When I heard that Harper's was going to be serving dinner, I had to check it out. My wife and I and another couple had enjoyed breakfast there on a number of occasions and we had eaten lunch there separately. All of us had high expectations for what owners Kathie and Paul Maurer might come up with for a dinner menu.
So the four of us set out on a culinary exploration adventure. We made reservations, which proved to be a good idea. Other diners were on adventures of their own.
We sat next to the window that opens onto Second Street — a spot that has become our favorite. After our cheerful waiter had provided us with water, we took a close look at the menu.
There were many interesting dishes to choose from that were several notches above the sandwiches, salads and soups served at lunch. The list of possibilities was enlarged by our waiter's description of the evening's specials.
We started with the salads. Three of us ordered house salads and one of us had a Tijuana Caesar salad for $5 each. A large- size version of each salad was available for $8. The house salad came with mixed organic greens with pine nuts, Asiago cheese and dried cranberries with choice of house-made dressing.
The house dressings included roasted red pepper vinaigrette, creamy Gorgonzola or raspberry vinaigrette. The Caesar was prepared with hearts of Romaine lettuce with traditional Caesar dressing, topped with house-made croutons and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
The $5 size salad proved to be just the right portion. The two men in our party needed more dressing with our salads. The two women were happy with the amount that came with theirs.
One of our companions ordered the special, fennel-brined pork loin with chicory slaw and roasted fingerling potatoes for $15.
His wife had the grilled Alaskan red snapper topped with spicy tomato eggplant sauce and micro greens for $15.
My wife had the Thai curry grilled seasonal vegetables over jasmine rice with red curry sauce for $12. She added tofu for $2 extra.
I had the wild Canadian Chinook salmon. It was served with grilled asparagus, roasted red potatoes and topped with whipped horseradish crème fraîche for $15.
The pork was a big hit. Imaginatively prepared and beautifully presented, it was quite flavorful.
The snapper was "fabulous." Our companion loved the slightly clove taste imparted to the fish and the fresh corn that was served with it.
The curry had wonderful vegetables and sauce, and there was plenty of tofu.
The consensus at our table was that we would have preferred the eggplant to be grilled more.
My salmon was very tasty. It was cooked through but was not dry. In fact, it was quite juicy. The grilled asparagus and red potatoes provided a perfect complement to the fish.
Our companions had a glass of wine with their meal for $5 and $5.50.
I had my favorite, an Arnold Palmer, which is half iced tea and half lemonade, for $2.95. I couldn't help myself — I was so surprised to see it listed right there on the menu. Usually I have to ask for it.
We finished the meal with a brownie with vanilla ice cream for $6 and a peach upside-down cake, also $6.
Both were tasty and the cake went well with the latte I still had room for at $4.89.
We all enjoyed our meals and were pleased to know that you can now have a delicious and creative breakfast, lunch and dinner all under one roof.
— Richard Moeschl