Food & Drink » Food Review

Harry's Parkcenter Grill

404 E. Parkcenter Blvd., 208-424-8211, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., everyday


My first thought walking into Harry's on Parkcenter was, "Thank God, air conditioning!" The walls at Harry's Parkcenter Grill are plastered with posters of movies with the name "Harry" in them: Dirty Harry, When Harry Met Sally, The Trouble with Harry. It's all so clever and Harry's really is a lot of fun. Not only do they have a great selection of beer on tap—from Bud Light to Guinness—but there's a pool table and four televisions, including a big screen. You can play pool, drink a beer, eat a huge burger and watch the Broncos and Everybody Loves Raymond at the same time.

Back in the day, I used to frequent the North End and Hyde Park, so the food at Harry's isn't a big surprise to me. It's a colorful twist on standard barroom fare—burgers, sandwiches, salads and a plethora a fried delights. And since I'd never seen a restaurant offer straight-up fried jalapeno strips, I went with the Texas Toothpicks, a mix of fried jalapeno and onion strips served with ranch dip ($5.29). Definitely delicious. As I munched away, I struggled over my entree options. With so many mouth-watering items, it was hard to choose. Should I go with a burger? The bacon-cajun ranch burger sounded wonderful. Or maybe a barbecue roast beef sandwich? Or maybe go a more health-conscious route and order a taco salad which comes in one of those great edible taco bowls that I knew would be good (I love it when I can eat my dishes). But while I was deciding, a great blues tune played over the house speakers (which, by the way, was the caboose on a long train of great songs I heard during my visit), so I decided to go with the Elwood Blues ($7.29). It's a spicy grilled chicken sandwich that apparently came out of the Tabasco cookbook. It was not short on the spice. My mouth was on fire. Luckily, I love that feeling. And I was pleasantly surprised to detect other flavors in the mix. I tasted a little bit of tang and just a hint of sweetness. Clearly, there is a higher level of complexity in the Harry's recipe book than in an average bar and grill spot.

Knowing that food is only half the experience, I gave Harry's a true test in customer service. I walked in with a mohawk and a doo-rag, my classic punk-kid suit. The server/bartender, though maybe a little distant, was prompt and courteous. My food came out of the kitchen surprisingly fast, and I was never in need of a refill, which was good considering the heat. And though it was too hot outside at the time, I could envision enjoying a pitcher of beer on the patio hanging out with friends with the tree-lined duck pond at Parkcenter as our view. My only criticism of Harry's would be that some items seem a bit over-priced (my root beer was $2.75). Still, Harry's on Parkcenter is an enjoyable experience with great food and a loose, fun atmosphere and I hope they can bring that energy to all of their future locations.

—Tom Kershaw thinks Tabasco should be the state sauce.