Cuisine Served Upscale
Review & Photos | Julie Yates, Food Editor
Just a bit down the road from Greenwood at 226 State Road 135 and State Road 144, Harvest Bistro in Bargersville is worth the drive. Although it is slightly more expensive than the average chain restaurant, this reviewer found the privately-owned establishment to be a good value due to the ample portion sizes, delicious food, and exceptional staff service.
The decor of Harvest Bistro is Indiana homey yet gives off a contemporary verve at the same time. Pictures of Midwest barns hang on the roughly-finished interior walls next to contemporary light fixtures. The leather-upholstered booths sport a couple comfortable pillows. And placed throughout the dining area are old-time artifacts such as an antique stove. Incorporated into the decorating scheme are pieces of a barn which the owner and chef, Tracy Lemmonds, tore down.
After being warmly greeted and seated, we were handed clipboards on which the menu and the extensive wine list were attached. Our waiter was knowledgeable and enthusiastically described the dishes on the menu to us. The bill of fare runs the gamut all the way from appetizers, soup, salads, small plates, entrees, side dishes, kid’s menu, to dessert. Several of the dishes are vegan or gluten free. Although the entrees range in price from $26 to $30, the “Small Plates” offerings such as meatloaf, fried half chicken, and duck confit include salads and sides, and at least five were $18 or under. The focus of the food is classic American supplied by local farmers and growers; but due to the chef’s Vietnamese heritage and South Carolina upbringing, there is a hint of Asian and a Southern influence evident in the menu choices.
We were impressed that Chef Tracy personally brought out at least one course to each table of patrons. In our case, it was the appetizers – the duck spring rolls and the stuffed portobello. He explained that the spring rolls, comprised of shredded vegetables and ground duck, were also served at the restaurant his mother owned during his childhood. The huge marinated mushroom, stuffed with three cheeses, chopped artichokes, peppers, and basil, could have easily been shared with others.
Next, we shared roasted tomato bisque and beet salad. The two little triangles of grilled cheese sandwich served with the soup were a nice touch, but what really impressed us was the salad. A perfect balance of flavors, the seasoned pistachio nuts played off nicely against the roasted beets served with field greens, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. Along with our soup and salad, we were presented with two kinds of bread wrapped in a napkin pouch and served with butter triangles sprinkled with a bit of kosher salt.
For our entrees, we selected the sea scallops and the night’s special, a salmon filet finished with a pineapple, soy, and shag bark reduction sauce. We also sampled sides of sautéed spinach and creamed peas. The food was fresh and beautifully presented. The three jumbo, perfectly seared, scallops served with jasmine pilaf on a bed of asparagus were almost too pretty to eat. The salmon was incredibly delectable; and the sautéed spinach was neither underdone nor a wilted mess, but cooked perfectly. The creamed peas were slightly crunchy and the parmesan cream sauce was on the thin side. It was, nevertheless, very tasty but may have been hurried out of the kitchen just a tad too soon.
We ended our feast with Chef Tracy’s Fruit Cobbler. In this case, it was a huge serving of very thinly-sliced baked apples with a crumble topping, a scoop of ice cream, and a drizzle of caramel sauce. We took most of it home along with some of the other courses the staff kindly boxed up for us.
Would we visit Harvest Bistro again? Yes! Even the garnishes were scrumptious and evidently well thought out. Not only was everything delicious, we were struck by the attention to the little details that made our experience special. cg
About Julie Yates
Julie Yates is a former teacher and current food blogger, Yates Yummies. She enjoys sharing quick, easy, and healthy recipes with people who love to cook. Visit her blog at www.yatesyummies.blogspot.com.