Harry Sasson has held the premier spot in the race for supremacy in the upscale dining category for years. I suppose that type of prominence justifies the prices on the menu. It is the highest-priced restaurant in Bogotá.Would our visit to Harry Sasson lead us to the conclusion that the restaurant’s reputation and the lofty prices on the menu were justified?The restaurant is located in a stately old mansion on Carrera X in fashionable Chapinero. You traverse a lush tropical garden to gain entrance to the restaurant. The majority of the seating in the restaurant is in a large glass-enclosed room with a large bar and an impressive glass wine display spanning 5 meters or so in height behind the bar.A row of leather-upholstered booths line the wall to the right of the bar and mirror running the length of the room to the ceiling makes the large dining area seem twice as large as it really is. There’s a huge tropical flower arrangement sitting at the corner of the bar at the entrance. The first impression is a good one. No element of the decor appeared to be extraordinarily expensive but it the expansiveness of the space, the surrounding glass, the plant covered wall and fountain behind the wall at the back of the space, and the tasteful furnishings and table settings created a luxurious feel.There are smaller confined dining areas with a more formal feel inside the mansion.The menu had an octopus appetizer. I’ve been ordering this appetizer at many of the restaurants to give me a reference point for comparison. Octopus can be difficult to get right and provides a challenge for even the most talented chef.Unlike the total failure on the octopus dish at Market Kitchen at the W Hotel a few blocks away, execution of this dish was almost flawless. The tentacles had been charred and seared giving a contrast in texture. The octopus was moist and easy to chew. The shoestring slivers of chorizo presented an interesting contrast in texture. Some of the small shreds were crisp, others slightly chewy. It was set on a base of well-seasoned potatoes. Flavors and texture were excellent. I do think the dish would have benefited from some small sweet element to contrast with the smoking seared octopus and perhaps a bit more acidity in the sauce or an accompanying element. But as is, it was still an impressive appetizer.In the race for the best upscale restaurant in Bogotá, Harry Sasson was running neck and neck with Rafael and Elcielo after rounding the first turn.Going into the back stretch, the restaurant faltered. I ordered the wild mushroom risotto, another choice to challenge the cooks. Cooking the perfect risotto is no simple task. It takes patience, great ingredients (most importantly the right rice), and a little bit of luck. On this day, the cooks at Harry Sasson came up short on all three requirements.The rice was not a high-quality carnaroli. It was a short-grain rice, but the quality was lacking. And this risotto was grossly under-cooked. So much so that the center of the rice was almost hard, as if uncooked. I notified the waiter and as a small consolation, I was not charged for the miscue.For dessert, I ordered an item simply called “Chocolate” on the menu. This was an interesting dish. It was similar to a “molten” cake that has a hot liquid chocolate center except that the bulk of the chocolate was the warm luscious chocolate liquid and just a centimeter or so of the exterior surface was hardened in the consistency of a cake with slightly crisp “crust”. It was a fabulous contrast in both texture and temperature. The chocolate was not sweet but was just short of being bitter. The dish was made even more interesting and tasty by the addition of a smooth, creamy vanilla and cherry ice cream. The blend of that almost bitter chocolate and that creamy cherry mixture was the ultimate. This was an excellent dessert, perfectly conceived and executed.So, of three courses, two were near perfect, and a third a near total failure. If you’re vying to gain a spot alongside the great world-class restaurants, there is little or no room for error. Simply stated, Harry Sasson needs someone at the pass to assure that something like that rice dish doesn’t leave the kitchen. Faltering on the back stretch put just put the race out of reach for Harry Sasson.The service was good, but not stellar. At two different points, there was inordinate delay in the progress of the meal. I had to get the attention of a waiter to indicate I was ready to order, even though my menu had been sitting closed on the table for more than ten minutes.When I quit eating the rice dish and set my fork down, the waiters failed to pick up that plate for almost ten minutes. There just seemed to be a slight lack of awareness on the part of the service staff.Harry Sasson has the potential of being Bogotá’s best restaurant. But noticeable errors in execution by the waiters and the kitchen staff means Harry Sasson will garner only a “show” in this horse race.