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Thoughts on Harvest in Harvard Square?

I'm thinking of going to Harvest when some family is in town and I was surprised to see fairly mixed reviews on Zagat. Mentions were inconsist food and experience, especially given the price.

So I'm reaching out to my fellow Chowhounds to see if it's worth the trip and the $$$.

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  1. I haven't been back since the regime change in the kitchen, but my past experiences there have been ok, but not earth-shattering. Unless there's been a substantial improvement, I'd say you could do better in terms of both value and pure quality.

    Places I prefer in the same general neighborhood: Chez Henri, Rialto, Upstairs on the Square (especially the Monday Club Bar).

    1 Reply
    1. re: finlero

      I agree entirely. Meh.

      I'd add Casablanca and Oleana to that list (i know oleana isn't really in the nabe).

    2. Skip it. Had a bad experience there during restaurant week. As soon as we asked for the restaurant week menu, it seemed that the server was disappointed that we wouldn't be spending the big bucks. The portions were ridiculously small, the quality of the food was below average and the attitude from the server sealed the deal.

      Haven't been back since.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Frank Enbean

        Since when has RW ever been a good measure of a restaurant?

        I would say that it is one of the best upscale places this side of the river. We have been there three times since Mary Dumont took over, and have had three consistently good meals. The foie appetizer is a great preparation and the short rib in the beef duo is melt in your mouth.

        Out of town guests love the place, and usually ask to go back when we take them to Harvest. The bar is one of the best in the square. My only criticism lately is that the back dining room is a bit dated. However they are closing in mid-Feb for renovations.

        We will be there for Valentines Day (yes I venture out as we celebrate a birthday as well that day). I will report back on that fixed menu offering, however I would not hesitate to take your family there when they are in town and enjoy.

      2. I'd say it's higher than meh, and I'm always fine expensing a meal there or having a snack and a few beers in the bar.

        You can do better - what's the criteria for the dinner?

        1. I have found the food to be consistently good, and like the bar a lot: it's a great place for a quick meal (excellent burger and fries) and a well-made cocktail. The patio out back is really pleasant, with heaters that allow you to sit outside even in cooler weather.

          Two issues: a) the menu isn't particularly ambitious, doing a somewhat generic New American with local ingredients thing, and b) the prices are a tad much for what they're doing, e.g., $30 for a piece of monkfish. The 3-course prix fixe brunch is also very good, and probably not worth the $33.

          Overall, a reliable place, gouging a bit because they know they can count on a lot of those well-paid Harvard faculty and staff not to be bothered to get out of the Square for a quiet, competent fine-dining meal.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I have had dinner there since Mary Dumont took over. The chestnut wild mushroom and amaretto agnolotti (sp) are too die for. For those who do not know...Mary Dumont was a food and wine magazine best new chef two years ago and she has a pretty impressive resume. I would give her another chance if you have not had the best experience. Remember she has only been there a short time and it takes time for a chef to work it out in a new restaurant.

            http://seacoastauction.com/news/04052...

            1. re: admiralackbar

              While Mary Dumont's resume was impressive (she's cooked under some very well known chefs), a dinner I had there in Oct was (imho) not up to the expectations set by her resume.

              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/450611

          2. Thought Harvest was quite good on my most recent lunchtime trip:

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/445502

            2 Replies
            1. re: bachslunch

              Sounds like the reviews are matching what I've heard which is that it's a mixed bag. I totally agree about Chez Henri, but they don't take rezo's which has always made it more difficult. Thanks all for the advice.

              1. re: InNOutBurger

                Chez Henri does take reservations for parties of 6 or more.