note bistro and wine bar
1530 North 2nd Street, Harrisburg PA 17102. Ph: (717) 412-7415.
Hours: Dinner – Tuesday: 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm; Wednesday thru Saturday: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm; Sunday Brunch: 10:30 am – 3:00 pm; Sunday Dinner: 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm; Aperitivo menu available 4pm – 6pm at the bar with featured wine specials.
So, you may be asking, why is a restaurant with a wine list and full bar appearing in the BYO column? Tuesdays are BYOB with no corkage fee – so mark your calendar for a great mid-week experience! Also, though not BYO, Sunday evenings all wine list bottles are half price here! And these customer pleasers are just a few of the charms that place “note” on the Beeson most-frequented list. Just “note”, as we affectionately refer to this fine neighborhood eating establishment, is not in restaurant row; which means no parking meters! And we’ve never encountered difficulty finding on-street parking nearby.
The menu is designed for wine pairing, and note’s size allows for a focus on hand-crafting each individual dish. The style could be described as rustic, pan-European, highlighted by scratch-made pasta, a rotating array of risottos (my favorite), seasonal soups and seasonal menus which include fish, seafood and game. Another pleaser – many dishes are willingly modified for vegetarian preferences! Some of the eclectic menu samplings we’ve recently enjoyed include: maple-glazed roasted beets with toasted walnuts and goat cheese; gratin with house-cured tasso, crawfish, cavatelli, gruyere, aged cheddar and arugula; grilled swordfish with a saffron béchamel sauce, braised fennel and tomato risotto; and a memorable grilled pork chop on butternut squash risotto, with pancetta, pearl onion and thyme caramelized Brussels sprouts, walnuts, bleu cheese and maple bourbon glaze.
Check out the current menus and upcoming events at www.notewinebar.com. If you enjoy adventurous dining in a cozy, intimate setting, you owe yourself a visit. And though only Tuesdays are BYO – the wine lovers’ wine list at note showcases skillfully chosen food-matched bottles you will not commonly find on local wine and spirits store shelves – further adding to the appeal, and our undying interest.
2308 Patton Road Harrisburg, PA 17112;
phone: (717) 412-7076; hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Closed Sunday
Sometimes great food can be found in the least pretentious environments. This is certainly the case with MX Cocina! The experience is much like a gourmet food truck, with climate controlled spacious seating and four walls. Guests order and pick up food at the counter, utensils are disposable, and the only water is bottled. Wine glasses however are available upon request! What about the food, you ask. The menu is short, but the many fresh individual ingredients may be combined in any way you wish!
The selections sound traditional Mexican (with the addition of tofu) and everything is fresh and skillfully prepared by caring hands. This is what absolutely distinguishes MX Cocina from virtually all local “Mexican” (actually Tex-Mex) establishments. The delicious food is the antithesis of the canned, frozen, and pre-prepared food service found in chain restaurants (and sadly also many non-chains these days). Your first choice is selecting a “format”: burritos, salad, nachos, tacos, burrito bowl, plain bowl, or quesadillas (my favorite). The next choice is in the base: chicken, steak, beef barbacoa, pork carnitas, tofu or mixed vegetables (my favorite). You may select white, brown or Spanish rice; refried beans or black beans. And you can top everything with all the usual suspects: salsa, corn, guacamole, sour cream, roasted peppers (delicious), cilantro, cheese, and more – fresh every day. There are also a number of sides (not that you’d need a side with the abundant portions – but it is fun to try things).
From my description alone, I have probably not made it sufficiently clear that MX Cocina serves food distinctively superior to that of other local restaurants with similar-sounding (but not even close to similar tasting) menus. The difference lies in the quality of ingredients, perfect seasoning, and traditional preparation. This is real home-style cooking if home is Mexico. You owe it to your taste buds to try it. We’ve found hearty, non-tannic reds to match best – Malbec, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Merlot. Arrive early to not miss this – remembering closing is at 8 p.m.