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John Harvard's Brew House - Lake Grove

John Harvard's Brew House
2093 Smith Haven Plz
Lake Grove, NY 11755

Our Rating: [yasr_overall_rating size="large"]

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Reader Rating: [yasr_visitor_votes size="large"]

Courtesy of Zagat.com

Courtesy of Zagat.com


We've eaten at John Harvard's several times and we decided another review is in order because this past weekend, it was so different from what we were used to. We had a party of 7, and as usual, service was average, bordering on below average because we had to flag down the waitress several times for refills and were never asked if we would like one. We always did the asking.

While looking through the menu, we noticed almost every item we usually order was no longer on the menu. Another couple with us had looked at the menu online before meeting us there and said it was different than the menu they had in front of them. I double checked myself before writing this review, and yes, it is different. When it came time to order, we asked the waitress about the missing menu items. She said they no longer have the lobster bisque, the chili calamari or the buffalo chicken sandwich on the menu although they can still make the sandwich if we really wanted it. She also let us know they were out of several menu items, one of which being something one of us wanted to order. It was 7pm on a Sunday and she said about 5 things they were out of.

For an appetizer, we ordered the fried calamari with shallots, cherry peppers and pomodoro sauce. It was fine, but really only enough for two people, unlike the old calamari we loved. We ordered the Smokehouse Burger with braised onions, smoked gouda, bacon and a crisp onion ring. The burger was juicy, flavorful and cooked well. We also ordered the NE Clam Chowder for an appetizer and Smoked Pulled Pork sandwich with BBQ sauce and topped with cole slaw. The chowder was okay and topped with dried chives. At least the pulled pork sandwich was very good. For dessert we ordered Butterscotch bread pudding which was great. We only wish our friends enjoyed their food as much as we did. Two people both ordered the Fresh Fish of the Day which was Monkfish. The portion of fish was so small they both said they were still hungry after finishing their meals. That's just a shame.

A pitcher of pumpkin ale was ordered for a few at the table. It was brought out with 4 glasses rimmed in cinnamon sugar. Everyone that had a glass was immediately turned off by the fact that it was warm. We mentioned it to the waitress and she said at a micro brewery, they serve the beer at room temperature to get the best taste. It wasn't room temperature though, it was WARM. Someone at the table asked her for a bag of ice to put in the pitcher which helped. Also, they usually give extra cinnamon sugar so you can rim the glass for your second glass and so on, but none was provided.

We have been coming here for 5+ years and this is the first major overhaul of the menu that is noticeable. It took us so long to figure out what we wanted to order because our favorites were gone and the rest of the menu just didn't speak to us. What we did have was good, but not enough to crave and drive the 40 minutes for. Don't think we'll be returning.
-----------PREVIOUS REVEIEW-----------

We have been going to John Harvard's for years. They have a large selection of house-brewed beer (only), including seasonal brews like their pumpkin spice ale that people go crazy for. You can also order beer to go. Food wise, they have a little bit of everything, from gourmet burgers to crab-stuffed tilapia and all-time classics like fish and chips and chicken pot pie. One of our favorite things here are the buffalo chicken sandwich (don't have it anymore!)--we have yet to find another place that even comes close! Also highly recommended is their chili calamari with scallions and peanuts. It isn't on their regular menu and is usually on their daily specials as well as lobster bisque (Not anymore either!) When it comes to service, it varies. Only once, have we been unsatisfied with service and we have been there many times. Most of the time, service is average.

The place looks pretty cool with its tall entry doors and the glass showcase of the brewery. The prices are average to a little pricey, depending on what you order, but the food quality is definitely there. If you want good upscale bar food, this place is for you.

John Harvard's Brew House on Urbanspoon

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