In a word: From thresh to treasure.
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JM ate the pork osso buco, barley risotto, pork jus; grilled hanger steak, braised lentils, roasted cipollini onions, bone marrow custard; and a root beer.
Nichole ate the celeriac soup, truffled dumplings; venison loin, parsnips, braised red cabbage, cocoa espresso sauce; and a Furthermore porter.
The bill was about $85, or $42.50/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave Harvest an A (see our grading rubric).
Not being too used to eating out at upscale places (this blog to the contrary), we both ended up assembling rather imbalanced meals for ourselves. Nichole had her fill of root vegetables, and JM ate more bone marrow in this one dinner than he probably has in the past decade.
This imbalance was hardly Harvest's fault; each dish was exemplary on its own. Furthermore, that they were able to assemble so many dishes using seasonal ingredients in the dead of Wisconsin winter speaks to their skill. And we've been to Harvest once before, in May, when spring bounty made for a deliciously varied and fresh menu.
The amuse was a parsnip soup with parsley oil - creamy and rich.
Nichole's second course in her all-taproot meal was celeriac soup with truffled dumplings. The dumplings were very rich, slightly crunchy yet tender.
The pork osso buco was mwah-tender. The risotto soaked up the jus well and sustained the dish with a different texture.
The venison came atop a bed of braised red cabbage and - surprise - pureed parsnips. The cutting flavors of the cabbage and the accompanying cocoa espresso sauce were refreshing. The venison itself was fork-tender, lightly seared and very delicious.
JM's hanger steak was, again, tender and juicy. The portion was so generous as to be almost boring by the end. But everything on the plate was delicious, including the utterly buttery bone marrow custard, which is not something JM likes to think about all that often.
Our meals concluded with Harvest's customary biscuits.
Here's a weird thing we observed: there were ten mixed-gender couples seated in the dining room. The tables are arranged with a bench along each side wall and a chair with its back to the center aisle.
Without fail, in each of these ten instances including our own, the woman sat on the bench and the man sat in the chair facing the wall. That's very unlikely to happen randomly, according to JM the stats geek. We're unsure if the prospect of the awkward formality of having the chair held for them encouraged the women to sit on the bench or what, but it was odd. We asked our gracious server if he knew why it would happen that way, and he said he hadn't noticed...we're betting he does now. And hoping it's not driving him a little crazy.