Thursday, August 26, 2004

Harvest Restaurant report

Heirloom Tomatoes (you guessed it, Copley Farmer's Market). Well at least the photo matches an essay this time! Posted by Hello c ac2004

Wow, I am still recovering from last night's dinner at the Harvest Restaurant. This was a special "tasting menu" based on foods from Nesenkeag Farm, with wine pairings. A true bargain at $39 for five courses -- they have other nights like this, so if you like the idea I'd advise you check out the website and make a reservation.

It was a long process of hearing the chef's description of the foods, then an intro to the farmer, and then the various courses and wines being served to a very full room of people, seated communally. Felt a bit like a wedding reception where you're tearful over the food rather than tearful at the touching true love stuff.

We had a heirloom tomato salad with a beautiful presentation -- round slices of yellow and red tomatoes with a round slice of fresh mozarella on a rectangular plate with balsamic drizzle. This was with a "mineralistic" sauvignon blanc (Polencic, Collio from Italy, 2002) which was very light. I really liked the word mineralistic (used by the very friendly and patient-with-our-stupid-questions wine director, Jason Irving) and plan on using it more often.

Second course was carolina grouper with a crusted topping made of shrimp and spices. Served with coriander "berries"; ie the seeds that form after your cilantro has bloomed. I'd never considered including that with a meal (with the fronds attached) and I've had plenty of these in my garden. They do add a flavor burst when you eat the little buggers. The wine was a Marsanne, Qupe (another great word), from CA, 2003, which had a really nice meadey um, bouquet (yikes, did I just say bouquet?) even though the wine was pretty dry.

Third was baked squash, a cousa which is similar to zucchini, stuffed with chorizo. Yum! With one of the best wines IMHO, Dr. Burklin Wolf's Riesling from Germany, 2002. Wait -- if you hate riesling don't skip this part -- it was a very funky wine which would hit you with a sweet flavor right at the beginning but then the flavor would completely disappear after you swallowed (is that a clean finish? not sure). I'd never experienced anything like that.

Next (groan, at this point we were getting full), was a drumstick of smoked duck, served with baby beet salad. Scrumptious. Never had smoked duck before and it was both exotic and familiar -- like a ducky hot dog flavor. (Yeah, they're not going to hire me as their marketing exec, I know). This was with a Pinot Noir (Louis Jadot, Bourgogne, France 2001) that was really jarring after all the whites, but when you sipped it with the duck you said, oh... now I see.

Finally, for dessert, a baby carrot cake (teeny tiny) served with a very flowery muscat (Bonny Doon, Vin de Glacier, Santa Cruz, 2003).

After these four hours (!) of food bliss we were very happy, a little tipsy and very full. What a lovely event. Oh and besides "mineralistic", my new other favorite wine term is "a whiff of petrol." Ah.

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