Restaurant Review: Harbor Grill

I grew up near Buffalo so I know from chicken wings. I guess it would be pejorative to say that I grew up in bars (Hi, Mom!), but I…really know from bar food in general.

I took my family to Harbor Grill on Three Mile Harbor Road in East Hampton last Thursday night. We ate it up. Open every day for dinner from 4 p.m., it’s clean, convenient and the staff is really welcoming. Plus the menu passes the foremost tests for a bar slash family eatery—they have BIRCH BEER on the menu and the food is not overly salty. Husband, Teenage Boy and I found much to our liking here. [expand]

Since it opened last year, Harbor Grill has made a point of being affordable and family-friendly. Thank you! There’s even a Kiddie Menu offering chicken, pasta, pizza, fish and Maddie’s Marvelous Mozzarella Shots. A family with three boys sat down at the table next to us. Those three boys ordered three American cheeseburgers. Worked for them and they were out in no time.

We lingered and tried quite a bit from Harbor Grill’s menu. Everything is available for take-out and there’s a special if you’re sitting at the bar—Beer and Burger at the Bar $10! Why would you ever leave the bar, you ask? Here’s why:

Harbor Grill’s finger food is finger-lickin’ good. We started with multiple starters. Teenage Boy was particularly taken with the Crispy Corn Fritters. The accompanying Horseradish Sour Cream had some sweetness to it that apparently put him over the edge. He was also very taken with the Gravy-Cheese Fries. The Mushroom Pan Gravy and Melted Mozzarella worked for him. I needed to throw some HG Steak Sauce over it to make it trip my poutine pleasure trigger. The Baked Stuffed Clams are worthwhile comfort food. The Mongolian BBQ Chicken Wings were good and worked well dipped in a Ranch sauce. My fave appetizer was the Buffalo-Style Boneless Chicken Nuggs. I’m usually a strict purest when it comes to wings. Described as “Crispy Chicken Breast, Celery Sticks, Chunky Bleu Cheese,” they get the main thing right—the sauce. It’s not terribly hot, but it is authentic. How they get the skin wrapped neatly around each one is a mystery wrapped in a riddle, but who has time to contemplate such things when there’s nugg-stuffin’ to be done? I ate the last of them but insisted on keeping the leftover bleu cheese dressing at my side—it was really chunky and really good. Our server, Jessica, was understanding.

Teenage Boy ordered a Crispy Fish “Po Boy.” He was only able to issue one word of description while devouring it, “yummygood.” Husband ordered the BLT Burger with Thousand Island dressing, medium well, as he quaffed the house white, an Italian Pinot Grigio. He found his burger “good, juicy and nicely charred.” All of Harbor Grill’s burgers are made from local, fresh ground beef. Chicken can be substituted for the beef. Harbor Grill’s coleslaw is the good kind, homemade milky comfort.

I was tempted by the Shrimp Scampi, but I ordered a “Veggie Black Bean Burger Dude!” Its Chipotle Mayo lent a welcome smoky note and its cucumber slices balanced all. There was no need for bleu cheese dressing here—but there were a whole lot of onion rings nearby…and what onion rings! Substantial. The beer in their batter lent a slight sweet to the savory, dipped in bleu cheese…perfection! I could not do justice to my side of Sweet Potater Tots – though they were a fine preparation of sweet potatoness.

We were all too stuffed for dessert, but not one of us can resist a “Thick Shake.” So we ordered a Vanilla Thick Share and shared. It was thick, but drinkable and it really hit the spot. (The very small spot left inside.)

Harbor Grill will soon add some outdoor seating. Live music is in the works, in fact rumor has it that my favorite Hamptons party band, Suzie on the Rocks, may make an appearance. I’d definitely go back for that with a side of onion rings, a burger and a shake, maybe a Southampton Publick House I.P.A., some carrot cake, ooh, and I should definitely try their Grill Garlic Hero next time! See you there.


Harbor Grill, 367 Three Mile Harbor Road, East Hampton. 631-604-5290. Executive Chef Damien O’Donnell. And O’Donnell’s other establishment: Harbor Bistro, 313 Three Mile Harbor Road, East Hampton, 631-324-7300, See review on page 53

Check out all the freshest food and food ideas on the East End at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks on July 16. Feature story on page 40. [/expand]


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