Going Publick with Harlan


Never made it to the Stamford location. Glad they made it to SoNo!

As a Norwalk native, the SoNo resurgence is one hell of a good sight. For a while there it was looking bleak but with all the new restaurants and bars, most offering a decent variety of cuisines, and the mainstays still present, South Norwalk is busy and bustling once again.
Our first review of one of the newbies starts right here, right now, with Harlan Publick!
With “Publick” there’s a lot to talk about, so buckle up for a breakdown!
The Space/Ambiance
Trust me, YOU WANT TO HANG OUT HERE.
Harlan’s industrial, clean look is up to standards of current trends in restaurants. I especially love the view of the kitchen that is very visible from the main dining area. There is a back room with more tables and a big enough bar to accommodate those who want a quick drink or snack. 
Located in the Ironworks building, you can’t miss the fountain.
The real star-part of the restaurant is the outdoor patio/lounge where you will find a plush couch & chairs, high tables to either stand up or sit at, a fireplace, and a cornhole set should you fancy a game.
Because I went twice in three days, I found the crowd to be a mix of all types of folks. The older, the yutes, young professionals (god, I hate that term), attractive staff, couples on dates, singles, preps rocking salmon shirts and Vineyard Vines anchor shorts, Cougars and Trouts. There’s something for everyone! 
In case you were wondering what a Trout is…
 The Booze
Impressive and part of the reason why I would stop by just for a quick drink.
On night one I tried the Bowery Blast; Buffalo Trace Bourbon, yellow chartreuse, fresh lemon. The bourbon packed enough punch to satisfy me but it had drinkability when combined with the sweetness of the chartreuse and was further cut with the lemon. I could drink a bunch of these. 

Night two involved a stronger drink and what is now one of my favorite drinks in the area. The 3 B’s (Jack Daniel’s Honey Bourbon, beer, Red Bee honeycomb) as you can imagine from those ingredients was a sip style cocktail. If you drink it fast you might be impaired after and you also might have a substance abuse problem. I liked the sweetness the honeycomb provided as it dissolved
Harlan also has 10 beers on tap including some seasonals, plenty of bottled brews, and a good enough wine selection.
Small Plates
Harlan truly rocked out the smalls, in fact, it was my favorite part of the meal experience.
I badly wanted to try the cheddar stuffed bratwurst and the charcuterie board. Both cruised past me and both looked great. I’ll save those for a future visit.
I decided on…
Bacon Tater Tots w/Bleu Cheese: They could have used a little more crunch and maybe a fancier dipping sauce other than what seemed like bottled ketchup, but overall they were deliciously gooey. 
Roasted Bone Marrow w/Oxtail Marmalade, Garlic Confit, Crostini: One of the better bone marrow dishes around. Harlan gives you plenty of oxtail marmalade and the addition of the garlic was a nice touch. I just wish restaurants would toss in an extra few pieces of crostini! There’s never enough, you know it, I know it. 
Berkshire Pork Barbacoa Tacos w/Cabbage Slaw, Aji Panca Sauce: Epic tacos. They were a bit messy but I like messy if messy equals good. Harlan did not skimp on packing these tacos with plenty of juicy, tender, well-seasoned pork. The slaw gave it some texture and the sauce had some spicy kick.
Small plates all day! You heard it here first.
Mains
After all the smalls, I had enough room to try a bigger plate. I thought about the famed Harlan Burger that people rave about but that’s a saver for a night when I’m all about a burger and a beer. Instead I went with the Grilled Kobe Flatiron Steak with chimichurri that came with new potato, mushrooms, spinach, and asparagus. 

The steak was perfection. It was cooked medium rare and was one of the more tender steaks I have ever eaten as a Kobe should be. But the more I ate the dish I noticed an overuse of garlic. Garlic in the chimichurri, garlic in the veggies. Half way through the dish it all started to taste the same.
Another dish sampled was the Wild Striped Bass that was not met with many complaints but we’re sure the sunchokes were missing. 

Dessert

I was full by this time but when that happens I typically order something light. Harlan did have a good choice in a bitter chocolate panna cotta that I really did like a lot. I’m not a fan of super sweet desserts and this did the trick. And while I thought it was plated a bit strange with the pool of cherry sauce and the mixture of Luxardo and maraschinos that did provide enough sweetness to round out the dish. Overall, the panna cotta itself was spot on. 
Final Thoughts
Even though I had a few issues, which is to be expected at a new restaurant, I still had a terrific time at Harlan Publick, both at dinner one night, and for drinks out in the lounge area a few days later.
I am also thrilled to see people back on the streets of South Norwalk having a good time and I can really see myself hanging out here often. I couldn’t think of a better place to be a part of the re-injection of life in SoNo than Harlan Publick.
Harlan Publick
@ The SoNo Ironworks
127 Washington Street
South Norwalk, CT 06854
(203) 831-0727
Harlan Publick on Facebook

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