Inside The Kitchen: The New York Restaurant in Harbor Springs

They call it fine dining in a comfortable setting, and with a view that can’t be topped. Welcome to The New York Restaurant in Harbor Springs.

In 1900 two brothers hailing from the big apple built the New York Hotel. It wasn’t until the 70’s that it became a restaurant, which leads us to current owner, Chef Matt Bulgara.

“In the mid 70’s a gentleman from the Detroit area bought it and converted it into what you see today and he ran it as The New York Restaurant.” Matt explained. “It went through a couple different owners then in 1990 it came up for sale and my family and I purchased it. The rest is history.”

The menu varies depending on the season, but a household staple is the New York Lamb Shank.

“And these are the front shanks, a little more tender, the more a muscle gets used, the tougher it is and so for some reason the front ankle doesn’t get as much use.”

They roast for an hour at 350 before stage two: a dousing of red wine, garlic, tomato and seasonings. It’s topped with onion, celery and carrot then sealed up and tucked back into the oven for six hours. They come out falling-off-the-bone tender and served with garlic whipped potatoes. You’ll definitely be saying shank you after this one. 

And for a sweet finish, the restaurant’s most popular dessert is their bumpy cake. 

“This is my grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe,” Chef Matt admits. It starts with mayonnaise, sugars, vanilla and egg. It’s all creamed together before cocoa powder and semi dark chocolate is melted and added to the mixture. The batter is divided into round cake pans and sent to the oven. 

Chef Matt gave us a tip, “you can tell when the cakes are done when the chocolate smell takes over the kitchen.”

The cakes are leveled, and then we get to the bumpy cream—made of butter, vanilla, powdered sugar and cream cheese. One by one, the four layers are lathered. And at the very top, Chef Matt scoops mounds of cream to create the decadent bumps. But wait, there’s more…

“This is our chocolate ganache, which is chocolate and heavy whipping cream melted together. And that gets poured over the top.”

The bumpy cake is sold by the slice or you can go big and take the entire thing home. 

“Our goal when we first bought the place was to improve one thing a day, and it took us about ten years to get it the way we wanted it but we think everything’s top quality and the way it should be.”