Restaurant Reviews --> Late Harvest Kitchen
Late Harvest Kitchen
Indianapolis' Newest Restaurant
Two Saturdays ago, after our Sineann tasting in Zionsville, we were able to join wine maker Peter Rosback for dinner at Indianapolis' newest restaurant, Late Harvest Kitchen. Chef Ryan Nelson, formerly the chef at Oceanaire, has created the most ambitious new fine dining establishment that the North Side has seen since Recess opened two years ago. With a complete re-imagining of the former Smith and Hawkins garden store location at Keystone at the Crossing, he has created a very elegant restaurant, staffed it well and created, by Indianapolis standards, a very daring locally sourced menu.
A daring menu requires a well trained staff. And they were. Our server seemed to know every nuance of every dish on the menu. His skill was needed, as the first dish on the small plates was simply listed as Brandade with house brioche... any guesses? Our server was able to explain that was a french Provencal dish made from salt cod that has been soaked and pressed, mixed with garlic, butter and cream, then baked just before serving to be spread on toasted brioche. He sold it, we ordered it and it was delicious... you won't find that on a steak house menu.
Luckily, we had a party of eight so we were able to get a pretty sound sampling of his dishes and were pleasantly surprised, not just by the Brandade, but by a number of dishes that we would have been hesitant to order had our interpreter not been available. The menu, which will be changing frequently, consisted of nine small plate selections at $5 to $12 and eight big plates at $15 to $23.
From the small plates we tasted the Caviar Pie, a wedge of pie made from five different caviars, all in different colors attractively arranged in a bulls eye pattern... almost too pretty to eat. The butternut squash soup with apple slivers, bits of roasted chestnuts and a balsamic drizzle was almost as good as Linda's. And my house made Kielbasa with dill brown butter, mustard spaetzel and caramelized brussel sprouts was excellent, but I couldn't help but wish for a little Dijon on the side.
The large plate standout had to be the beef short ribs and pork cheeks with vegetable risotto and gremolata. The risotto was perfect and the short ribs literally melted in your mouth. The most dramatic dish was a nod to an Oriental favorite, a whole, fried, two-pound yellow tail snapper with a sweet chili glaze, sprouts, carrots and cilantro. And while Peter did an admirable job of reducing it to its rib cage, I might have taken our server up on his offer to filet it table side. My towering LHK burger consisted of of two, perhaps 3" round beef patties stacked with white cheddar on a home made roll, so it that was much taller than it was wide. Served with a cone of fries and house made pickles and catsup. It proved almost impossible to eat as a sandwich, but was still very tasty with a knife and fork. Even the Walleye was daring...I would never think of pairing horseradish, brown butter and a beet puree with walleye, but it certainly worked.
No baked potatoes here, even the sides were interesting. Cauliflower fritters with gruyere and citrus were nice and crispy and subtly seasoned. The Potatoes Minneapolis was a very tasty dish of crisp hash browns with chives, sour cream and bits of thick bacon. And, the "Over the Top" award should have gone to Ryan's take on Pountine, a French Canadian staple, consisting of fried potatoes topped with cheese curds and a brown gravy. Of course he added pork cracklings... looked goopy, but tasted guiltily delicious.
Forced to order dessert, since no review would be complete with out it, Linda and I shared the Tarte Tatin, a tasty apple tart with ice cream that we thought was great, until we tasted Tom's sticky toffee pudding. Impossible to describe, but the note Linda wrote on the menu said it all... "Oh, wow."
The wine list seems well chosen with plenty of reasonably priced bottles and nothing over $100. If you go, some good values are the 2008 Lafage Grenache Noir at $28, the 2009 Qupe Syrah at $34 and the Gordon Brothers 2009 Cabernet at $40.
Overall, a great experience, but just know, they are hot and hip... the bar was small and packed on Saturday night, the music was a little loud for our taste and the tables a little closely placed. I am guessing that we're not as hip as we used to be, but we went with the flow and enjoyed the experience.
Late Harvest Kitchen
8605 River Crossing
Indianapolis, IN 46240
Late Harvest Kitchen
November 22, 2011