Delights are plentiful at Harryman House

MATTERS OF TASTE

May 09, 1991|By Mary Maushard

A restaurant review in yesterday's Accent Plus listed the telephone for Harryman House in Reistertown incorrectly. The number is 833-8850. The Evening Sun regrets the error.

Let me live in the house

By the side of the road

And be a freind to man.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

This wistful adage, a favorite of my mother-in-law's, recalls slower, friendlier, more gentle times.

So does The Harryman House, a restaurant opened in the '80s with a 200-year-old log cabin at its core. It is, quite literally, by the side of the road, hard by the side of Main Street in Reisterstown.

The warm feel and the delightful food are likely to leave diners friendlier toward their fellow men.

The Harryman House was the perfect place for dinner on a rainy Sunday. Sitting on the enclosed porch, my husband and I watched through rain-splattered windows as cars splashed into the twilight.

The Harryman House is really two cabins that have been linked and added onto over the centuries. All that was news to the present owners, who bought this structure several years ago intent on turning it into a roadside market. When they discovered that two log cabins were hidden by the interior walls, the owners brought the originals back to life and opened a restaurant.

The world's a better place for the discovery. Even more, the world's a better place because the people here are genuinely friendly.

That was apparent from the maitre d', who shared this brief but unhurried history of the place. And it continued with our waitress, who was pleasant, candid and efficient.

The menu held some pleasant discoveries too. I opted for the fixed-price dinner -- served daily from 5 to 6:30 p.m. -- which includes soup or salad, entree, dessert and coffee for $17.95. For $2 extra, I got a cup of Black Bean Soup; it was $2 well spent. The soup was certainly more beans than broth and was served with a side dish of chopped hard-cooked egg, red onion and sour cream with which to make the thick and delicious soup even more so.

My husband began with a bowl of Maryland Crab Soup ($3.50), which was above average, but not distinctive.

I chose the Caesar Salad that came with the fixed-price dinner; the dressing was a tad tangy but good. My husband enjoyed his Salad Nicoise ($3.75), a pretty arrangement of egg, olives, tomatoes, peppers, red onion and cucumbers on greens, dressed with a superb Dijon vinaigrette.

My husband chose one of the nightly specials, Lobster and Shrimp Sautee ($19.95). I selected Swordfish with Tomato-Lime Salsa (also on the fixed price menu were Chicken Florentine, scallops aL'Estragon and New York strip steak.)

My husband's selection was both beautiful and delicious. A square, handmade pastry shell held a lake of lobster and crab swimming in a creamy, buttery sauce. It was a sight to behold, and to eat.

My swordfish was the only disappointment of the evening. It wasn't the fish, which was tender and flavorful, but the sauce that I didn't care for. It was too sweet, not a characteristic I associate with salsa.

With our dinners, we were served a medley of zucchini, broccoli and carrots. I found the seasoning too peppery; my husband liked it.

The moderately priced wine list was beautifully presented, with locater maps and well-prepared descriptions of the selections.

With desserts, two drinks and wine, the bill was just more than $76. For such good food, served so pleasantly in attractive surroundings, that was fair.

Walking back into the rain, we felt happy to have discovered this lovely restaurant.

*** 1/2

Harryman House

Main St.

Reisterstown

833-3350

Hours: Lunch served Monday-Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday brunch, noon-4 p.m.; dinner served Monday-Wednesday, 5-9 p.m.; Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5-11 p.m.; Sunday, 4-9 p.m.

Reservations: recommended on weekends.

Credit cards: major credit cards accepted.

Handicapped access: accessible.

Smoking: no separate areas designated.

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