Hometown Tuesday: Center City District Restaurant Week

One of the best parts about living in a big city is the food. Just about anything I crave or want to try is just a few steps out my front door. Throughout the year, different sections of Philly host restaurant weeks to showcase the best bites in their neighborhood.

From January 13, 2019 to January 25, 2019 (yes, technically more than a week), restaurants all over the Center City District of Philadelphia offered $20 three-course lunch specials and $35 three-course dinner specials. One such restaurant was Harp & Crown where I chose to go this restaurant week.

Below, you’ll find more information about this decadent and delightfully over-the-top restaurant and my restaurant week experience there. Read ahead to learn more!

A Little Background on Harp & Crown

Harp & Crown is nestled right in the heart of Center City on Sansom Street between 15th and 16th Streets. This completely reimagined space was acquired and cultivated by the Schulson Collective. Michael and Nina Schulson, who also own several other wildly popular Philly eateries like Sampan and the Independence Beer Garden, have gone above and beyond to create a space that combines “old-world touches of charm and luxury with modern sensibility and functionality.”

Harp & Crown is a bit hard to find which honestly added to the magic for me — it had that secret speakeasy vibe to it. Once you get through the curtain beyond the front door, you’re greeted with insanely high ceilings, recessed mood lighting, and all kinds of nifty decor pieces. It’s comforting and invigorating at the same time.

My Restaurant Week Experience

I’ll start by saying that restaurant week at Harp & Crown is a steal because they stray far from the traditional three-course restaurant week setup. At this restaurant, you get a chef’s tasting meaning you get to pick six things to try instead of three. Now, the only mild hang-up that we had throughout the whole experience came to picking what we wanted.

That’s right — we. Harp & Crown runs on a family-style system (at least for restaurant week) meaning everyone in your party needs to pick the same thing for each course and you share. Thankfully, I surround myself with adventurous go-getters so it didn’t take us more than a minute or two to compromise. However, if you want to spend restaurant week with someone who’s a bit picky, Harp & Crown may not be the place for you.

The first conclusion I drew was that six “tastings” would mean extremely small portions and a still-hungry tummy at the end of the meal — I couldn’t have been more wrong. The portions were perfect and I was pleasantly  full — not stuffed — at the end of the meal.

The Courses We Chose for Restaurant Week

Salad – Heirloom Beet with pistachio, fromage blanc, and honey
Cold Plate – Seared Tuna with smoked mustard, leek, and nasturtium
Hot Plate – Garlic Prawns with white wine, paprika, and lemon
Pasta – “Rooster’s Comb Mac & Cheese” with parmesan, fontina, and toasted bread crumbs
Meat/Fish – Seared Salmon with roasted beet, sunchoke, and horseradish
Vegetables – Roasted Kabocha Squash with mint pesto, pomegranate

We tried a wide variety of different things including some things I’ve never tried before — hello kabocha squash! I can say with confidence that there wasn’t a single thing that I didn’t like. I’d eat it all again. My least favorite of the bunch, though, was probably the heirloom beet salad but only because I was promised pistachios and only ended up with one on my plate. Note to self: extra pistachios and extra dressing.

I’ve always loved mac and cheese, like could-eat-a-whole-family-portion-of-Stouffer’s kind of love. So, the Rooster’s Comb Mac & Cheese was obviously my favorite with the Seared Tuna coming in as a close second.

On top of the six scheduled courses that we had to choose, I ventured out and tried two of their house-made cocktails. My favorite of the two by far was The Gardener — a perfect mixture of tequila, rhum agricole, cucumber, lemon, and cracked pepper.

We also got a surprise dessert that I could’ve made room for any day. The chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache, salted caramel, and milk sorbet was the perfect end to a nearly perfect meal.

Overall Apricot Rating: 4.75 Apricots Out of 5

Harp & Crown truly has my heart. The ~ambiance~ of this place is enthralling but all-embracing. I’d be just as happy on a romantic date here as I was with three of my best pals on a random Thursday night out.

While the menu is a bit pricey, it’s worth it because you’re paying for an experience really rather than just a meal. And, I’ll say it again for good measure, the chef’s tasting is a steal. Explore what they have to offer with this tasting the first time you go so you can pick a favorite for when you come back the next time.

I’ll definitely be back soon to get myself some more of that Rooster’s Comb Mac & Cheese. *six heart-eye emojis*

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