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Dinner at Harper’s in Dobbs Ferry

During my cocktail “research,” [1] 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 [2]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:

Duck rillettes:

Duck Rillettes at Harper's in Dobbs Ferry [3]

Chunks of duck and lots of unctous, fatty, yumminess.

Chicken Liver Toast with Marsala Shallots and Walnuts:

Chicken Liver Toasts at Harper's in Dobbs Ferry [4]

Just as rich as you’d expect. We scooped up every bite.

A special, fried sweetbreads:

Crispy sweetbreads at Harper's in Dobbs Ferry [5]

Nutty, crispy and delicious.

Mushroom Toast with Melted gruyere, Marsala, Fried Egg

Mushroom Toast at Harper's in Dobbs Ferry [6]

You had me at egg.

More, after the jump.

Long Island Fluke, a special:

Long Island Fluke at Harper's in Dobbs Ferry [7]

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

Veal Agnolotti at Harper's in Dobbs Ferry [8]

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:

Brussels Sprouts Salad at Harper's in Dobbs Ferry [9]

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.

Pork Cheeks at Harper's in Dobbs Ferry [10]

So rich. The texture was fall-apart, too.

Lobster papardelle:

Lobster papardelle at Harper's in Dobbs Ferry [11]

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, unless you count Clark’s cocktails, but that’s just the kind of pretense I love). Just good friends, a comfortable atmosphere and great food and cocktails. What more can you ask for than that?

The 411 on Harper’s in Dobbs Ferry. [2]