Portland’s trendy new vegetarian restaurant, Harlow, located at 3632 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, near our home, was on my shit list at first. Our initiation to this beautiful, spacious restaurant was less than desirable. We felt we were treated rudely and swore never to return…..but alas, perhaps I judged too quickly. Today’s experience was different….better…and now, I think I’m a fan.
Harlow requires its customers to wait in line and order at the counter. I do not like this. However, in their defense, they do bring their customers’ food to the table and the food selections are fantastic. For instance, they offer an entire array of Health Elixirs, such as the Wellness Shot of ginger juice, lemon, cayenne and echinacea or the Super Greens Lemonade, consisting of house made lemonade with cucumber, spinach, kale and chlorophyll. They also sell Wheatgrass shots and Ginger shots, fresh squeezed juices, smoothies, Soma Kombucha, coconut cider, consisting of fresh apple juice, ginger juice, steamed with Harlow’s house spice blend and coconut milk.
The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch. It is very spacious with a lovely mix of old and new decor. Very tasteful and comfortable, albeit noisy . I do not care for the whole “serve yourself” drink aspect and a few other things. A restaurant this nice should have table service, in my opinion, and drinks should be served accordingly….but whatever. The food is so good here that it sort of makes up for these annoying inconveniences.
We have not yet tried Harlow for lunch. However, they do have some interesting offerings, such as the Dragon Bowl, consisting of one’s choice of rice or quinoa, beans, sea vegetables, avocado, steamed greens, sesame seeds, scallions, raw cabbage and a choice of sauces, or the Bliss Salad or dried currants and figs, roasted hazelnuts, hemp and poppy seeds, quinoa, beets, carrots, sprouts and mixed greens with lemon ginger dressing. They have a couple of heart-healthy pasta dishes ….and even nachos….so there is some interesting variety there.
The first time we ate there for breakfast, I ordered the Bravo Bowl consisting of yam rice, shredded kale, mixed greens, an avocado half, tempeh taco crumbles and sundried tomatoes servecd with jalapeno cashew cheese and cilantro cream. It was heavenly! Some of the best food I’d ever eaten. I had a Super Berry Smoothie go go along with it. It was made of strawberries, marionberries, bananas, goji berried, hemp seeds and Warrior Protein. Too bad the staff was so rude….not just to us, but we observed this behavior toward others as well….because the food was so good.
That day, John ordered pancakes that were very good, too, and we both woke this morning hungry for them, so we decided to give the restaurant a second chance.
I opted for the lemon poppy quinoa pancakes. These high protein delights were served with blueberry compote, real maple syrup and vegan spread. They were delicious…crunchy along the edges, beautifully browned, soft and yummy on the inside, served nice and hot. They were, however, very filling, so I ate less than half a serving and am still feeling full an hour later. I also had the Beaulah Land juice that consisted of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, apple juice, celery and fresh mint. I could have made a meal of that alone. It was delightful.
John has the oatmeal banana walnut pancakes serviced up hot with maple syrup, sliced bananas, coconut and vegan spread. I had a taste and wow! They were fantastic.
This time around, the staff was VERY polite! They, in fact, went out of their way to be warm and welcoming and to attend our every need. Someone checked on our table frequently to make sure we were enjoying our breakfast, which we were, and we received many smiles and polite conversation. It should be noted that the two people that were so rude to us last time were not there today. Hopefully, we will not encounter the likes of them again….because we DO plan to return. The food is great. The good outweighs the annoying, and Harlow is in the hood.