Harding’s is an interesting space. When you first walk in, you’ll see a large, U-shaped bar in the center of the floor, flanked by two large columns. Behind that are round and square tables with white tablecloths, and then all the way in the back and upstairs is a little, private dining area. There are also rustic chandeliers, some exposed brick wall, and very high ceilings. All these details add up to something that I can’t quite place as one style (although “Americana” keeps coming to mind). The best way I can think to describe it is if “business casual” were applied to a restaurant, this would be it–slightly stylish but comfortable at the same time.
I’ve only ever been here during weekday afternoons, and they have a nice selection of lunch options. There are flatbreads like the Hudson Valley with tomatoes, kale, pine nuts, goat cheese, and a balsamic drizzle, salads like the Apple Farro Salad with mixed greens, kale, farro, green apple, aged cheddar, walnuts, and sherry vinaigrette, and sandwiches like the Short Rib with braised ribs, crispy pork belly, American cheese, sunny side egg, and au jus. The entrees are all around $10 to $20, which are comparable prices to other sit-down, lunch places in the area.
I ordered the Tuna Burger, which is Cajun-spiced seared ahi tuna on a challah bun with lemon aioli, pickled red onions, and arugula, and picked fries instead over salad (you get a choice when you order a sandwich or burger). Ready for some “Cindy logic”? Well, because I was getting a “healthier” burger option with fish rather than the house angus chuck and short rib blend I could’ve ordered, I decided that I deserved the fries…plus my burger already came with arugula, and I didn’t want to have even more of the same greens just on the side…and I just really wanted fries, okay! Why are fried potatoes SO good!
Harding’s does brunch from 11:30 AM to 3 PM, and if you come in the evening, their supper menu is a little fancier. There’s octopus and potato salad, veal and ricotta meatballs, wild mushroom and spinach risotto, filet mignon, lobster mac and cheese…Are you feeling the “business casual” vibe too?
But please don’t think you actually have to dress a certain way to eat here. Not at all! (Although wearing pants would probably be a good idea. 😉 ) It’s just my little analogy for a restaurant that could be described in many different ways. Come check out the place for yourself and let me know what you think? If nothing else, it seems like a great space for an event. Party on!
32 E 21st St
New York, NY 10010