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Jan 30, 2009 03:06 PM

Jfoods visit Harvest Supper (New Canaan) - Delicious

What a wonderful place to enjoy a meal with friends and family. Grace Lamb, the owner, and MOD is a gracious, welcoming and perfect hostess. She welcomes you with open arms upon arrival and ensures a relaxing and pleasant evening throughout the meal. Numerous restaurants could learn from this exceptional restaurateur.

This was Jfood's first visit (with Mrs. Jfood and a little Jfood) after passing the building on numerous occasions. The first item of note is a re-decorated interior. The décor now suits the name and is reminiscent of colonial America with updates. It has lots of wood, maroon walls; paintings of 1700’s, just a relaxing place in a town that reminds Jfood of a Norman Rockwell painting. Perfect setting. And the size reminds Jfood of a large family room, with tables that only seat 35-40.

And the food is delicious. The menu is now divided into appetizer and entrée sections (plus a five course tasting menu for $50 for dinner), although Jfood would caution that the chef’s plating size is still not in the entrée category for some of the dishes, but he will get to that later.

Mrs Jfood ordered the Bibb salad with pear and walnuts as an appetizer (SOS), little Jfood ordered the Agnoletti, Jfood ordered the Tasting Menu and the ladies ordered the Hanger Steak and Short Ribs for their entrée. The tasting menu consisted of the Sunchoke soup, the Bibb salad, the sausage stuffed squid, the hanger/short rib combo and a pear cheesecake.

The Sunchoke soup was delightful. A beautiful display of creamy pureed sunchokes with a small amount of fresh yogurt swimming on top. Scattered over the top were deep fried garlic chips. Jfood would give this dish a solid 9.

The Bibb salad arrived sans walnuts due to allergy and this was the disappointment of the night. The salad was way too overdressed to the point of Jfood squinting when he bit into the bibb/dressing combo. Likewise the pears were nicely diced, but lacked any flavor. Jfood could only give this dish a 3.

The sausage stuffed squid brought the smile immediately back onto Jfood's face. The dish consisted of small black lentils in a beautifully rich sauce with several 60-count shrimp and 2 26-30 count shrimp. On top were three 2” cylinders of squid stuffed with sausage and a few extra pieces of sausage floating around. The flavors just exploded in Jfood's mouth. The richness of the sauce, the sweetness of the shrimp, the soft pillowy sausage (Jfood has never felt this type of sausage texture before) with wonderful flavor and the slight give in the squid. It was a wonderful dish of contrast of textures and deep in flavors. Jfood gives this dish a solid 10.

The three entrees arrived. The first thing Jfood should mention is that the size was very petite for an entrée sized portion. And for $24 Jfood considered it somewhat overpriced since it looked bare on the plate. But to the flavors, they were outstanding. The short rib was tongue tender and must have braised for hours, yet, even with the tenderness, it maintained its integrity. The flavor were fantastic, deep, full flavored and fantastic. If Jfood has to mention one mini-drawback, his piece must have been a “floater” in the braise since one side of the piece was a little burnt. The size was small probably 1.5-2 oz at best. The hangar steak was sliced and was topped with a small amount of mustard seeds. It was cooked to Jfood desire of MR (i.e. warm red in the middle). The mustards seeds worked really well with the meat. Jfood two mini-dings would be that the time between plating and service caused the edges to turn cool and the portion size was very small, probably 1.5-2 oz as well. So for flavor, Jfood gives the dish a 10, but overall with the burnt edge on one and the coolness on the other, he would have to reduce to a 7-8. Mrs Jfood and little Jfood also commented on the mini-portion size.

Jfood's dessert arrived. There was a nice round ricotta cheesecake with a small, poached pear (about the size of a golf ball) and some pear crème. The three Jfood shared this and it was very good. This would definitely receive a 9 on the Jfood scale.

Service started spotty but upticked to perfect. The waiter was having a little difficulties in the beginning but the waitress stepped in and was great and Grace checked-in several times.

Overall, this was a delightful evening, with delicious food in a very relaxing environment. Jfood will definitely add to the rotation.

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  1. I've had that sausage stuffed squid my last 3 times there...the first two times it was over lentils, the last time with black rice and piquillo peppers...all three times it was amazing. Strangely, we all enjoyed the over-dressed salad...I completely agree that it was overdressed, but for us, it somehow worked!
    I agree with your comment regarding the size of the newly designated entrees...many of them were on the small side and many of them didn't seem like a "complete" dish. I noticed some people at the next table who clearly hadn't been there before looking very surprised when their entrees were set before them. The squid was a very nice portion as an entree and also the ravioli dish they had the last time we were. The hangar steak and short rib combo could have used another element to round it out.
    As I've mentioned before, I loved when it was all small plates, but regardless of how they set up their menu, the food has always been incredible.

    4 Replies
    1. re: sibeats

      This place sounds interesting and I'd like to give it a go but I'm if I go hungry it sounds like I'll still be hungry when I leave?! Reading previous posts on this place it seems like their small plates idea did not take off so they transitioned into a more traditional app-entree-dessert menu BUT it seems the size of the dishes never changed from the original small plates menu? Therefore bang for the buck-wise still a place to check out? Thanks...

      1. re: Scotty100

        No, the size of the plates definitely changed, but I wouldn't consider them large portions. That being said, I've never left there being anywhere close to hungry. But if you are the kind of people that like to go out and have a huge steak, it's not the place for you.

        Here's a couple of prior reviews before they went "mainstream" with the menu.

        I have to say I was extremely surprised the last time we went and found out that they changed the menu concept. It was the one place we have been to many times that the small plate concept seemed to work really well. There was no sharing pushed, you just ordered 2-3 small plates. They also offered side dishes and still do.

        Regardless of the menu change, the food is amazing, Grace Lamb is a warm and wonderful hostess and it's just a really nice place. Personally I think it is the best food in Fairfield County. Definitely try it, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

        1. re: sibeats

          Sibeats - I definitely want to try it. I'm not the type that looks for a huge portion- I'm actually a big fan of small plates...for me there's nothing better than a selection of tapas and a good bottle of wine. I was just wondering if they had moved their prices to the reflect the move to the more standard menu but kept the amount of food at the small plates level. That would represent poor value no matter how good the cooking.

          1. re: Scotty100

            The size of the plates definitely increased, as did the prices. but not out of line IMO. I do remember the small plates all being extremely well priced. I didn't look too carefully this last time, so I can't tell you how much they increased. Regardless, I still think it is an excellent value and excellent food. Give it a try and report back!

    2. sounds good.
      deb and i seem to "collect" comfortable places. we'll give it a shot.

      3 Replies
      1. re: steve h.

        Was the place crowded? Think we'll need reservations? Thanks for the post jfood!

        1. re: christinepierce

          Definitely make reservations. The times we've been on weekends they were turning people away at the is a very small place.

          1. re: christinepierce

            it seats 38 and on a thursday nightthere were 15-20 all in.

            on weekends you definitely need a reservation

        2. thanks for the detailed review.
          is it still BYO? and if so, what is the cork fee?

          6 Replies
          1. re: missmar79

            Nope, they have their liquor license now, fully operational!

            1. re: missmar79

              i read recently that they now have a wine license.

              1. re: steve h.

                My husband and I ate dinner there last night and really enjoyed it. I don't know why it took us so long to get over to New Canaan to try it out. Compared to the other restaurants in the area, it's on a different scale. So far, Harvest Supper and Pasta Nostra (in SoNo) are restaurants worth mentioning for something different, special and a standout. Yes, they have an extensive wine menu. We started with a glass of Champagne to wet our palette as we reviewed the menu. They offer a $50 tasting menu, which included 5 courses, I think. It's quite a deal but we opted to order a la carte. I started with the crispy oysters and my husband ordered the foie gras. I love oysters and usually prefer them raw but the dish was nice nonetheless. After I took a bite of my husband's foie gras, the dish quickly disappeared. I guess my husband enjoyed it. For our mains my husband ordered the crispy short ribs/hangar steak and I went for the lamb loin. It was a brief toss up between the lamb loin and the sausage stuffed squid but, especially in the winter, I try to eat as much lamb as I can get. My lamb loin came with lamb sausage, crispy lamb belly and a pickled vegetable that I had never eaten before. We asked Grace what it was and she said that it's called Crosne in French. It's part of the tuber family. The tart, crunchiness of the Crosne was a nice contrast to the richness of the other flavors. We washed down our meals with bottle of pinot noir from Dundee in Oregon. It was a nice simple wine that went well with my lamb and my husband's ribs/steak. We also ordered a side of the fried risotto. We originally thought a side of vegetables would be nice but I'm glad we got the risotto. It was very flavorful. My husband didn't have room for dessert but I ordered the artisansal cheese plate. It was served with couple slices of toasted bread and a tart confit of some kind. When the waiter came to clear the plate, there was nothing left. As we paid our bill, Grace brought over two small glasses and poured us some Sauternes, our favorite dessert wine. It was truly a memorable experience. Harvest Supper is one of those places that we want to go back to over and over again. I can't really say that about a lot of the other restaurants that I have tried in the Fairfield County area or even in NYC.

                1. re: lecker

                  thanks lecker,
                  i'm getting hungry.

                  1. re: lecker

                    Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Next time try the stuffed squid, it is my favorite! I agree that it is the top 3 of Ffld Cty. Have you tried the Schoolhouse at Cannondale in Wilton? If you like Harvest, you'd probably like Schoolhouse. I think I'm going to make a reservation at Harvest for tomorrow night, you got me drooling.

                    1. re: sibeats

                      I haven't tried Schoolhouse but will definitely look into it. Thanks for the tip.