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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Harvest Seasonal Kitchen

I think I have found my favorite new restaurant of this year. Harvest in downtown McKinney just opened in late September 2014. I was first told by my old boss, who is also a big foodie, of this up and coming place. I checked out the website immediately and was excited to try it. McKinney is pretty damn far... but we were headed there for a group event this past weekend so I knew I wanted to stop in for dinner.

Harvest Seasonal Kitchen
112 E. Louisiana St.
McKinney, TX 75069
(214) 726-0251
Price: $$$

My friends and I were scheduled to do a BYOB painting class at Wild Brush Studios at 7PM last Saturday. So I wanted to go get an early dinner before the class. My boss said he's been trying to go for awhile but they are always booked. Luckily it was an earlier dinner for us so we were able to get 4 people in at 5:30PM.

It's located right in downtown McKinney, which is such a cute place btw. You should take an afternoon and go check it out sometime. The place is super cute, large doors at the entrance were all open which leads into a covered "patio" area with chair swings, etc. Then you walk into another door to the main dining area. I loved the decor. Rustic, homey, but sophisticated. Brick walls, wood planks, wood tables, and wild flowers on the tables. The water glasses are like the recycled wine bottles. They had just opened up one of their new rooms the day we went so we got to sit in there. It was nice because it was smaller and less noisy.

While we were waiting on our friends, the waitress came by, brought us some waters. And introduced their cocktail menu. They offer these infused cocktails with flavors like blueberry and basil infused vodka, or charred peach infused bourbon which sounds interesting.

My fiance ordered the Harvest Cocktail (cinnamon and vanilla bean infused vodka, pineapple, lime juice) $11~ 
I thought the combination of flavors was quite unique. I wouldn't really think of putting pineapple and vanilla together. It was too strong for me and not sweet enough but I'm a super lightweight. He liked it. You can actually taste all the elements though, I thought that was cool.

Since we had a limited time to eat, we decided to order the Catfish & Hush Puppies (bacon, cabbage, brussels sprouts, chow chow tartar sauce) $10~ before our friends arrived. 
They were running late. I loved the presentation of this on the wood board. It was fantastic. The catfish was fried perfectly, crunchy on the outside and melt in your mouth tender on the inside. My favorite was the hush puppies though, not sure what the used to season it but it had a lot of flavor. And paired really well with the cabbage/brussels sprouts slaw and tartar sauce. Deeeeelicious!

Bread Basket (multigrain, sweet bread, corn bread madeleines). 
The waitress brought us some bread, all baked in house I believe. They were all good but the sweet bread was best. Slightly sweet, took me by surprise since I thought it was just regular white bread at first. They also had a corn bread madeleine. I enjoyed it, but it's not as good as the ones they used to have at Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen... (just thinking about them closing make me wanna cry!) :(

Deviled Eggs (Texas pecans, pickled mustard seed, pickled red onions) $5~ 
Our friends ordered this. The presentation was super cute as well. Using the egg cartons as the vessels for the eggs. Good way to reuse materials! I know it's a big bite, but I recommend eating the whole thing in one bite. It was fantastic. So many different flavors and textures. The candied pecan was such an interesting twist! It added sweetness and a crunch factor. The pickled elements had a slight tartness, the egg was savory and the yolk was creamy. I think it hit every flavor profile. I'd eat this again in a heartbeat!

They also shared a Kale Salad (goat cheese, candied pecans, cranberry, oat groats, lemon vinaigrette). The kitchen went ahead and split the plates for them. (Picture shows half size.)

For the entree I got the Farm Egg & Griddled Wheat (fried egg, griddled wheat cake, roasted butternut squash, mushroom) $15~ 
Everything looked good on the menu but the griddled wheat and butternut squash won me over on this. I was curious to see what griddled wheat cake was. The waitress kind of compared it to a polenta cake where it's shaped then cooked on the griddle. But the texture was definitely not like polenta. It was almost a more dense and compact form of savory bread pudding? Cutting into the egg and letting the yolk drip down was awesome. And whatever that gravy/sauce is on the plate with the butternut and mushrooms paired it beautifully. It was bigger than I expected and totally filling. Something I've never had before and I'm glad I got to try something new! Will order again!

Braised Beef Belly (red wine and tomato braise, mashed red skin potatoes, herbs) $25~ 
My fiance ordered this. It was also in my list of options. Anything "braised" or with "belly" is usually a winner in my books. He subbed the mashed potatoes for the Sweet Potato Hash. It was so good. The meat was super tender. A little too fatty for him, but I loved it. The red wine/tomato sauce on top had so much flavor. And I have to say... the sweet potato hash gave the main protein a run for it's money. It was cooked perfectly, had lots of flavor, and there were chunks of beef in there. Really really tasty.

One friend ordered the Flat Iron (broccolini, horseradish and parsnip cream, balsamic) $25~ 
When the dish came, the food was lukewarm. She mentioned it to the waitress and she immediately apologized and brought her a new one. She ordered it medium well which is too overcooked for me, but the meat was still really tender!

The other friend got the Chicken Fried Buffalo (squash gratin, mashed sweet potato, sage sausage gravy) $18~ 
I was curious about this too. I liked the batter/crust on the buffalo. I ate my bite with some of the mashed sweet potato and actually thought it was too sweet! I felt the sweet potato overpowered the other flavors a little. But I can probably eat the sweet potato on its own and love it. However, the squash gratin, which was served separately on the side in a little mini cast iron pot was the winner of the night. It was so velvety and luxurious. I think the waitress said it was a mix of 2 different types of squash... I forget which. I think I'll just take a bowl of this next time. :P

Since our class was at 7... we were already running late. That means no time for dessert. But I had already planned on picking up Emporium Pies to take into the class with us anyways. So it was dine and dash! Next time I will certainly set aside more time to enjoy the food and ambiance.

I thoroughly enjoyed this dinner even though it was rushed. I loved the decor and mood of the place. I also liked that you saw the open kitchen as you walk through the restaurant to the restrooms in the back. The service was fantastic. Smiles and welcomes as soon as we walked in. The food is wonderfully presented and all tasted great. Their concept is creating relationships with the community and environment. The menu is seasonal and feature organic, local and regional ingredients. They listed all the artisans, farmers, ranchers, growers, and fishermen that provided the goods in the back of the menu. I thought that was totally cool. I've heard their style of food being called "modern Texas cuisine"... I'm not sure if this is a fairly new term, but it's new to me. :P

I also wanted to mention The Seed Project. They gave us these little cards with our check. The waitress came by and explained it to us a little bit and told us that if we plant this card, flowers will grow! How cool!

The Seed Project is an initiative aimed at highlighting the importance of sustainability. The soon-to-be foundation funds education and agriculture initiatives that support sustainable farming. The project raises funds through the ‘Harvest Collection’ – a series of art celebrating farms, ranches and artisans in the area, the sale of seasonal ‘Harvest’ candles, the sale of our ‘One Heart Texas’ wine and seasonal harvest dinners, the first seasonal dinner will be December 22, 2014.

Harvest dinner dates:

Spring harvest: March 19th
Summer harvest: June 25th
Fall harvest: September 23rd
Winter harvest: December 22nd

I'm definitely going to try and attend some of these dinners! :)

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