Harold’s at Arlo SoHo–a Restaurant Review by Andrea Santo Felcone


A restaurant that sets its sights on trying to appeal to children as well as adults, in a sophisticated—yet playful—manner, might be a restaurant with an ambitious goal. Add to that, the desire to serve American Bistro food, of decent portion size, with seasonal menus … all of this might seem too much to attain. Yet, this is achieved rather artfully at Harold’s, the ground-floor restaurant at the Arlo SoHo hotel, named after chef Harold Moore. The Arlo SoHo is a modern boutique micro-hotel located at 231 Hudson Street, very near the Holland Tunnel.

Harold's Restaurant, Arlo Soho

Harold’s

A few steps into the Arlo SoHo and you’ll notice modern décor mixed with delightfully playful touches: a Dylan’s Mini Candy Bar greets you with its multi-colored bins of candy, rainbow-swirled lollipops–had my youngest been with me we wouldn’t have gotten much farther than that! The lobby is filled with carved-out spaces for guests to enjoy a coffee, a book, or their digital devices, in a modern atmosphere that doesn’t sacrifice comfort. That same intersection of style carries forth to the dining experience at Harold’s.

Upon arriving at Harold’s, my friend and I received a warm welcome from the staff (who continued to be very accommodating throughout our meal). The restaurant is very spacious (and not just by NYC standards) and would be ideal for large groups and family gatherings. Our waitress informed us that Harold’s is a popular location on the weekend after the kids’ soccer games. At first I feared the noise level would make conversation difficult, but we were ushered to a quiet table where we enjoyed a leisurely brunch.

Harold's Restaurant

Veggie Meatball Mozzarella, Children’s Menu

My friend and I decided we would order one item from the children’s menu to determine if our children would have enjoyed the food. The children’s menu offers some of what you find typically (chicken fingers and fries, fish fingers and fries), but also branches out a bit into selections like Bacon Mac n’ Cheese and Chicken Parmesan. We ordered the Veggie Meatball Mozzarella, and my friend’s assessment was that (although delicious) it was fairly heavy on the vegetables (which might not please a very picky child). There were several meatballs, and toast for dipping into the sauce. We both agreed the marinara sauce was exceptionally good—complex and rich tasting. The main thing to note, the children’s food is of the same high quality as the food on the regular menu (it has a fresh taste and a sophistication that is often lacking in food prepared for children). Our waitress informed us that when children want to order from the main brunch menu, they often order Harold’s buttermilk pancakes or their popular chicken and waffles, with honey hot sauce. (We spied the chicken and waffles at another table and it looked good.)

Harold's Restaurant

Vegetable Fricassee

As for our main courses, my friend ordered the Vegetable Fricassee ($19)—the perfect hearty comfort food for that day’s weather. Roasted vegetables (parsnips, carrots, squash, celery, mushrooms) atop two poached eggs nestled in creamy grits … all swimming in a mushroom-based sauce. (My friend shared a bit and while it wasn’t something I would have ordered, it was very good.) For my part, I’m still thinking about my Healthy Cobb Salad ($21/$27 with the addition of grilled salmon or chicken). It was a very satisfying meal that turned the typical Cobb on its head. This salad was an orderly arrangement of peppery avocado, hard-boiled egg, green goddess dressing (not overly dressed) on a bed of mixed greens (interesting varieties of very fresh greens), broccolini–all topped with fresh mint, pumpkin seeds and crispy farro. I would recommend if you order this dish, ask for the grilled salmon to top the salad—that was one of the best pieces of salmon I have had in recent memory. (I’m planning to recreate this salad at home.)

We kept to seltzer (it came with a playful striped straw) and coffee, but it is worth noting that the bar was expansive and at brunch it includes a “Make-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar”.

Harold's Restaurant

Healthy Cobb Salad with Salmon

For dessert, everyone receives a complimentary mini soft-serve ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles (a cute touch); but we decided we wanted to try something from the dessert menu. While there wasn’t a huge variety of desserts, the chocolate pudding with fresh whipped cream and sea salt hit the spot. The sea salt is key—it elevated the pudding, yet, pudding still has the power to instantly reduce one to happy childhood memories. (The pudding normally comes with candied pretzels—but my gluten-free diet restricted this, and the sea salt was a nice accommodation.)

The prices are NYC reasonable, perhaps a bit high for drinks (by NYC standards the drinks are on the high end of what is considered normal). Children’s menu items fall between $10 – $14, excluding drinks. Portion size was good overall. We both left feeling satisfied.

All in all, what struck me the most: Harold’s has found the “sweet spot” between pleasing children and adults alike. The food is approached in a playful manner that draws out the kid in all of us, while treating children with the sophistication that children deserve.

The Arlo SoHo is in walking distance of The Children’s Museum of the Arts, right next to the Holland Tunnel. To check out Harold’s menus, please visit: https://www.arlohotels.com/arlo-soho/eat-and-drink/harolds/

Harold's Restaurant

Chocolate Pudding with Sea Salt and Whipped Cream

Breakfast Buffet served 7am-10:30am

Lunch served 10:30am-4pm

Weekend Brunch served 10:30am-4pm

Dinner served 4pm-close

*Menus subject to seasonal changes.

Please Note: We were extended a press lunch by Harold’s, but our opinions are our own.

 

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