New restaurant harvests fresh flavors


Two of the chef’s recommended appetizers of a shaved brussels sprout salad atop a parmesan risotto cake with a light drizzle truffle vinaigrette and the house-made meatballs with house butchered colorado lamb, basil, oregano, fresh tomato sauce and parmesan cheese crostini.

Across the street from the noisy bustle of the Westport train station lies Westport’s newest farm-to-table food heaven: Harvest.

Upon entering, my senses were aroused by the natural whiffs of oak wafting from the surrounding wooden walls and the smell of freshly popped wine corks tickling my nose. Serving modern American cuisine with Asian, Latin American and Mediterranean influences, executive chef Gustave Christman III is committed to supporting local and organic farms or “custom cuisine from farm to fork” as the Harvest website describes.

Although I expected a more private dining session at 8:45 p.m. on a Monday night, the restaurant hosted a sophisticated mid 30s crowd. My friend and I were immediately escorted to our dimly lit table for two (sidenote the perfect restaurant for a romantic date) and handed menus with an extensive selection of foods and wine, not for us to drink, of course.

Normally when I eat at a restaurant two or three foods catch my eye, yet at this restaurant I swear I could’ve ordered the entire menu. Before I could even make this difficult dining decision, we were served with fluffy italian bread, olive oil and hummus, and I was eager to try my first bite of the Harvest meal. Unlike the thick and creamy hummus bought at the supermarket, this hummus was light and fresh on my tongue with the consistency of applesauce and the subtle flavor of chickpeas and salt. From that first bite, I could tell this would be a memorable dining experience.

For my appetizer, my friend and I split the shaved brussels sprout salad atop a
parmesan risotto cake with a light drizzle of truffle vinaigrette and the house-made meatballs with house butchered colorado lamb, basil, oregano, fresh tomato sauce and parmesan cheese crostini, per recommendation of our waiter. Although I was tentative to order a brussel sprout salad as I’m not normally a fan of brussel sprouts, I was a fan of these brussel sprouts. The familiar strong taste of the brussel sprouts was diminished by the combination of the richly cheesy risotto and a tang of lime in the vinaigrette.

My mouth already watering from the salad’s perfect mix of crunchy and softer textures, I moved on to taste the three meatballs perfectly aligned in a sizzling dish of red sauce. As my fork contacted my tongue, the meatball fell apart in my mouth, the sauce sweet with a hint of spice and reminding me of Spanish chorizo sausage. I took another bite, this time a different deeper flavor dancing across my tastebuds. If this was only the beginning, I couldn’t wait for round two.

For my entrée, I ordered the wood grilled organic salmon with a side of fingerling potatoes, baby carrots and roasted beet vinaigrette. Although seafood can be a dicey choice, sometimes too chewy, too fishy or too raw, this salmon had a delicious outer crunch and tender middle core. The fish separated into perfectly bite-sized slices as my fork cut into the fillet, and I could taste the char of smoked oak in each mouthful. The baby carrots and beet vinaigrette provided a sweet compliment to the fish, and the potatoes provided a buffer between the contrasting flavors. At this point, I could hardly think about dessert, but the food was too good to resist and I had to finish strong.

My dessert selection was a banana bread pudding with a side scoop of butter pecan ice cream, topped with banana whipped cream and lightly drizzled with caramel sauce. Despite the slight ache of my stomach, the delectable combination of salty, fruity and sweet kept me going. The warm pudding contrasted with the creamy, cold ice cream met in the middle to create one of the best desserts I had ever eaten.

Judging by the quality of the dishes I sampled, I can definitely say that Harvest is home to top-notch cuisine. Along with their dinner menu, they offer a diverse lunch and brunch menu and even fresh squeezed juices for a light snack. From the natural wood aromas, to the hearty meal and friendly employees, Harvest was much more than a run-of-the-mill American restaurant. I left one hour later with a smiley face drawn on my check and a smile on my face, looking forward to my next visit.