NuLuFest in Louisville this weekend
After hearing about the numerous accolades and awards the new restaurant Harvest has been given since it’s recent opening in the foodie neighborhood of NuLu, my husband and I have been dying to go. Not only was I interested in dining in a restaurant that other people thought was great, but Harvest’s mission and menu was something I not only believed in but could not wait to see how it came to life. Harvest is all about “outstanding, regionally inspired, seasonal cuisine from the freshest and finest local produce, in a casual dining setting.” This was what Harvest aimed for, and this was exactly what they gave me. Harvest was all about a comfortable, warm, and welcoming atmosphere. The organic wood textiles and photographs of the farmers on the walls inside the restaurant made me feel like I was part of something, part of the food. I was included in the story of where my food was coming from and what I was eating, and that made my dining experience that much more special. Everything I ate was spectacular in that I could taste the ingredients. So often the produce is muddled by sauces, herbs, or butter, but at Harvest I could taste every flavor. We started out with the roasted garlic-chard hummus with pretzel crostini. A true “appetizer” the chard in the hummus was an unexpected earthy flavor, tasting more like a vegetarian pate then a hummus. Several pickled vegetables complemented the plate and awakened my palate with a powerful punch in my mouth.
Next on the menu was my salad of bibb lettuce, oven-dried tomatoes, smoked bacon, asiago breadstick, and basil vinaigrette. This was the perfect salad, and I don’t say that lightly. The first thing I tasted was the lettuce, which ironically, you so rarely taste in a salad! There was just the right amount of dressing and a little crunch from the bacon and tomatoes added some contrast. The salad was simple and full of flavor.
For my main course I wanted to order a dish that would let the restaurant’s mission shine. The buttermilk fried chicken, pesto hoecake, peppercorn gravy, and beet hot sauce was delectable. The hot and crispy fried chicken came piled atop the large hoecake that was light and moist and when all the dish’s elements were eaten together it was positively perfect. This dish was just how I had hoped it would be; comfort food executed so well, with such incredible flavors that it is taken to another level.
For dessert we ordered the apple pie. If I hadn’t eaten a similar rhubarb pie a few weeks earlier that stole my heart, this pie would have been wonderful, but instead it fell to my previous dessert.
The food at Harvest was amazing, but the service, although extremely amicable, could do with some tweaking. All the employees that we encountered from the moment we entered Harvest were friendly and helpful. The problem was with the communication between the kitchen and front of house. Our cocktails came after our appetizer, our salads came before we finished our appetizer. The restaurant was half empty and it felt like the kitchen was rushing us out of there. It ended up slowing down after I refused to eat my salad until I finished my appetizer.
Harvest’s minor indiscretions were heavily outweighed by the amazing food and excellent atmosphere. I couldn’t recommend it any higher.
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