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Harrison's Holiday Menu Big on Lobster This Season

by on December 11, 2012 7:55 AM

Lobster lovers rejoice, Harrison’s unveiled its seasonal holiday menu last week, and it features plenty of creative crustacean dishes.

From a bowl of the lobster bisque to satisfy the lunch crowd to the lobster ravioli to treat someone to a holiday dinner, Harrison’s, 1221 E. College Ave, attached at the hip to the Hilton Garden Inn, has you covered.

“People have a tendency to wanna spend a little more around the holidays,” chef Harrison Schailey said. “And they wanna treat somebody.”

The holiday menu launched Friday night and runs through Dec. 23. A New Year’s menu will follow. Small plates served all day include the bisque, holiday salad, fried baby artichokes, lump crab stuffed mushrooms and baked brie in a puffed pastry. After 5 p.m., lobster ravioli, beef tenderloin with Cabernet butter and plus daily fish specials are available.

The holiday drink menu features a Christmas cosmopolitan, hot buttered rum and peppermint martini.

“The holiday salad, we did this for Taste of the Town,” Schailey said. “It seems like it’s very popular. I use pomegranate juice to try to get the holidays in there, and it has blue cheese and walnuts, spiced nuts. People like to have a little spiced nuts in their salad.

“What we’re doing, we’re featuring kind of higher end stuff.”

Harrison’s has ditched the buffet-style menu that has been a staple during the holiday season in years past, opting to downsize the menu and better concentrate it. Soup and salad is still the hot lunch seller.

Election years make Schailey a bit wary because he has noticed customers may choose to hold their money until a president is elected, but he said business remains on track.

“We’re not super busy,” he said, “but we’re not going down.”

Schailey has seen a slow growth in food appreciation in the eight years since he settled into his current location. The transient demographics of State College, students includes, have contributed to this. Food Network has, too.

“More people are understanding things that they didn’t before,” he said. “ ‘Iron Chef’, those guys are amazing. That stuff is really hard. They’re not clowning around.

“Fine dining is moving away from fine dining. It’s more what we call upscale casual, so they’re trying to get away from that stuffiness, and if you have jeans on you can go into a fine restaurant and it’s not gonna be a big deal. I think we’re seeing all kinds of foods fusioned up.”

Schailey prides himself on making the bisque. But if you had him walk into his own restaurant, he’d mix and match.

“I'd get the two entrees and split them with somebody,” he said.

Nate Mink covers Penn State football and news for He's on Twitter as @MinkNate.
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