East County Times Dining Guide

The Chesapeake Rockfish is topped with succulent lump crab meat and served on top of heavenly lemon butter garlic mashed potatoes

The Black & Bleu Salad features a combination of different flavors that come together to make for one extremely tasty salad.




- Article & photos by Allison H. McAlister -

You know the old saying: Dont judge a book by its cover. Remember that the next time you pass by the restaurant tucked in the corner of Perry Hall Crossing Shopping Center at the corner of Belair and Silver Spring roads. Although the facade blends in with the typical strip mall exterior, once you step inside the door youll be greeted by a cozy, intimate scene complete with beautiful dark wood furniture, gorgeous chandeliers and gold-accented art hung against the deep blue walls. Windows line the exterior of the restaurants lounge, which showcases an extended bar in the middle with booths and tables all along the rooms perimeter. The interior of The Harp is absolutely stunning. So hows the food, you ask? Its out of this world! When my co-worker and I visited on a recent weekday for lunch, everything we sampled was just delicious. And theres so many items from which to choose on the menu, I cant wait to go back to try a few more! The Harp, a modern Irish pub/restaurant formerly known as The Twisted Harp, came under new ownership in January of this year. Good friends Ken Noonkester and Larry Tapscott decided to take on a new venture and bought the restaurant. Head chef Jonathan Fiorucci also owns a percentage. Though Noonkester and Tapscott are both previous business owners, this is their first foray into the restaurant business. Theyre obviously doing something right. Although neither the owners nor General Manager Paul Beall were available the day we visited, we did have the pleasure of speaking with two of the managers, Brian and Jim. An array of culinary delights were brought to our table so that we could sample some of The Harps best selling and most popular items. We began with a few of the appetizers, a soup and a salad. Ill begin with the soup, something Ive only had the pleasure of consuming at one other restaurant in the area, so I was pleasantly surprised to see this unique take on crab soup offered here. The Maryland & Cream of Crab Blend is just that - rich and delectable cream of crab blended with the piquant Maryland crab soups. The two classics combine for an unbelievably delicious taste sensation. For those who have trouble deciding between these two, heres the ultimate solution! What a flavorful soup! Next we tried a couple of the appetizers - the Tuna Tempura and the Rockfish Bites. The tempura-battered rockfish comes served with a spici aioli and was quite yummy, but our favorite was the Tuna Tempura. Described as battered tuna served medium rare with a light wasabi cr? fraiche drizzled with chili sauce and scallions, this appetizer is sensational. Extremely flavorful, the wasabi gives it a nice little kick. Though we brought a good amount of leftovers back to the office to share with our co-workers, we polished off the Tuna Tempura! We also got to sample one of their signature salads, the Black & Bleu. This delightful salad of mixed field greens features tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions topped with bleu cheese crumbles and blackened beef strips, tossed with a low-calorie raspberry vinaigrette. The combination of flavors from the tender savory beef and the rich bleu cheese to the fresh crunchy vegetables and the sweet raspberry dressing make for one really wonderfully delicious salad. Then it was on to the main course, where we had the pleasure of sampling The Harp Chicken Crab Carmella, the Chesapeake Rockfish and the Corned Beef and Cabbage. The Chicken Crab Carmella consists of two saut? chicken breasts topped with lump crab meat, diced tomatoes and fresh basil. Its served over mashed potatoes with a tomato basil sauce. A vegetable skewer comes on the side. The moist chicken and delectable crab meat paired well with the creamy mashed potatoes, resulting in a very flavorful dish. TheChesapeake Rockfish is saut? rockfish topped with lump crab meat and served atop lemon butter garlic mashed potatoes with vegetable skewers on the side. This one was super tasty, and those mashed potatoes were heavenly. Definitely a comfort food kind of meal, so creamy and scrumptious. As for the Corned Beef and Cabbage, well, I was saving the best for last. This entr?quickly became a surprising favorite of mine and my coworker, which is wonderful because its something neither one of us would have ordered, left to our own devices. The corned beef was tender and flavorful, the julienned carrots were delightfully sweet and tasty, but the braised cabbage, red potatoes and onions were to die for. Really, I could just order a plate of that. My coworker said The Harp has taken corn beef and cabbage to a whole new level. We figure folks might start pretending its St. Patricks Day every week to give them an excuse to partake of this deliciousness on a regular basis. And when the real St. Patricks Day rolls around, watch out! We predict a line out the door and around the corner! Our waiter was correct when he told us you really cant go wrong with anything you order because we thoroughly enjoyed everything we sampled at The Harp during our visit. The wait staff was very knowledgable regarding menu questions and remained attentive throughout our meal. Jim, the father of owner Ken Noonkester and self-described go-to guy, revealed customer service is their highest priority. We strive for nothing less than perfection. Ironically, my first dining experience at The Harp was pretty close to perfect. The Harp, located at 8706 Belair Road, is open seven days a week 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. Take advantage of their weekly Happy Hour featuring half-price appetizers and $2 domestic bottles from 3 - 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Looking for entertainment? Theres acoustic music on Wednesdays from 8 - 11 p.m., karaoke on Thursdays from 9:30 p.m. - 1:30 a.m., a DJ playing the best party dance music on Fridays from 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. and on Saturdays, its music with DJ Flyin Brian. For all The Harps weekly specials, be sure to check out their ad on page 28 For more information, call 410-529-4277 or visit www.twistedharp.com.

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