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Harvest Restaurant Group - Grato, Huntley Tavern, Roots, Tabor Road Tavern, 3 West + others

I'm curious to know if people have been to m/any of the restaurants in this group. Until last week, I had only been to one (Huntley), and it was for a business lunch. I recall liking the vibe but hadn't been back. Thanks to a bizarre set of circumstances, I found myself at 3 of the group's restaurants within the last week, and since I've been discussing this with non-food pals so much, thought I'd throw it out to this crew. I’ll say up front that I’m not putting this topic up for bashing purposes…I just keep mulling my experiences over in my brain and wonder if others agree or feel otherwise. Please weigh in and tell me if I’m missing something!

Overall, here’s my take: they’re a) trying too hard, b) trying to be something they’re not, and c) overpriced (more in Summit than at the others) than they should be based on the food.

Their ‘structure’ is to have two waiters working together per table (I dined as 2, 3, and 4 and that was consistent)…but the waiters don’t seem to communicate with one another, so what’s the point? I ordered a drink and 2 mins later the other waiter was there asking me if I had decided on one—stuff like that.

They overoverOVER walk you through the menu and the specials. At Huntley, we wondered if we were to be taken to the kitchen for a test on how every dish that had been described was made! My biggest “WOW” was when the guy at Tabor Road Tavern told us we were “in for a great meal (that part is fine)…the food here is exceptional!” Call me crazy, but you’ve just set yourselves up for serious scrutiny when you open with that. And while the food isn’t bad, it’s not exceptional. My opinion. Caveat: we LOVED the shredded

After dinner at Tabor Road, one of my friends asked the order in which I’d rate the 3 different places, and I honestly couldn’t answer. The service at all of them bugged me, the food at all of them was fine but not even ‘terrific,’ and I loved the décor in each one. I guess I was hoping to love at least one of the overall. The IDEA of them is good…

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  1. I get a very 'corporate' vibe as well, and hate the tag-team waiter deal. I get the feeling I'm being led to conform to their idea of dining a bit.

    1. I've been to 3West and thought it was - fine. I was expecting to be wowed after all the hype but definitely wasn't. I know that no one I went there with has suggested going back and I can't even recall what I had to eat. Too many other much better, more interesting places to go to bother wasting more of money and/or time there.

      11 Replies
      1. re: flourgirl

        Been to 3West and Tabor Road, the food is decent, also VG burgers. Best part of Tabor Road is the patio in the warm weather, a great space.

        1. re: menton1

          I think it is WAY too expensive for just "decent". That's why I don't go back.

          1. re: flourgirl

            It's a pleasant dining experience. I dunno, I didn't think it was expensive. Entrees in the high teens, low 20s. That's pretty moderate in NJ, IMHO.

            1. re: menton1

              If those are the prices, they've dropped them since I was there last. I believe I recall the average entrees (at lunch) were in the high twenties. And again, it was MY opinion (and that of the diners with me) that the food was just OK and nothing we would head back there for.

              As noted, I've only been to 3West.

              1. re: flourgirl

                one of the few wonderful things about the internet is that for matters of fact, rather than opinion, the answers are just a few clicks away.

                the lunch menu, at Tabor Road: http://www.taborroadtavern.com/lunch.htm
                3 west: http://3westrest.com/menu-lunch.php

                if the prices were in the high 20's at some point, i'd say they went through quite a transition.

                1. re: tommy

                  Right -. so that MUST mean that the prices were never higher than that? There was a little thing that happened along the way called a recession? Remember that? But no, it couldn't POSSIBLY be true that they reduced their prices - as SO many other restaurants have had to, in a very bad economic downturn.

                  And the fact remains that I work hard for my money, and even at their CURRENT prices, it's not worth it to me., I stand by my comments that food is nothing special - and I can get better for the same prices they are charging NOW.

                  1. re: flourgirl

                    holy cow. all i did was present the menus and comment on what a transition that must have went through.

                    lots of restaurants cut their prices. in the case of this restaurant group, the cut was quite severe.

                    1. re: tommy

                      How dare you post links to menus and prices, tommy?

                      Facts are stupid things! We're all about ridiculing and critiquing restaurants based upon our experiences at / memories of them years ago, after all.

                      Now excuse me while I go clutch my pearls...

          2. re: menton1

            No burgers on the dinner menu, fyi.

            1. re: johnlockedema

              3West yes, Tabor Road, no, FYI. But those prices for Mains are still moderate.

              1. re: menton1

                I don't necessarily think the prices are out of line--until I'm done and say "Wow-that $X wasn't worth it for that dish.
                Specifics that come to mind: the acceptable but maybe 9-10oz pork chop at Huntley, which was served with mustard mashed potatoes and 4-6 snow peas--for $24.95. My very first comment was that at Bistro 55, their ginormous, STELLAR double-cut chop was...about $21-$22. Or the grapefruit and fennel salad special at Grato that was (iirc) 8.95--for a 'salad' served on a small plate (as in, bread plate-sized). And while it was fresh, it wasn't super-flavorful. Again, if the food knocks me out, I don't notice the prices. It's when I think, "Eh...HOW much was that?!?" that I start to really wonder.

                I'd be game to try Tabor Tavern again for a burger--and to sit in the front room (is the vibe less stuffy overall?), but I can't say I'm rushing to do so.

        2. We very much enjoyed Tabor Road. The mussel appetizer is to die for in my opinion, and they have a great wine list as well. Haven't had a bad entree there either, and the service was great. My wife was just back recently for her dad's birthday lunch, and had yet another great meal. I just want their mussel recipe! So good! -mJ

          1. I have been to Huntley once for lunch and Grato once for dinner. I have been to the Tabor Road Tavern 3 times in the last two months. I thought Huntley was fine. I found Grato disappointing. I have had mostly positive experiences at Tabor Road. I think the food is generally very good. The last two times I had the same thing, the beet &goat cheese appetizer and the braised short rib.Both were excellent. I do agree about the smarmy service, it's just too much. After my last dinner at Tabor Road, I was lamenting the absence of Pierre's where the food was better and the service more "natural". The wine list is interesting.

            1. Just for the record, I asked a friend who live near Tabor Road and has been going there since they opened, about 4 years ago, and the menu pricing has been just about the same throughout. If anything, some prices are about a $buck higher than when they opened. Pricing has NOT been cut to his recollection.

              As I've said, it's a decent place, decent food, and a beautiful setting, indoors and on the patio in good weather.

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