Published November 09, 2012
The Hard Way
An American History Book in Restaurant Form
Today’s subject is Harding’s
. It’s in Flatiron. Just opened.
It’s the kind of
brass-sconced echo chamber
where vital mid-19th-century US treaties would have been signed. Then all the
signatories would have sat down to pan-roasted scallops and hanger steaks. Theirs wouldn’t have been
prepared by a former Acme chef. Yours will.
Options abound, so let’s do this in order of ambition...
If you want cocktails:
pull up one of those brocaded Georgian chairs near the entrance and
talk federalism or something. More than your conversation, it’s really important that you try the gin fizz
or the bourbon/apple-liqueur concoction.
Ah, so dinner’s what you’re after:
procure one of the white-lace-clothed tables.
Try the pumpkin
. It’s pumpkin pie soup. Play some I Spy. There are Civil War–era bullets lodged in the
walls (the design discussions got heated). There’s a 117-year-old woolen flag. Vintage front pages about
the moon landing are on the walls. There’s an early lingerie accessory somewhere. America, right?
You need more:
okay, reserve the Den. Reserve its century-and-a-half-old seating and
perpetually filled decanter of American whiskey. Bring a justice league or some kind of holiday-based band
of revelers. Because if you’ve got the Den, you’ve also got that mezzanine you were eyeing when you
walked into the place. That’ll be your
You just manifest destinied a restaurant.
32 E 21st St
New York, NY 10010