Friday, January 27, 2012

Deconstructed Salad and Burger at John Harvard's

The first fellow Korean in the Class of 2014 that I met was Jim, who attended an international high school in Korea. We used to occasionally run into each other in Annenberg last year, but now that I am stuck in the quad, I rarely saw him at all this year. I wanted to treat him to a meal, so we decided to have a lunch at John Harvard's.
We started the meal with a bowl of New England Clam Chowder ($5.49). I was disappointed that the restaurant didn't have a bread bowl, but I guess that's more of a San Francisco thing?
We added a packet of "All Natural Oyster Crackers." The oyster crackers taste the best when they have sufficiently absorbed the clam chowder and taste soft in the mouth.
The clam chowder, as you can see, was quite thick! The pepper I added definitely enhanced the taste, but there is no need to add salt because it was already seasoned all right. The clam chowder had tiny pieces of clams--not big enough to impress me. Even though the soup was thick, it wasn't super creamy. Other chowders I had before had large chunks of potatoes, but I think this was a minimalist clam chowder in that it didn't have that many other ingredients.
Jim ordered the Steak House Burger ($12.99), one of John Harvard's All Natural Gourmet Burgers that is built on a Kaiser roll with beef steak tomato and crispy romaine on the side. It was accompanied by cedar spiced steak fries and a pickle spear.
Specifically, the Steak House Burger was a half pounder with Shedd's sauce (I'm not quite sure what that is...), Swiss cheese, and crispy fried onions.
Personally, this dish would be way too heavy for me. I am not a huge fan of burgers nor fried food. I liked that the burger wasn't served on a lame sesame seed bun, but on a Kaiser roll. Also, what makes John Harvard's All Natural Gourmet Burgers different from other burgers, according to the menu, is that these burgers are all natural, using humanely raised, hormone, steroid, and antibiotic free cows.
I usually order the special when I come to John Harvard's, but the day's special was pork chop. I decided to go with the Steak Tip Salad ($13.99).
To be honest, I was quite surprised when the waitress brought the dish. I had expected it to be a regular plate of salad with pieces of sliced steak on top. What I got instead, however, was a deconstructed salad.
The dish had an odd presentation...something just made it look incomplete. There were two skewers of ranch spiced steak tips over crisp wedge of iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and waffle fries. I skipped the crumbled blue cheese and had the red wine vinaigrette on the side.
I didn't know where to start with this dish. I just grabbed one of the skewers and got a taste of the steak tip. The tenderness of the meat was not constant throughout. There were some pieces that were moist and juicy, while other parts were dry and slightly tough.
I certainly didn't expect an actual half of iceberg lettuce to be a part of the menu! Also, instead of tomato wedges, I got tomato slices.
I asked the steak to be cooked rare, but it was more medium rare.
It would have been much tender had it been cooked rare! Oerall, though, I was quite satisfied with the salad...that is, if we could even call it a salad! I felt like I was just eating salad with some vegetables on the side.
John Harvard's Brew House on Urbanspoon

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