When one restaurant door closes a new one opens. The institution that was Mario's closed last year, but this week I had the privilege of attending an intimate event celebrating the opening of Harvest Wine Bar & Restaurant, at their newest location on Railroad Avenue in Westport. This farm to fork eatery joins the popular Greenwich and New Haven locations as well as Cava, Scena and 55, and is the result of the collaborative endeavor of the Kluber, Nube and Vincente Siguenza sibling team, who have over the past 10 years combined their passion for wine, food and customer service to create some of the area’s finest dining establishments.
Step inside Harvest and you’re immediately greeted by warm hand-hued reclaimed wood, concrete and metal which give the historic building a very contemporary flair that’s elegant yet casual, that’s as sophisticated as it is relaxed. The inviting space begs one to stay and enjoy the ambiance as well as the food and wine. The atmosphere was spirited and lively and I took it all in as we sampled the many hors d’oeuvres that were being passed.
We couldn’t get enough of the three tartares - tuna, salmon and steak. The tuna was accompanied by avocado, red onions and cilantro with flavors enhanced by the wonderful soy marinade. The salmon was paired with bits of jalapeno that offered just the right amount of heat so as not to overwhelm, as well as lemon zest and baby arugula. The fish were perfectly firm yet tender to the bite. The steak, from Slope Farms in the Catskills, with hints of truffle, Parmesan and quail egg practically melted in my mouth. All three tartares were served on homemade chips.
The Charred Octopus was perfectly tender with roasted garlic, white bean puree, sweet piquillo peppers, cherry tomatoes and avocado.
The House Made Lamb Meatballs were firm but tender. Made from hand-butchered Colorado lamb, basil, oregano, fresh tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese crostini, this was a wonderful variation of the traditional. Those who aren’t particularly keen on lamb may want to reconsider and give these a chance as the flavor was so mild I didn’t realize what the meat was when I was eating mine.
But if lamb really isn’t your thing the House Made Wood Fire Sliders will be. Served on small buns with tomato aioli, pickles and onions, these small burgers were juicy, tender and perfectly pink on the inside. While I tend to prefer to pass on crispy calamari, I was glad I didn’t. The Grilled Calamari with crispy fried tentacles, jalapeno, cilantro and whipped avocado were incredible as the spiciness of the dipping sauce provided a completely pleasant and unexpected punch.
The star of the show, in my own opinion, was the Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad over bite sized Parmesan risotto cakes, and drizzled with a truffle vinaigrette. I simply couldn’t get enough of these! If these passed bites are any indication as to how the entrees are, Harvest will fast become a popular destination to those appreciating good food and wine with its impressive wine list. I’ll be back, that’s for certain!
Conveniently located just off the New York City bound platform, commuters can wander into the bar for a drink after a long day at the office, then join friends and family for dinner. For non-commuters there’s plenty of parking to be found at the train station in the evening - Parking won’t be an issue but getting a reservation just might be!
More more information on hours and their complete menu, please visit their website. Harvest Wine Bar and Restaurant 36 Railroad Place Westport, CT 203-221-0810