Harvest Vine is the name on the tip of every foodie’s tongue in Seattle. I had heard the name over and over as the best place in town, but I had never been there. Not even since B’s best friend has been a cook there for the last 4 months (that is four months too long, my friend). So finally we went. I know my experience was not the same as everyone else’s, as we sat in front of Kim so that he could sneak us as many dishes as possible.
The food was great. I wasn’t jumping out of my seat or squirming with excitement, but I think some of that was because I was expecting such a great meal. I was not dissapointed, but it did not exceed my expectations (they were so high, it would have been difficult). There are probably a million blog posts riddled with pictures and descriptions of the food. I don’t do photos in the restaurant, so you won’t see those. You can read the descriptions of individual dishes on their menu. I’m here to tell you what made the experience great.
The cooks were so excited to get the freedom to show off their most delicious dishes. As we were passed to the meat station, Brendan kept encouraging us–Do you have room for another course before the foie gras?–he wanted us to get as many tastes as we could. Is it my turn? the dessert guy asked. Kim was on the fish station and made us one of my favorites–squid braised in its own ink. The tentacles were cutely stuffed into the squid body and the whole thing was perfectly soft. Watching the whole fished baked in salt go by made me sad we weren’t getting one, but it was much nicer to taste one bite of everything than to waste stomach space on a huge dish like that. The basque white wine we started with was great, we moved on to a monstrell which was perfect for the meat courses.
To be honest, there are few individual dishes that stick out as terrific, what made it unique was that not a single bite was less than wonderful. From our first taste (a fish mousse amuse bouche) to the final sip (a glass of port) everything that passed our lips was beautifully created in front of our eyes by a group of enthusiastic young chefs trying to show off their skills.
Through all this the chef worked the front of the house. He is in fact a caricature of a chef, like Gusteau from Ratatouille, round and friendly, though stern with his kitchen chefs. It was great to see him at the restaurant helping out.
And just to show off: All in all we had ten courses, of which about half were duo’s or trios of multiple dishes, each one composed to be a taste of each item for the two of us. It was incredible.
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