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Originally published Friday, December 26, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Stuff yourself with Harry's stuff

At Hamburger Harry's in sophisticated Ballard, plates overflow with endless fries and big burgers and chicken sandwiches come piled with condiments and garnishes. The main question will be how much to leave on the plate.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Hamburger Harry's

American

2409 N.W. Market St., Seattle

206-297-8000

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays;

11 a.m.-2 a.m. Fridays; 11 a.m.-midnight Saturdays.

Etc: Street parking; wheelchair accessible; full bar; major credit cards.

Prices: $

It seems that Ballard restaurant Hamburger Harry's has an identity crisis. Does it want to be Heart Attack Harry's, a retro-style diner where you sate cravings for stuffed burgers and fried cheese curds?

Or is it Highbrow Harry's, as implied by the logo with a guy in a tux cutting his burger with a fork and knife?

More than anything, Hamburger Harry's is a sports bar, an unexpected choice for a restaurant in sophisticated Ballard.

Plates overflow with endless fries, and big burgers come piled with condiments and garnishes. The main question will be how much to leave on the plate.

The menu: Appetizers are a tad pricey (jalapeño poppers are $9.99), but burgers and chicken sandwiches average about $10, which is reasonable unless you start adding on the cost of a gym membership. There are also four salads on the menu, but let's be honest, you're not going to Hamburger Harry's for greens.

An appetizer of fried cheese curds ($8.59) was average, with two creamy sides that tasted alternately horseradish-y and ranch-y. Or try classic sports-bar choices such as wings ($8.99) and stuffed potatoes called twice-bake cakes ($6.99). One burger that mixes beef and sausage is stuffed with mozzarella, then fried. Do you dare?

What to write home about: The deluxe ciabatta chicken ($10.29) had tender, flavorful chicken that held its ground against crisp bacon, a refreshing pico de gallo and smoked Gouda. Hand-cut fries are fresh and satisfying.

What to skip: A burger with blue cheese and caramelized onions ($9.99) was surprisingly bland, and putting the blue cheese in the burger's center buried the rich, cheesy bite.

The setting: A neon outdoor sign gives the impression the place will be retro fabulous, but walls are covered with pictures of sports stars and a sign advertises karaoke night on the huge flat-screen television in the middle of the room. A large bar, with six beers on tap, makes it feel sporty, and service is prompt and friendly.

Summing up: Hamburger Harry's does a reasonable job with its food for the price. An appetizer, two sandwiches and two beers added up to $47, including tip, and it was a lot more food than we could finish. In the grand scheme of Ballard, it doesn't quite fit in. But people looking for stuffed burgers probably won't care.

Nicole Tsong: 206-464-2150

or ntsong@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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