Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm Just Wild About Harry

Hal Christensen
Restaurant Review: 
Harry's Continental Kitchens
Longboat Key, Florida



As Judy Garland sang :

I am here to state
I'm here to relate
To explain
and make it plain:
I`m just wild about Harry...


Harry's Continental Kitchen's opened on Longboat Key in 1978 and numerous customers must agree because Harry's remains a wildly popular eatery. The restaurant corner buzzes as a beehive of activity with local residents, returning snowbirds and visitors to the Sarasota area.

Harry Christensen first opened Harry's Deli, then two years later added the restaurant located off Gulf of Mexico Drive, about mid-island. The thriving establishment is now managed by Hal, his handsome, body-guard built son. Hal became a hospitality major at Florida State University, then worked elsewhere after graduation, before returning to Longboat Key and the family business. That's a good thing for the family and hungry tourists to the upscale Florida isle. 

Hal manages to keep the tropical themed 75-seat dining room open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although not luxurious on the exterior, the inside exudes freshness, warmth and relaxation. You'll find a lovely little bar, laid-back island feel and fabulous food.  But, that's not all-- Harry's Market (across the street) sells gourmet take-out, Harry's Catering prepares parties for 8 to 400 guests and Harry's Corner Store sells whatever. You could say Harry has truly cornered the market. 

My group recently attended a dinner in the more sophisticated side dining room. I started with the fresh pear salad, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, glazed walnuts and spring greens drizzled with mango basil vinaigrette. Perfection. The other starters at my table were photo-worthy gorgeous: escargot with garlicky butter, sushi presented with decorative flair and purple orchids on most plates.  Lovely indeed with a deliciously French flair and consumed in their entirety. Clean plates awards mean happy diners.
Pear Salad with mango dressing
Afterward, I was treated to the catch of the day: Hog fish, a delicate white-flaky fish. Each bite just melted in my mouth; the taste was so smooth. It paired perfectly with a bottle of San Telmo Esencia Torrontes, a light white wine with hints of fruit. As if that wasn't enough, other group members and I shared a decadent hot fudge sundae for dessert, although the Key Lime pie sounded luscious.
Harry's Terrace Room

I was thrilled to return another day for breakfast. This time I was seated in the terrace room overlooking a lush verdant garden. Hal told me the kitchen is known for their German apple pancake, so I had to try one. The specialty is fluffy, with crepe-like goodness and the apple slices are just tender enough to retain their shape and flavor.  The pancake (order large or small ) is served with crimson Lingonberry sauce and maple syrup. What more could I want? Well...actually one egg over easy and a strip of bacon.



A German Apple Pancake, eggs and bacon

Others ordered the huevos rancheros, breakfast burritos, omelets and granola.  Before our plates arrived the most scrumptious pipping hot mini muffins appeared in a basket. These could easily become addictive.

Oh yes, I'm just wild about Harry's.

Harry's Continental Kitchen
525 Saint Judes Drive
Longboat Key, FL 34228
(941) 383-0777     


4 comments:

Myscha Theriault said...

Great one, Deb! Still trying to catch up on this end so I can get all of my story ideas written from Longboat Key. Harry's was absolutely amazing, I agree.

wandering educators said...

oh. i need to go there! it looks delicious - and i am all about supporting family businesses. thanks for the rec!

Dynamic Duo said...

It is the BEST! Their breakfasts are my favorite!!!

Arrows Sent Forth said...

I love a good breakfast spot! Looks delicious!