Extraordinary dining experience: Harvest Beat.
As you know, I’m basically a carnivore but when given the opportunity to experience truly great food, I’ll give it a try. Such is the case with plant based cuisine.
This place is located right on N 45th Street in the Wallingford area. The storefront is unassuming and just looking at it, you’d never imagine what delights are to be found within. The space is divided into 3 areas with a Chef’s table/bar in the front/mid level and a nice intimate space just past that which includes a faux fireplace which, while faux, adds a nice touch.
It’s clear these people love the food they prepare. The menu is fixed and multicourse…..4/5 depending on how you count them and they change the menu every 3 weeks…..following the changing availability of ingredients. Each course can be enjoyed with paired wines or paired non alcoholic libations…or enjoyed with a single selection….alcoholic or otherwise.
The evening starts with a presentation to the diners by the chef….a review of the coming experience. The enthusiasm of the presentation is spellbinding.
The night started with a nice sparkling rosé from the Languedoc. The 1st/2nd course followed and was a roasted heirloom carrot soup with a green curry harissa and a white/green asparagus and caramelized parsnip salad presented with a very nice herbed vinaigrette……the best of the courses. The wine was a Chardonnay from the Klickitat Canyon Winery in the Columbia Gorge. It is naturally fermented without the addition of sulfites. Interesting flavor…..yeasty…..and I would have never guessed in was a Chardonnay….interesting but not sure I would recommend it.
Following this course was a very interesting kale rapini caesar salad….the usual cheese was replaced by a nut seed “parmesan” and the “meat” was white abalone mushrooms…..very interesting textures and flavor. There was a light dusting of a sweet balsamic reduction. I’m not a big fan of kale but this salad was delicious…..the balsamic reduction made the dish. The wine: and Andrew Will Sangiovese. The 4th course was a corn tamale stuffed with stinging nettle and a roasted cumin cashew “cheese” plated on an oaxacan mole made from Theo Chocolate. I know this is a bit of heresy, but I’m not a big fan of corn tamales so this wasn’t my favorite dish. The flavor was strongly of roasted corn which dominated the nettles. That said, the nettles were excellent and the flavor added by the cashew “cheese” was outstanding. The pairing: a Spanish Tempranillo.
Finally to the last course….dessert…..a chocolate torte (once again, Theo Chocolate) with urfa biber (Turkish) chilies topped with a coconut whip cream and black lava salt plated on a blood orange gastrique. Think rich chocolate with a hint of piquant nicely balanced with the sweetness of the orange and a twist of saltiness…..very very good. The wine: a very light port of Petite Syrah and Zinfandel.
Service was excellent and the space…quite interesting……a modern flair coupled with plywood flooring.