Monday, January 28, 2013

Late Harvest Kitchen - Revisit


 This one is tough for me. I love the interior of this place and I love that someone has made the effort to get a higher end independent restaurant in this part of town. It is close to my house, and I wish it could be a go to restaurant for us.  We had a pretty good meal the last time we were there, after a couple of disappointing ones, but this last one sort of fell back into the realm of disappointing.

We started out with a fried chicken liver appetizer ($10). I think I mentioned recently how much I like chicken livers, and deep frying them certainly doesn’t hurt.  This was the best course we had of the savory dishes by far, but it had a couple of issues too.  There was a lot of the crunchy batter on them—almost too much on a lot of them.  I felt like I was eating batter mostly and occasionally got a little bit of the liver.  There were a couple of meaty bites and when you got one of those, they were really good—but unfortunately they were sort of few and far between. I loved the potato chips they were served on top of—great potato flavor and crisp crunch. And the drizzle of thin ranch-type dressing added a needed moisture element and a nice slightly sour contrast in flavor.  It was a huge portion of fried food, and even between the two of us, we didn’t finish it.
For my main dish, I had the chicken thighs ($22.00) which were done in a slightly sweet Creole type barbeque kind of sauce.  They were served over cheesy grits.  I really enjoyed the grits, but the chicken was just too heavy and rich for me—and honestly I think one of the thighs was a little undercooked.  This dish was a good example of why I have a hard time with Late Harvest—so many of the dishes (pretty much all of them in the winter) and just really rich and heavy and not really balanced.  We also had a side of the garlic fries ($8) which I liked quite a bit—they are very large cut fries and really well done. Crispy on the outside with lots of garlic.  But again, a gigantic portion—I think it could have fed at least 4 people as a side.

Hubby’s dish was the most disappointing I think. He had swordfish with what was described as salsa verde and a fried egg ($29). It made me realize there is officially something that I don’t like an egg on top of. It just wasn’t right.  And we were intrigued by the “salsa verde,” but what we got was pretty much a puree of parsley.  Honestly, it tasted like grass.  Hubby instantly scraped it all off.  It needed acid, big time, as well as some other ingredients because all you could taste was parsley. It was like pesto made of parsley (and an egg according to the server) and, well, nothing else.   There was just nothing about either entrée that made it stand out. They seemed heavy, and flat.

We knew we could somewhat redeem the meal by ordering dessert—one of the best things going at Late Harvest is the Sticky Toffee Pudding ($8).  I have talked about it before I think, but it is one of the most well done, true to authentic English sticky toffee pudding that I have ever had in the U.S.  It is a really moist square of cake that is covered in a warm toffee sauce and served with whipped cream.  They do it well, and this was no exception.  Sadly, I am to the point where I am thinking that maybe Late Harvest may be a good option for dessert and an after dinner drink (nice dessert wine selection), but I think I will have a hard time getting hubby through the door again for dinner.  The food was pretty off, and the server was a little know-it-all-ish with us, assuming we knew nothing about anything on the menu (this is a big pet peeve of mine).  There was one conversation that went like this:

Hubby (to me): “Oh look, they have cassoulet on the menu.”
Me: “You should order it.” (He really likes it).
Server: “Are you familiar with cassoulet?”

Really? Would we be having this conversation if we had no clue what it was?  Anyway, much of the service went this way, and I found it kind of annoying.  If I don’t know what something is, I will ask. Or if you want to say, “Do you have any questions about the menu?” that is fine too. Don’t just assume people are clueless. Ok, that’s my rant.  Overall, I am sad that we don’t like this place more because like I said, it is a really nice interior and a great location for me.  But I just am not seeing it.

Late Harvest Kitchen
8605 River Crossing
Indy 46240
317/663-8063

9 comments:

  1. I am so glad to see your review on this place. We went about a year ago. My entree was good but the boy didn't care for his and he was also extremely disappointed in the beer selection. If I remember right, our server was a little smug as well. We almost went with some friends Saturday and after seeing your review, I'm glad we didn't. 

    On a different topic, I just had to schedule a caterer for a work function and based on your multiple rave reviews, contacted Brad Gates Catering. The event isn't until next month but so far the experience has been good. Wonderful communication and customer service.

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  2. That is my biggest pet peeve about dining out. The whole experience can be ruined by a server thinking you don't know anything. I had one of the best meals in my life at a restaurant in Chicago recently but it was all ruined because the server asked me "have you ever even tried bone marrow before?" And I replied "Yes I have actually roasted it myself". Grrr!

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  3. In my 52 years I've had about 2 pieces of swordfish that were really good.

    I think 99% of the time swordfish is counterfeited.  As a matter of fact I think most fish is counterfeited.

    Other than catfish the only place I know to get real fish in Indianapolis is the walleye at Legends in Irvington.

    I often travel to Florida. Same story.

    And the swordfish I will never forget was at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station in New York.  Wow as that good and it was 20 -25 years ago.

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  4. Your review makes me sad because I really want this place to thrive! Granted we've only been for dinner once (and it was for Northside Nights), but we really enjoyed our meal.  Had a great server and a good bottle of wine.  For us, it's a 'special occasion' type of place.  I'll let you know how future meals go for us!

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  5. I think LHK is thriving just fine -- I would be really surprised if they're struggling.  They are packed.  All the time.  And while Erin and disagree on this one, her opinion is still as valid -- and I commend her for putting it out there.   I have had a couple of really great meals at LHK lately -- but Erin and I have had this discussion before and she hasn't.  That's cool.  (And she and I totally agree re: pet peeves w/r/t service.)  But I don't think LHK is in any danger of calling it quits -- even when they are off, they are so much better than most of the alternatives on the northside. 

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  6. Agree with you Renee that they do not seem to be hurting for business--

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  7. hope your Brad Gates meal goes well, I would love to hear!

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  8.  Sadly, I would agree with Erin and not with Renee on LHK.  I've probably been about 5 or 6 times since its been open and I would guess that 2/3 of the time, I've left unsatisfied.  A very good meal once or twice but most of the time there is something off about this place! 
    Funny story, the last time I was here the owner of the real estate that LHK and Ocean Prime sit on was there.  I know him from the gym.  He was raving about LHK but he had dinner at Ocean Prime.

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  9. A friend referenced this post last night and I had to come and look because I said pretty much the same thing about our visit there a few weeks ago.  We went on a Friday and I'd say the crowd was pretty good but it wasn't packed.  Our server was kind of a jerk, super patronizing and not efficient enough to back it up, our food was just okay, there was some weirdness with the drinks.  I love the interior, too, but I don't think it's enough to get me back there.  

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Thanks, Erin