Pubs and burgers naturally go hand in hand and for good reason. The problem is, most pub burgers, at least for me, are not very good. A cold beer and a warm fatty burger is a delight when executed properly, but the majority of pubs are more focused on the booze and less on the food. Harrys Bar in Brighton is an elevated version of a better bar serving food, at least in my neck of the woods. I’ve been to Harry’s on three separate ocassions, with pretty mixed results each time. At its peak, Harry’s serves an excellent burger, demographic notwithstanding, it has everything you’d look for in a classic burger. The lesser version is acceptable; sort of greasy, a little beefy but unspectacular. When it’s not great it’s an over-cooked, bland burger that supports the argument for the anti-Pub burger movement. (*movement pending) Of course that all speaks to the inconsistency of it all, not specifically Harry’s but burgers, and restaurants around town, are generally inconsistent. What separates the men from the boys is the ability to bring it every night, which is easier said than done, folks.
The Harry’s burger is a lot like other burgers around town, and for $8.50 it’s a straight-shooter with the usual cheese, lettuce, tomato and house sauce. The ability to add bacon, mushrooms and onions is available, and the bacon is thick and crispy on two of the ocassions, yet a greasy and chewy mess on one visit. The half-pound burger has the ability to be quite beefy, even though it’s never a perfect medium-rare, when it’s seasoned properly it takes the burger to a whole new level. But that should be obvious; those who don’t like salt are missing the point of it all, as salt brings out the natural flavors of food, not just burgers. It’s such a simple thing but the proof is in the pudding, or burger in this case. When the Harry’s burger is seasoned, it’s a winner, forget nailing the doneness, it’s moslty about the flavor. Although cooking the burger to the requested doneness is a badge of honor, and something that should be automatic, it doens’t tell the whole story. The fries are thick and fluffy, bringing to life the lost art of the steak fry, when done properly is as satisfying as any skinny fry out there. Harry’s does the fry well, with enough surface and interior salt to make them a winner. It’s mostly par for the course at Harry’s, not worthy of a destination, or a burger to go out of your way for, but at its apex, it’s the best example of a Pub burger out there, but on the average, it lies comfortbaly between good and good enough.
Overall Score: 82