Harvest of Harvard Square - Over 4 decades of sublime seasonal fare

By Charleen - November 03, 2019

Harvest, est. 1975 
Cambridge, MA USA. 

Harvest is the perfect place to meet for a great meal, classy and quiet enough for conversation. This 44-year old restaurant prides itself on serving contemporary, seasonal dishes. We thoroughly enjoyed the beautifully plated and creative flavors melding fresh fruits and vegetables to enhance perfectly cooked, locally sourced meats. 

After a delayed flight to Boston on a rainy, blustery New England halloween evening, we headed straight to Harvest to meet up with our daughter. What a treat! From the very first section of the menu to the end, it was difficult to decide what to order. Everything was delicious.

We were able to try three of the four Autumn Salads. The preserved plum, apple and lime added bright sweet-tart flavors to the rich spices of the roasted, caramelized cauliflower on its own bed of smooth tangy hummus. Indeed, I was so enthralled with my selection, that I forgot to request a taste of the other distinctive dishes on the table.
Since my husband had been bonding with my daughter's suitemate over summer jobs spent detasseling corn, it was not surprising that he enjoyed his chilled sweet corn panna cotta. Topped with red quinoa and cornbread crumbs, this savory custard was warmed by smoky-sweet hints of bacon, smoked gouda, cherry tomatoes, and sweet peppers.

Our daughter seemed to thoroughly enjoy her baby beets salad, served with gorgeous, huge peach slices over fresh stracciatella cheese. Stracciatella is a rich, slightly sweet, buffalo milk cheese that is best known as the creamy filling inside burrata. Smoked pecans, a bourbon gastrique (bourbon infused reduction of vinegar and sugar) and mint leaves rounded out this beautiful dish.
Our entrées were equally varied, both visually and flavorwise, disappearing rapidly to cleaned plates with every flavorful garnish and every drop of artistically arranged, colorful sauce consumed.  

My dish of Arcadian redfish fillets and scallops (they were out of seafood sausage) was artfully plated with a delightful melange of sauces. The bold red-orange stripe of sweet pepper rouille and dots of raisin caper purée, perfectly complemented the seafood and eggplant caponata.
As I finished cleaning my plate while my daughter was still working on her huge 12 oz Brandt Prime Beef Striploin, I did get a taste of her tender steak. It was served with a ratatouille, cherry tomatoes and rich kalamata jus. It normally comes with a Vermont creamery feta cheese, but she asked them to hold the feta.
The other option I had been considering, the whole wheat campanelle with a spicy ground veal sausage, green broccoli rabe and shaved Italian grana also looked delicious, as did the tender chicken breast from Giannone Farms, which was braised and served with a cojita stuffed pepper, radish, corn kernels and cilantro on a bed of spicy corn purée.

The desserts were likewise creative and beautifully plated, but did not stand out to the same extent as the savory dishes. While the figs were lovely at the peak of ripeness, I felt that the Figs on Brioche needed a drizzle of perhaps a balsamic vinegar glaze to tie them together with the buttery cinnamon brioche and brie ice cream, which sounded more unique than it tasted. The toast itself was formed into a ring and filled at the table with crème anglaise.
My husband enjoyed his corn cake with basil mousse, black raspberry gelée (fancy term for a jello), dark chocolate olive oil ganache, pine nuts and sweet corn ice cream, but agreed that he liked other, often simpler, sweets from nearby bakeries such as Flour or Tatte better.   
My daughter went for the chocolate réclairs, made famous by the Food Network. This éclair variant consisted of two piped chocolate choux pastries filled with coffee cream and then drizzled with caramel and dark chocolate glaçage (a mirror like icing). We noticed that all 6 people at the next table were working on the same dessert!

Overall, we had a fun and relaxing meal. I was surprised to learn that the restaurant was over 40 years old, but I had no idea it existed. As Harvest is beyond the typical student budget, work-study or otherwise, it is the perfect place to take your son or daughter and their friends. The menu is varied, creative and trendy, but would satisfy both traditionalists that love a great steak and contemporary sensibilities with its locavore focus on ethical sourcing. 

44 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA 
Open 7 days a week
🐾 Check their website for times, as there is a break between lunch/brunch and dinner service

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