2026 16th St, Sacramento, CA 95818, (916) 448-0088
If you venture to the outskirts of the grid (U & 16th-ish), at the edge where the sparkle of Midtown fades into the shabby, there hides a diamond in the rough. Harry's Cafe, run by Harry Luong, is a small establishment reminiscent of the tiny mom and pop diners of days gone by. But rather than serve up the tired old menu of club sandwiches, fries and burgers; Harry's offers a more exciting fare of home cooked Chinese and Vietnamese dishes that are equally filling and that are just as easy on your wallet.
I held off on reviewing Harry's for quite awhile, thinking that the luster of the place would shortly fade or that the food would soon disappoint. But then I found myself, after several visits, holding off on writing about Harry's because I didn't want to divulge this secret gem to others. So far, each time I've patronized this small eatery, there's always been a consistent sprinkling of customers and a few empty tables. Perfect! Immediate seating, no wait! Orders are taken promptly and the food is always delivered quickly. I've had both Harry and a woman, whom I've over time dubbed as "Mrs. Harry," wait on me. Harry's talkative, friendly and always ready with a smile or a wink. Mrs. Harry is less chatty and tries to hide behind a gruff facade, but you can tell she's all about the warm fuzzies underneath. Harry's Cafe is definitely not fancy; it's small and narrow much like a vestibule and teeters the fine line of being cluttered but not messy. However like mom's kitchen, its warmness envelopes you and you fall into a feeling of ease within seconds of arrival. There's no pretentiousness at Harry's Cafe. It's just a great place to chat with friends while dining on some good eats. In addition, the restaurant has always been spotless during my visits (even the bathroom), winning extra brownie points in my book.
As for the food, they have a standard menu, as well as an ever changing specials board (for example tonight, the lead on the specials board was oxtail soup). I, myself, have tried several of their stir-fry dishes when I've popped in there, oftentimes solo on nights when I haven't had the energy to cook, and my favorite so far is the asparagus and shrimp with a black bean sauce (I've also had this same concoction with snow peas and that's equally as yummy). On other visits, I've indulged in their piping hot pho as well as their delicious shrimp/vermicelli noodle dish. The pho there is great on those chilly or rainy nights. Now that the weather's turned all warm and sunny, I've been craving their vermicelli like crazy. Consistently, everything I've ordered there has been fresh and tasty and just as a heads up, the servings are quite large. I've never left hungry. In addition, Harry's is great about modifications and during one visit, Harry informed me and my dinner companion that if they have the ingredients, they'll make it, regardless of whether it's on the menu. How's that for service! And true to his word, he came through for my dinner companion.
Next time, your tummy grumbles, "Feed me!" wander over to Harry's for a bite of some Asian comfort food. Remember though, once you fall in love with this quaint little cafe, mums the word-- as I don't want to have to wait for a table on my next visit.