubiquitous crabcake, and it's treated w/ the respect that dish should be in The Sailing Capital of the World.
Don't forget, too, that Harry's is one of the few spots around with a pastry chef. Last time I saw her, I told her I wanted to go swimming in a pool full of her Chocolate Pecan Tart w/ Espresso Ice Cream and Pumpkin Caramel. Really, I said it out loud. It was that good...