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Harvest in Madison, an uneven Sat. evening

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We made our first visit to Harvest a couple of weeks ago. I've been mulling it over for awhile. First, let me say that I'm not as well versed in fine dining as many on this board, but I do okay.

Overall, the food was at times spectacular. Braised halibut with chive pesto and brisket with polenta were our entrees, both were excellent. And good things to put on a menu for Sat. night when things get crazy. They'll hold.

But, in my opinion, both suffered from skimpiness on the plate. Seriously, the halibut was listed with green beans - and there were 4 green beans? The layer of polenta with the brisket was an 1/16 of an inch thick across a large, flat bowl. With au jus, the polenta was simply flavorless. On the other hand, knowing their focus on local, we had a cheese plate for dessert, which came in one size, way too much for 2 people. The first courses, a salad and a white gazpacho were good and perfectly proportioned. Just seemed that some things were not well thought out.

Service was spotty. It was clear at one point that something had gone wrong in the kitchen. When the hostess is literally running food thru the dining room, well, something went boom. Essentially, it looked like they got slammed on a Sat. night and couldn't handle it. Our amusee was dropped off at the table and staff was gone. I still don't know what it was. Our waiter disappeared for half and hour. It was 45 minutes between first course and entree. The cheese plate was described by maker, no reference to the type of cheese, except for the bleu, which was obviously blue.

I'll put in the usual disclaimer that busy Saturday nights can have problems, but

Beautiful room, some very good food, and problems. I want to go back. But, I don't think I can risk a Saturday night.

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