Lakeview Harbor 2

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris May 26, 2024 22:38 in Dining Diary

We had Shawn Toups on the Food Show last week to talk about the changes at Lakeview Harbor since they were booted from their longtime home on Harrison Avenue when the owners of the building wanted the space for themselves.

They relocated to the West End in the space vacated by Wasabi. I’m not often out there so they are off my radar, so it surprised me to hear that they moved into the Oak Street space recently vacated by Mucho Mas. This linear footprint place has housed a few rotating restaurants, and none for very long. Also, none that were very good.

I’ve only been to Lakeview Harbor a few times and liked it. My understanding was that two alums from Port of Call started it, offering the Port of Call experience without the difficulty of getting to Port Of Call.

On the radio show, Shawn explained that Lakeview Harbor was started by his brother and a partner in 1973, and he bought them both out in the 1990s. He also said a lot of things when we talked on the radio that proved again what I always say about The Food Show: it works on me first. After looking at the menu online and talking about it, I couldn't wait to go.

There were a few surprises when we arrived at the new Oak Street location. There was no one in there, but it was early on a Saturday evening. It was also dark and it looked very much like a bar. This was a very handsome space when DTB was there and an exciting interior for Mucho Mas. I couldn’t believe how they managed to make a brand-new place look dark and worn.

There was one poor guy who did everything in the front and one in the kitchen. The front guy seated us and waited on us, and then he seated and waited on everyone else as the place filled up rather rapidly as time went on. I was glad we were the first to arrive. There were parties of eight coming in along with two and four tops. He was great, and I am sure he is very tired after the shift.

We ordered the spinach and artichoke dip because I have to get that everywhere. And we got a classic burger and the chili cheese dogs. I wanted the burger to be accompanied by the baked potato, as per the Port of Call. And then I noticed on the menu that it specifies margarine instead of butter. I asked if I could pay extra for butter and was told they didn’t have any. What??? News Flash! This is 2024! Margarine is a dirty word. I went back to the menu and chose onion rings for one side at a $2.50 upcharge, and Tater Tots for the same upcharge. I also ordered a potato soup not realizing I was over the one-side rule. At this point the waiter committed a cardinal sin in my book, not helping the diner when you realize something they don't. When three sides came to the table and I realized I had ordered three, instead of the requisite two, he seemed to have known it but chose not to point it out. I am always annoyed by this. In contrast, just today I was advised by a waitress that the fries I was interested in trying came as a side with a sandwich. I didn’t need to spend the extra money on a special side.

The spin dip came in an ample-sized crock with a pile of ordinary chips. A thick blanket of cheese was melted on top, with a little browning and crusting of the cheese. The spin dip was good. I always compare every spin dip to mine, and they all fall short. This did too, but it was better than a lot of them I have tried. The chips reminded me of some I had recently that were so boring they were even broken into small pieces.

The chili cheese dogs came out, and they were a mess. The Don Phoung buns had disintegrated from the wetness of the chili, which was overly abundant. Cheese was melted on top of this mess, and I was done with the whole thing in two bites. I got Tater Tots with this. They were standard frozen tots.

A potato soup was another thing I got, and it was insipid, too thin, and not very flavorful.

The best thing on the table and I think maybe the only thing to get here is the original burger or any of its iterations. We got the classic version with cheddar cheese, dressed with shavings of iceberg and a tomato. The pickles were thankfully basic dill chips from a jar, so unfortunately hard to find these days.

A pile of nicely-done housecut onion rings with a thick and crunchy batter sat beside the burger. These were golden brown, hot, and greaseless.

The burger was exactly as I remembered, classic right down to the slice of raw onion. Everyone but us seemed to understand that this was seemingly the only thing to get here. There was one in front of each diner.