Here is a blog post that’s been on my draft list for 5 months. I feel remorseful that I didn’t hit publish when I originally wrote the post, but better late than never. I feel like I can’t really start blogging about San Francisco food while I still have Boston food posts in the queue. Certainly not food as important as this.
This plate of food was by far the best thing I ever ate.
And my photo does not do it justice. It is dim and blurry when it should really be crisp and bright to match the perfection of what was served that night.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Justin took me out for my 26th birthday to Harvest in Harvard Square.
We ordered a whiskey sour and the Plymouth Plantation(bombay gin, agave nectar, grapefruit, fresh lime sour) at the bar, and while we waited, we overheard the bartender being commended by a women sitting at the bar. She said the blood orange martini she ordered was the best martini she’s ever had, and I believe she really meant it. Our drinks were both delicious, too. Hats off to the bartendress!
Soon after, we were lucky enough to be seated at a fine table in the corner of their outdoor seating area. It was cool and cozy and I could not wait to order food.
We had already picked the braised Vermont rabbit for our appetizer when we checked out the menu at home, solely because we rarely see rabbit on menus.
There was less rabbit in this dish than we anticipated, but the pieces that were there were succulent and rich. Mixed with gnocchi and mushrooms in a rich sauce, the rabbit sort of melted away. It was a small portion to share but actually turned out to be just right to save room for the main course.
Justin got the rack of lamb from the special menu. It was stacked on top of a white bean ragu, but honestly, I paid little attention to what was happening on his plate.
Because this was happening on mine.
Seared halibut served over sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, and bacon. I don’t know what the sauce was, but it was perfect. I would have licked the plate clean if our table was in a less conspicuous place.
But, it was really the preparation of the fish that made the meal. I have never had a piece with such an incredible crust on one side, while the rest of the fish was flaky and buttery. The rest of the components on the plate raise the fish to a new level. Our waitress said that the chef’s family had been in earlier that day and they had all ordered the halibut too – I think it was one of their most popular dishes, for good reason!
On top of being a plate of flavors that I really love, it encompasses what is most fresh during the summer season. That’s the philosophy of Harvest and it makes me want to come back see what’s on their menu during the fall and winter months! (But I can’t because now I live in California, so Boston readers, let me know what they are serving!)
And of course, we saved room for dessert. They have an exquisite pastry chef on board, unfortunately I think we made a less than exquisite choice from the menu.
This was a deconstructed “root beer float”: tower root beer cake, sarsaparilla ice cream, mascarpone caramel, frothed vanilla milk.
I had high hopes for the sarsaparilla ice cream, but it was just a little bit too sassy. Maybe if the frothy vanilla milk had been swapped with whipped cream, the flavors might have come together in a less offensive way.
I felt like a Top Chef judge as I maneuvered this dessert. I totally get why they always moan when Marcel or other gastro-chefs put foam on everything. It’s air with a little flair, at best.
Overall, this was an incredible dining experience. Enjoying thoughtful menus like this is one of my favorite things to do, and I started this blog as a way to capture meals just like this one.
Five months later, I still agree with this being the best food I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant. I’m so excited to explore the San Francisco food scene and see what they have to offer.
Places we already love:
SushiToni – B.T.S. roll for the win
Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack – if you come here and get anything other than spaghetti, you’re a crazy fool
Toast Eatery – delicious breakfast and brunch options