If their clam chowder is an indication, then Harrington's by the Bay serves good seafood- but since I went there for happy hour I can’t vouch for this. I was pulled in by their all day happy hour prices, a good idea for an expensive restaurant that I might otherwise never make it to. My first irritation was that the prices and menu online didn’t match the menu inside- not great business practice, since most new customers read up before visiting nowadays. Actually, it wasn't just an irritation as it is a peev. If you boast that you have a $5 bites happy hour menu and then you make it there specifically for that and realize it's a range of 5-8 dollar bites with only 4 of the 11 items actually being $5 it's a huge let down. I don't mind paying more money, but I specifically chose them to eat at for their online menu. They also didn't have some of the items they advertised such as the mushroom tempura and the nachos.
However, everything was ... hot? I would say they were relatively well prepared. The beef/ asparagus rolls with hollandaise sauce was tasty (needed a shake of both salt and pepper!) and the burger was cooked as I ordered- pink inside, though a little dry on the edges, but that may be what happens when you get a steak burger (filet, ribeye, and NY strip)? The clam chowder, while it didn’t surpass my favorite Red Coat Tavern in Royal Oak, had a sweet, slightly spicy and creamy profile. I'm just going to toss this out there... because I love fries... everything else was the Kelly Knowles to the Beyonce which were the fries. Nothing spectacular, but super crispy. They were a combination of a slimmer steak fry and the curly seasoned fry. Uh... yeah. How could that not be good?
All of the dishes made for a satisfactory lunch experience. Their biggest problem is how AWESOME and unique Traverse City is getting- there is so much great food of all kinds around, and at lower prices. Harrison’s by the Bay did a decent job, but definitely caters to a more established, “old school Traverse money” crowd. Not much there for TC hipsters or vacationing families there, though I don’t mean to sell it’s normal menu short since I haven’t had it yet. You can tell a lot about a place based on its happy hour, and Harrington's showed me decent food at a slightly higher price point than it needed to be.
Maybe I'll stop in to try some seafood, but I'm really looking for better than average and I'm not sure Harrington's can deliver.
Giving you a taste of what I taste. From gourmet to everyday. No pretentious bull - just good food.