Monday, June 11, 2012

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)

Harvest-on-Hudson, 1 River Street, Hastings, NY 10706, 914-478-2800 www.harvest2000.com

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)

Sometime last year I accidentally came across the web site for this restaurant and was immediately taken with the stunning photographs of the place. I knew that I absolutely wanted us to go there but somehow, a year passed, life got busy and we never quite found the opportunity. This past weekend, however, Brian and I were celebrating our 5th anniversary and we did so with a reservation, at long last, for dinner at Harvest.

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
Located about 20 miles north of Manhattan, the town of Hastings is one of several picturesque communities that border the Hudson River and is close enough to the city for a work commute. Our drive took less than half an hour and we arrived at a restaurant and grounds every bit as stunning as the photos I'd seen.

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
The inside dining room is large and richly appointed with a brick fireplace that I imagine is so cozy on chilly evenings. We were tempted by the beautiful room but, ultimately, we wanted the view and the breeze of the river from one of the outdoor tables.

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
The web site warned that patio seating was first-come-first-serve so we arrived early and were shown to a lovely and spacious table under a market umbrella and close enough to the water to hear it lap against the boats that were moored at the dock.

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
Our waitress arrived with a basket of bread, a dish of olive oil and a specialty cocktail menu. We love getting new cocktail inspirations and happily sat back to examine our options while our new dinner companion grazed a couple of feet away.

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
My cocktail choice was the Mango Passion, a combination of Malibu mango rum, Effen vodka, mango puree and a scoop of mango sorbet floating on top. It was lip smacking good and a drink that we're bound to try and recreate at home.

Brian is a fan of bourbon drinks and a cocktail called Bite the Bullet appealed to him. It's a mixture of Bulleit bourbon, St. Germain, mint, lemon and blood orange bitters. What he's not a fan of, though, is watered down drinks and so he asked for the drink to be made without being shaken over ice and with the understanding that it would be a smaller drink. But that began an unpleasant volley between us and the bartender.
 
An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
Drink #1 arrived watered down, clearly shaken over ice and with no heed to his instructions. We sent it back. Drink #2 arrived exactly as requested and was delicious. When we had finished enjoying those, we opted to order another round but soon came to regret it. Drink #3 arrived even more heavily watered down than the first. We sent it back. Drink #4 arrived with so much bourbon in it that it was more like a shot than a cocktail. We called the manager. She investigated and apologized and removed the improperly made drinks from our bill but the unnecessary drama left a bitter taste.

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
After perusing the dinner menu, we opted to mix things up a bit. The restaurant serves all the expected favorites of fish, chicken and steak but we sometimes like to try several smaller plates instead of a large entree. We both began with the wedge salad, a classic that seems to be making a reappearance on a lot of restaurant menus. It's served with blue cheese, red onion, cucumbers and bacon and those are always a great combination of flavors.

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
Brian than chose two appetizers, rather than an entree. The plate of warm sliced breast of veal with pickled eggplant and grilled country bread was truly excellent. It was perfectly seasoned and so tender it melted in our mouths.
An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
The second appetizer was one of the evening's specials that sounded irresistible - a tempura battered soft shell crab served over corn salad. It was tasty and the corn was great but the crab was so heavily battered that it was difficult to discern any other flavor.

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
Although I'm not a vegetarian, I was quite taken with the sound of a vegetable tart with grilled portabella mushrooms, polenta, roasted plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. I make tarts at home all the time and I envisioned all those delightful sounding ingredients baked into a tart shell of some kind. What arrived, however, was a plate with two wedges of baked polenta with an overly thick layer of mozzarella cheese and a tomato sauce. The grilled mushrooms were actually quite good but this dish hardly resembled what had been described on the menu and I was disappointed.

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
We also chose to share a side dish of pancetta layered potato gratin. The outside layer was just a touch overdone but otherwise the gratin was delicious and generously portioned for a share.
An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
We also typically share a dessert and in this case we were tempted by the special which was a milk chocolate and peanut brittle ice cream cake with chocolate sauce and salted caramel. It was terrific and a great choice for a warm evening. We finished every bite and scraped every bit of delicious sauce off the plate.








An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
Tables under the covered patio
Apart from the drink debacle, we were still somewhat disappointed with the service. When we were first seated at our lovely table, our waitress was a trainee who understandably fumbled a bit but we were sympathetic. While we were enjoying our first round of cocktails, however, a few drops of rain began to fall. We knew the forecast called for a quick, passing shower and we said we'd prefer to stay where we were, under our market umbrella. The manager, however, said that was not an option since they were breaking down all the outdoor tables and folding up the umbrellas. We were moved to another outdoor table under the covered patio. It was a bit noisier and less scenic but still nice and again, we understood and went with the flow. We were seated and told that our plates, bread, water glasses, napkins, etc. would be moved over right away.

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
But 'right away' turned out to be an optimistic statement. It seemed most of the staff was pressed into service to break down the outdoor tables and once they were done, we were forgotten about. Our trainee waitress disappeared and none of our stuff was moved over. We were sitting for a long time at the new table with no drinks, bread or attention.

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
It took a somewhat terse comment to a passing waiter to remind them that we were still their customers and for service to us to begin again. The number of staff in general is high but many seemed under-trained. As we had originally believed, the rain passed quickly and the sun returned. All outdoor tables were set up again but in the process, several waiters broke several water goblets. Although the shards of glass were cleaned off the tables, they were not swept off the ground. In summer, when so many ladies wear open sandals, that seemed a dangerous risk.

An Anniversary Overlooking the Hudson (Review of Harvest-on-Hudson)
When we were leaving, there was still some light out and so we strolled down to the river's edge and sat on one of the benches to watch the sun set. And we opined as to whether or not we'd return. Admittedly, we can be strong critics and particularly because this restaurant is expensive. Normally we'd say that for the food and service at those high prices we would not return. But we've also spoken to several acquaintances who've been here and were quite pleased. And we also must admit that the beauty of both the restaurant and the view is quite compelling. And so, a second chance might be in order.

16 comments:

  1. By all appearances, this does look like a wonderful place to go. Very scenic and great looking food and drink. However, apparently the bartender was clearly having some issues. Sadly, preparing a drink is properly is not a difficult task. Sorry that was not up to standard expectation. Also, happy anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so sorry that you experience left something to be desired!

    But, happy anniversary, my dear!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, first off Happy Anniversary! Congrats on 5 years. That is amazing!

    I am sorry to hear that your dining experience wasn't all you were hoping, but perhaps it was an off night? I hope if you do return that you have better luck. The view is quite spectacular!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Looks like a beautiful day trip away from the city at a gorgeous restaurant despite the not so stellar food! The Bite the Bullet sounds good though and might make a variation with my grapefruit bitters. Happy anniversary!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love the view but sounds like it might not be worth it with all the "mishaps" you encountered!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Happy Anniversary my friend! Sorry to hear this wasn't the perfect dinner but I am sure company made up for it :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    ReplyDelete
  7. Although, I too believe that a drink should be a drink and often find myself ordering an accompnaying shot of liquor to add to my cocktail, most restaurants do not prepare drinks the way they should be, so I accept that and move on. After all, I am out to enjoy myself. With that atmosphere, I would have to try it at least one more time because if I liked it, it would inevitably be somewhere to which I would return.

    ReplyDelete
  8. First- Happy Anniversary! :-)

    Second- I'm a tough one when it comes to poor service myself (having worked in different parts of the service industry for over a decade, I have high standards) so by saying you will give it another chance, you're nicer than I. That would have been it for me from what you described. Wish it could have been a 100% perfect anniversary dinner for you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm sorry the service was disappointing :( It is quite a beautiful restaurant though! Plus, that ice cream cake looks to die for!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I hate when you pay so much much for bad service! Sorry to hear that.. been in that siutation many times. I just love the mango drink sounds awesome and then at least the atmosphere was beautiful. Happy Anniversary hope that food at least tasted as good as it looked! Many happy more years!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Aw I hope your anniversary was lovely! The restaurant looks beautiful! It's a shame about the drinks and the movement of rain fiasco--I used to work at an outdoor restaurant and whenever it rained it was always chaos. It was a mess trying to take care of everyone. Luckily, I was just a hostess so I didn't have to handle so much of the stress *phew*

    ReplyDelete
  12. 5 years...congrats!
    I know what yiu mean about bad service...i have had some of those experiences too. But, the place does look beautiful and very relaxing...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Happy Anniversary! At least you had the nice views, stinks that the restaurant left a bit to be desired.

    ReplyDelete
  14. OMG! What a setting! Shame about the service, hopefully, it was Hospitality's day off! Happy Anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Happy anniversary, Anita! It does sound like it was a mixed bag of an experience, but what a gorgeous setting for an anniversary dinner.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Happy anniversary :-) Enjoyed reading about your experience although I wish it were better for you.

    ReplyDelete

We'd love to hear from you!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.