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Harvest Vine

My wife and I visited Harvest Vine on Friday, January 13th. We were visiting from Los Angeles, mixing business and pleasure in beautiful Seattle. We decided, after much favorable reviews on this board, to check out Harvest Vine. DISAPPOINTING is my first thought, second only to AWFUL. We had 3ozs of tasteless cheese, stale & oily olives, salty mushrooms straight out of a can & a tuna appetizer that tasted like, well, miracle whip and canned tuna served on a Ritz cracker! The cafeteria nachos on the ferry ride to Bainbridge topped this place....what gives Seattle?

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  1. That really surprises me. Granted, it's been about 2 years since I've been to Harvest Vine, but the 3 times I visited were all outstanding. I'd be interested to hear from others who have been more recently.

    1. Mahimahi, don't believe everything you read on the board...i've had mixed experiences at Harvest Vine so it's not on my short list

      1. I'm also surprised -- in fact, flabbergasted. I regularly eat at Harvest Vine. As at any restaurant, there is the occasional lapse. But, in general, I find the food there consistently excellent and carefully prepared, and regard Harvest Vine as one of Seattle's best restaurants. Apparently, you limited your selections to cheeses and cold tapas. I don't know what kind of cheese you chose. Normally they have a couple of sheep's milk cheeses, a couple of goat's milk cheeses, and couple of cow's milk cheeses. I'm puzzled by the comment about "oily" olives. The menu clearly states that the olives are marinated, and the marinades for olives typically include oil. I think the stars of the Marvest Vine menu are the hot tapas, which change regularly depending on the availability of ingreients (such as fresh sardines flown in from Spain). It's too bad you didn't try any. By the way, I divide my time between Los Angeles and Seattle, and think that Harvest Vine is better than any Los Angeles restaurant for Spanish and Basque cuisine. Joseba Jimenez de Jimenez is to Spanish and Basque cuisine what Gino Angellini (a Los Angeles chef) is to Italian cuisine.

        1. have to agree with MahiMahi, I tried giving Harvest Vine a few tries, everytime we went it was disappointing, I tried combatting all the rave reviews, but they got too numberous and people would try "proving me wrong" whenever I would post a report saying it wasn't as good as people say.

          1. Ocho is pretty kick ass and half the price.

            1 Reply
            1. re: landguy

              I have only lived in Seattle a year and was looking for a nice place for dinner. After some research, including on this board, I decided to give Harvest Vine a try. There were many good recommendations and my wife and I both love Spanish food – as we have spent a great deal of time in Spain including living there. But don’t think that we are judging this place based on what we have had in Spain and is therefore an unfair comparison because we have had really good tapas/Spanish food in the US as well.

              So here are my thoughts. We were very disappointed. The wine list was very good and we did enjoy the gazpacho (we both thought that was the best thing we ate all night). So I would give those both an A. After that things went considerably down hill. The rest of our items were just simply not good. Sure the presentation was pretty which was documented in one post from the “perceptor” with all kinds of pictures. But the taste? It was completely average to below average. There was also the aspect of texture – almost everything we ate was a soft mushiness except for some crispiness on the top of the scallops. Everything we ate, save the gazpacho, was completely uninspired cooking if you ask me. I will comment that the service was good but not great as well. Overall my rating is a C. When you factor in the price and therefore what I call the “Value Quotient” then their rating drops to C-. I have spent $500+ on special meals and consider them bargains given the overall food quality and dining experience but on value alone this place really disappointed. The next time you want Spanish food get a copy of “The Foods and Wines of Spain” by Penelope Cases and make something out of that. It will be great and about a third of the cost. We will not return to harvest Vine.

            2. We have chose to dine there three times in the past year. Each time was on a sunday night, when the chef was not in house. We sat at the bar facing the cooks and interacted with them and had a nice evening. The price can be expensive if you go wild and order nice wines to go with each dish. Keep it simple and order a nice bottle and don't go by the glass. We will go back soon. Fun time!

              1. I think Harvest Vine appeals to a certain type of Chowhound. My friends who frequent Applebee's don't care for it. Those Hounds that like Made-In-Kitchen, Quinns, etc, love Harvest Vine. Fortunately there are enough Puget Sound destinations for the Applebee's crowd while Harvest Vine continues to be packed every night.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Walters

                  I have to disagree, I love Quinns, Made-In-Kitchen, etc (as well as, Corson Building, Matt's, 35th St Bistro, etc etc) and will not return to Harvest Vine. Please don't put people who don't care for HV in with the Applebee's (chain-needing) crowd.

                  1. re: Walters

                    I, too, really hate this kind of generalization. Please believe that sometimes people have a bad experience at a generally good restaurant, or just don't like what that restaurant does. If I have a less-than-wonderful dinner at Harvest Vine (or How to Cook a Wolf, as I did last weekend), it doesn't mean I would rather be at Applebee's. Not everyone's taste or experience is the same, and that's what makes this board interesting!

                    1. re: Freida

                      Freida, Your point is well taken. However, the concept of Chowhound is to "push the edge" well past the Zagat crowd. Given that, most Zagat people would not appeciate Harvest Vine's more edgy dishes. (Like blood sausage with onion compote.) Frankly, they should stick to PF Chang's.

                      1. re: Leper

                        well Applebee's people are not the same thing as Zagat's people anyway. I really like Harvest Vine, have never liked Union, and GASP, I don't like blood sausage. But I liked Corson and How to Cook a Wolf. I have never been to Applebee's. I am without boundaries!

                        1. re: Leper

                          i have to agree with cocktailhour, i loved How to Cook a Wolf, Corson Building, Art of the Table, Elemental etc... however my bad experiences with awful service (on multiple occasions) along with just ok food? doesn't make it worthy of my time. Leper you crack me up if you think tapas "push the edge", seeing how that's what everyone and their mother is doing these days.

                          1. re: Leper

                            Leper, this has nothing to do with "edgy" dishes, and everything to do with service and execution. I may love blood sausage or octopus, but if the service is bad or the chef has an off night, I am still allowed to be displeased.

                            And what, may I ask, defines a "Zagat" person?

                            1. re: Freida

                              Freida, Per Chowound's Mission statement: Zagat people go where they are told; Chowhounds find the best places on their own.

                              1. re: Walters

                                Actually, the manifesto says "Foodies" go where they're told. And if we all found the good places on our own, why would we be here?

                                In any case, I find Zagat's very handy as an address book for restaurants, and if you don't like it, I really don't care.

                      2. We live two blocks from HV, so go there fairly often for dinner. When we try and put a dinner together, we often feel disappointed. Our way to ensure success at HV is to sit at the bar and ask whoever is cooking what they would recommend. We rarely order for ourselves, and have been a lot happier with our meals there lately. Also, some of their best dishes are ones that appear really unexciting. I am in love with their cauliflower and their beet salad. I could see going to Harvest Vine, ordering a lot of (expensive) dishes and feeling like "what's the big deal." But the right dishes in the right order at HV is awesome and truly excellent.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: blue2000

                          I'm glad to see my post has stirred this much debate. Whether you are an Applebee's lover or a Harvest Vine lover all that really matters is that you enjoy your dining experience – the food, atmosphere and company. Personally, I have had some great dining experiences ranging from eating grossly oversized burritos sitting on the street curb with friends after a late night out to eating at the kitchen table at Charlie Trotter’s. So, don’t be a hater – just voice your honest opinion. Do so because people like me come to this board for insight regarding a restaurant. As far as Harvest Vine goes, I think a visitor will simply have to realize that there are people on both sides of the debate here and they may have to actually go there and make a decision about the place on their own. Vive la Différence!