McGowan’s Menu: Traverse City’s Harrington’s By The Bay

This week on McGownan's Menu, John features Harrington's By the Bay, and they celebrate their 3rd anniversary this spring. 

The co-owner of Harrington's By the Bay calls his restaurant a steak and seafood house, and while that's true, their executive chef says he likes to use molecular gastronomy in creating many of the restaurant's offerings.  

John McGowan didn't know what that was either, but he found out, in this week's edition of McGowan's Menu.   
With seating for some 270, Harrington's By the Bay can get very busy, and it does especially in the summer tourist season.  Co-owner Glen Harrington likes  to check in with the diners at his restaurant, and he says they need to appeal to wide swath of people, to be successful. 
“You want to have enough diversity in your menu to where, if the gentleman wants a steak, you know, the lady can have a pasta, or a sandwich, something along those lines.  And a nice children's menu as well,” explains Glen.
Chef Joshua says, “some fresh herbs here, which are going to be basil, thyme and parsley, so we're gonna finish our topping.” 
Joshua Vinocur is the Executive Chef, and it was he who told us how he tries incorporate molecular gastronomy into many of the items on the Harrington's menu, including appetizers and desserts.  He offered some examples.
“I made strawberry, black pepper, and basil spaghetti the other day. I made peanut butter powder, that, the minute it hits your mouth, it goes back to its original state.  And so that can be incorporated into desserts.  You know I did some savory waffle cones, with some smoked salmon mousse and some cucumber lime foam.  People looked at it and they think, well this is going to be a sweet dish, when in fact, no, in fact it's quite savory, and probably not they're expecting. I ran that as an appetizer one night, and people didn't know what to make of it, but they liked it.”
We mentioned how busy Harrington's gets in the summer with its convenient M-22 location, as with virtually all Traverse City restaurants, tourists are essential to their success.
Glen says, “good value and execution is very important to those folks. If they're choosing your restaurant, they expect that you'll provide good value, and execute to their expectations.”  
“We're going to sit that in there, get a nice sear on those peppercorns,” explains Josh.  
Josh admits he's a steak guy, and so a lot goes into Harrington's signature filet mignon. 
“And it is done with some smoked bourbon peppercorns, aquad style. We're going to pan-roast it. Then we're going to make some truffled potato galette comfit.  Also to go with it, some sautéed asparagus, some zinfandel blackberry jus, and a little bit of caramelized shallot and bacon hash to finish it.”
And if you're in the mood for fish, Josh says come summer time, pecan crusted whitefish will be their biggest seller.
“We're going to dredge it in a little seasoned flour, and then we'll egg wash, bread it with some ground pecan, cinnamon, a little nutmeg, flash it off in the fryer, and then we're going to top it with, some cherry pinot noir butter, and a pinot noir syrup. Whitefish is certainly a staple, cherries are certainly part of this city's heritage, and so people generally tend to love it. 
Harrington's has a very complete selection of appetizers, salads and sandwiches, to appeal to virtually any taste.   Glen wants every visitor to have a good dining experience.
“We pride ourselves on our food, and our preparation, and presentation, and service.  And we hope that they find value and appreciate what we do, at least enough to come back,” says Glen.     
Harrington's By the Bay is located on M-22, just past the M-72 intersection, in Traverse City. They're open nightly until 10:00 PM, and 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM on Sunday.