Harper’s in Dobbs Ferry is hardly a hot new spot on the scene, but on a Tuesday night this charmingly bohemian restaurant played host to an solid crowd of date night couples, groups of ladies and some clear regulars.
Open since 2010 and owned by Chris Vergara (also of Saint George Bistro in Hastings and Meritage in Scarsdale), the menu is comforting, locally-inspired American. You know the sort: crispy pork belly, fall apart roast chicken, a supreme salad of Hudson Valley ingredients.
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I was happy to see that the menu for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week featured many of the popular dishes on the regular menu. Many participating restaurants play up the theme of the week each year, promoting dishes made from local ingredients. But Harper’s is like that all the time.
For appetizers, we had a fresh, sweet salad of Granny Smith apple slices, tender endive, sharp cheddar and a maple-cider vinaigrette. Tangy, crisp and a good showcase for simple ingredients. We shared the smoked trout rilletes, too. Another from the regular menu, the spreadable appetizer comes in a tiny mason jar and is served with buttery toasted bread and peppery horseradish.
Entrees were stick-to-your ribs and homey. The kind of food that I always crave when I’m snowed in. Two neat squares of pork belly, crisped and fatty, served alongside a dollop of pumpkin jam, creamy grits and a heap of Brussels sprouts leaves.
At the suggestion of our server, the roasted free-range chicken was a must-order (“It’s what I always get when I come in,” he reported). Fork tender and topped with cracked and flavor-loaded skin, the chicken comes with sweet red onions, esacrole and romesco.
Dessert, for all three in our group, was the chocolate chip bread pudding: handsome piece of cookie-meets-cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
Twinkling tea lights on each of the grainy wood tables gave a warm glow to the intimate room and bar, and a cool mirror next to my seat displayed a handwritten fall haiku. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said charmingly bohemian.
On a regular visit to Harper’s I’d order a cocktail— the resident mixologist, Clark Moore, is something of a craft cocktail prodigy — but every Tuesday wine bottles off the all-American list are half off, which is just the cherry topper to an already good Restaurant Week deal.
Harper’s Restaurant and Bar, 92 Main St., Dobbs Ferry, 914-693-2306, harpersonmain.com.