As you read in my earlier blog about Harry And Eddie’s, in Hinsdale, Illinois, on my first visit a couple months back, the food was Fabulous, yet the service missed the mark completely. Sadly, the second visit was very similar.
On my second visit to Harry and Eddie’s, I wanted to create a similar situation for fair comparison, so I choose to go at the same time and sit in the same seat as before. The bartender from the previous visit was apparently not there, so I was greeted by a bartender mentioned during my first visit. (She) greeted me with “Welcome Back!” which instantly led me to believe that this visit was going to be different and with much better service than the first experience. Unfortunately, this was not the case. While she crafted my cocktail, I selected appetizers not tried previously. Pei Mussels was my first selection and I was not disappointed. Fresh and plump sitting in a minimal broth that was flavored with cilantro and pieces of pork belly, the entire bowl topped with fries that were crisp and flavorful.
Some crusty bread to soak up the remainder of the broth would have been Fabulous, but unfortunately the bartender was no where to be found. Later when she returned, the bowl of leftover broth was cleared without an offer for more bread. The next item was a a bowl of Tomato Basil, and a bowl of French Onion soup (I like my soups). The Tomato Basil was good, although needed more seasoning to be rated as Fabulous. The consistency of the tomato was perfect, not to thick, not to creamy. I asked for freshly ground black pepper (why wasn’t if offered in the beginning?) hoping to spice up the Tomato Basil soup, it helped, although it continued to lack the balance of flavor.
The French Onion Soup – which was served classically served with a thick mound of melted cheese, slightly charred, was Fabulous from beginning to end. Everything was as expected from this classic soup, both in appearance with flavor, that was beyond Fabulous. The Onion Soup had the flavor of being been slow-cooked for hours, in house, by a chef who strived for excellence. It was Fabulous.
When I I asked about desserts the bartender presented the selections. I choose (2) separate desserts, Peanut Butter Pie, and Strawberry Shortcake. The first dessert – the Peanut Butter Pie was whimsically presented in an old fashion, bell-top jar. The serving was small in size although enjoyed immensely. All of the traditional elements in the traditional presentation, yet served deconstructed.
The second dessert was Strawberry Shortcake With Burrata for topping, in place of the traditional whipped cream. If you’ve read my previous blogs, you already know my love of cheese for dessert, so the combination of berries and Burrata was delicious. In addition to being a cheese lover, real whipped cream gets my attention faster than one can say Fabulous. Whenever I order any dessert, regardless of the venue and regardless of the menu, I always request the server to add extra whipped cream, especially to something such as strawberry shortcake. My request is always the same – “I LOVE Whipped Cream, so make me look for it.” I don’t mind paying more for what I want, just give me what I want when requested. In most cases, servers are always eager to comply (think larger tip).
The bartender/server had confirmed that she would ask the chef to add plenty of whipped cream to the Shortcake. Unfortunately as beautifully as it was presented, the dessert came with little to no whipped cream at all. There may have been a slight amount added, but due to the deconstruction of the Burrata, the whipped cream must have dissipated, or disappeared. Again, searching for my server to ask why there was no extra whipped cream on my dessert, soon had become more trouble than my time was worth. Nearing the end of the dessert, the bartender came over and asked “How’d you like the whipped cream?” (?!?) “It was made in house”. Apparently she never realized the additional whipped cream had never been added, even when she sat the dish in front of me?
The food at Harry And Eddie’s is both creative and delicious. However after two visits, you may have to settle for service that’s far from Fabulous. When dining out, as with everything else in life, people remember the experience and how you made them feel, long after the memory of the food.