God bless America. For she's provided us with many gifts, like freedom, and capitalism, and restaurants. And at Harding's in the Flatiron District, you can celebrate all of those things at once, by eating short ribs. This truly is the land of opportunity.
We've visited Harding's a few times now, and each time we're a bit taken a back by the size and scale of this place. It's like a Planet Hollywood that's been dedicated to the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt, and seems to typically be about as crowded as you might imagine that idea would warrant. Let's just say that the restaurant is equipped to feed the entire population of the original thirteen colonies at once, and yet is in absolutely no danger of ever having to do so. There are just too many tables, and not enough demand.
Don't get us wrong. Harding's is by no means a bad restaurant. It's actually pretty solid, and they've got a good bar and a nice staff that make the place more appealing than the food probably would on it's own. But it's just too big of a room. There's no sense of intimacy, and there's so much space that heading to the bathroom from your table is like packing up and heading west on the Oregon Trail. There's no guarantee that you're going to make it back, and you're probably going to lose someone along the way. At least it won't be from starvation.
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A basic and decent crostini, with figs, goat cheese, and honey. Get it if you get down with figs.
Stuffed Padron Peppers
These peppers are stuffed with sausage and apples and apricots and other good things, and we liked the flavors. But they seemed scarce on the plate, served in little disc form. We would have preferred something a bit more substantial.
A little crudo is always nice, and this one's no exception. There's some green papaya in the mix, which we liked a lot.
Homemade Hand Cut Pasta
About as average as a plate of pasta can get. This papardelle with a mushroom ragu was fine, but that's about it.
The lobster roll is on Harding's lunch menu, and unless you're going to lose your sht if you don't get a lobster roll right this second (you have too much money), wait until you can go somewhere for a good one. There's a lemon aioli and pickled fennel on Harding's version that makes it way too acidic and funky.
I can't remember if that's the official name, but our server sold us hard on this turkey, gravy, and cranberry sandwich when we were here for lunch a while back. It was a big sloppy mess, and not in a good way.
A nice plate of short ribs, but I don't think it's possible to screw up a plate of short ribs. So we're not gonna get too excited on this one.