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Mar 23, 2014 05:22 PM

Harvest 18 in Durham, NC near Southpoint now open

Opened 3/22/14. This restaurant is a rare find in the Southpoint area. I started with an Apple Sangria that was DELICIOUS. I moved on to Sunny Creek Lettuces, which was very good. The meatloaf is AMAZING. The homemade worcestershire sauce is what moves this review from 4 stars to 5 stars. Since it was my first visit, I felt obligated to try a dessert and the pound cake with cinnamon icing was well worth the calories. I'm thrilled to have this restaurant nearby (in an area full of chain restaurants) and will be visiting often.

Thanks Jason for coming to South Durham. I can't wait to visit again.

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  1. Ate at Harvest 18 with Lulu and a few other local Hound friends. I really enjoyed the meal. Started with a chilled cucumber soup - for me this part was ok but nothing too special, somewhat bland. But we shared a red pea hummus for the table and L and I liked that one a lot. They brought out plates of large ravioli filled with short ribs - Lulu was all over that; she had an extra one and I think would happily have eaten the whole thing (despite having a stomach ache at the time). I got the farro with mushrooms, goat cheese, and cherry tomatoes which seemed to have a sort of pesto/basil vinaigrette and was delicious. Lulu got the grilled cheese off the kids menu and tore into it (so much for that stomach ache). I think everyone else at the table was happy with their meals too. Nice atmosphere - I'm looking forward to going again. Hope they change the menu regularly, which I assume they'll do since the whole concept is to cook what is local and in season.

    One tip to the chef/menu planner: there are a lot of pescatarians out here who don't eat pork. To have most of the fish dishes include a pork element gives us a lot less choice.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LulusMom

      A locally owned place in the Chapel Hill/Durham area that is actually open on a Monday (and Sunday I think). Thought I'd start with that before I forget to mention it.. anyways...

      I was one of those hounds. I had eaten from Harvest 18 before and was a little underwhelmed that time. This time was much better. I also had the chilled soup and though it was bland, it was also refreshing (as cucumber can be) for the warm days we have been having. The ravioli was a nice addition on slate (I don't quite know the purpose of using slate for serving is) and was compliments of the chef. It was tasty but was mostly like a meat bolognese inside a pasta dough. I had the the well known meat loaf which Shelec has a picture of above. I believe this is also at one of his other restaurants since he also has Cantina 18 and 18 Seaboard under his restaurant group.

      The chef does go to farmers markets pretty often. I don't know that the menu will change a whole lot though. I think that the small things will change so that the salad that night may have had blueberries now, but as blueberry season moves on they will be replaced with something else rather than a whole new dish. I'm saying that for the majority of plates. There will definitely be some completely new dishes but I don't think that will happen until the chef and crew have had time to play around with what becomes local during a given season (assuming all crops do well each year). No one had room or time for dessert as it was getting on in the evening and we have a little one who loved what was going on and really enjoyed some pureed cucumber and pureed sweet potato the chef was nice to give us, but needed to go to sleep.

      Sorry my grammar is horrible. To summarize, in an area that is full of chains (some good some bad but wholly generic), I'm glad that this place exists as standby. My only nitpicks are that they need way more pita bread with the hummus and that it took a bit of time between the apps and the mains and between handing the bill off to be processed and then having it returned. Though this could have been due to the fact that the place got busy not long after our start time of 5:30 and thats on a Monday.

    2. FYI - I have been 3 times now (I live quite close by) and have seen the menu change a decent amount. There are some items that are always on the menu (meatloaf, shrimp & grits), but have definitely seen some changes. I have a friend that went 2 nights in a row and she saw pretty significant changes between those 2 nights. The desserts don't seem to change and the drinks seem a little more consistent as well.

      2 Replies
      1. re: shelec

        Harvest 18 was at Farm to Fork. I don't remember their dish, but I remember that it stood out enough to put it om my list of new places to try.

        1. re: Tom from Raleigh

          Jason Smith has done F2F since its inception, I believe. He's always gone under the 18 Seaboard marquee but I'm sure he went under the Harvest 18 tag this year to promote the new restaurant. He's been a huge proponent of local and seasonal foods from the get-go and in the years that I did still go to F2F he always put up a good showing.

          I may be wrong on this, but it seems to me that since he opened Harvest 18, the menu at 18 Seaboard has gotten a little more adventurous. I've always felt that Smith, who trained under Ben Barker and Danny Meyer, was capable of much more than he lets you see in his restaurants. 18 Seaboard has terrific execution, but the menu is "safe." Here's hoping that with the focus of Harvest 18 as a neighborhood place, the Raleigh restaurant will become a touch more experimental.

      2. Sad to report about a disappointing meal I had at Harvest 18 on Friday. I got a chilled cucumber soup with blue crab as a first. It had a really unfortunate ammonia taste and smell, and a bitter finish. No other discernible flavors. It was the least enjoyable thing I've tasted in a restaurant in the past year. For an entree I got the shrimp and blue corn grits. The grits were a grey, gummy mass on a plate, with a consistency so thick it held up my knife vertically. Less like polenta, more like a thick, grey, gritty, flavorless paste. There was some plain boiled peeled shrimp on top. The dish comes with a bacon marmalade, which I asked them to leave off, but seriously all the bacon in the world couldn't have saved this dish. On the plus side, I got a really good mandarin orange mojito, and my dining companion liked his mahi mahi

        I hate to complain about a small, locally owned farm to fork restaurant. I love the concept of the place, and the location is very convenient for me. Just wish they were serving food I wanted to eat.

        3 Replies
        1. re: durhamois

          Eeek, what a shame. Those grits sound appalling. I also found the cucumber soup to be fairly bland and boring (but mine didn't have the crab ... at least if it did it didn't offer much taste). But I was lucky enough to have a really great entree. I do wish they'd offer more dishes without pork, because I always feel like if a chef has made something to go with pork then it is going to be missing something when the pork is left off. I hope this was just a bad night - I've been wanting to get LulusDad to go since my good experience a couple of weeks ago.

          1. re: durhamois

            Tell me you brought these to their attention. There's no way they should be able to get away with that.

            1. re: bbqme

              Under normal circumstances I would have, but I was meeting up with a friend I hadn't seen in a year who lives in Europe, and my evening wasn't really about the food. Plus, there was nothing I could think of asking them to do that would have saved the dish (it wasn't like an undercooked piece of meat or fish that could be returned to the fire), and there wasn't really anything else on the menu I wanted to order. So I just decided to focus on my dining companion and my cocktail, both of which I was really happy with.