Seasonal, local cuisine in Bearden’s Homberg area
It can be a challenge keeping up with the many restaurants in the Homberg area, but the corner of Kingston Pike and Mohican is now the home of Harvest, right across from its cousin Nama Sushi Bar. “A neighborhood restaurant is just what we needed in the GBA—that is, the Greater Bearden Area,” says Hugh Nystrom, dining with his family after chairing a Knox County Commission meeting.
Harvest has the kind of local feeling to make it a regular favorite, whether for a glass of wine and small plate after work, to a business or family meal. The dining area has a large capacity without being cavernous, and the bar area set off behind a glass-topped wall offers a nice separation. The décor uses “hygge” lighting and modern artwork to create a welcoming mood. Tables line the large glass picture window overlooking the outdoor patio. This pleasant outdoor space is shaded by a slanted roof and set off from the road by a row of hedges.
“We emphasize gracious hospitality,” says Executive Chef Geoff Kenney. Our waitress, Ashley, was knowledgeable about not only the menu, but the extensive wine list and tempting signature cocktail selection as well. Hint: Don’t miss the Lavender Honey Bees Knees which includes Hendrick’s gin, lavender simple syrup, fresh honey and lemon juice, dried lavender, and a lemon wedge. Ashley somehow also seemed to materialize exactly when we needed her.
“You eat with your eyes first,” says Kenney, who won a national art award back at Lumberton (N.C.) Senior High School for a pencil drawing that was exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. “We want to make things visually stunning before you taste them.” When the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes arrive atop their bed of roasted corn and green tomato relish, it makes an impression. This small plate, like the Fried Green Tomato Napoleon with crab, shrimp, and bacon succotash and beurre blanc, tastes as good as it looks.
After graduating from UNC Wilmington with a degree in political science and government, Kenney continued living the beach lifestyle, starting his culinary career at Wilmington’s Port Land Grille, where he gained an appreciation for progressive American and seasonal cuisine: “In season, things are going to taste much better.” In his 12 years in Knoxville, he has been a chef at Nama Sushi Bar, Cru Bistro and Wine Bar, and Shuck Raw Bar before launching Harvest this summer. The “harvest” concept is centered on a menu that coincides with the change of harvest seasons and the use of locally sourced ingredients. The excellent variety of openers, small plates, and salads can accommodate those who want lighter fare. The raw and chilled seafood list includes Blue Point Oysters on the half shell, as well as a lively and irresistible Crudo—tuna, cut thin, topped with grapefruit and jalapeno.
Honestly, it was hard to tear ourselves away from these Small and Petite Plates, and we vowed to return for an “all small plate” celebration.
Beef entrees include smoked prime rib, filet mignon, and a “Cast Iron” New York Strip, along with choices of classic steakhouse-style accompaniments of shrimp, lobster, truffle butter, or blue cheese. These are served with Yukon Gold potato puree or asparagus. For the truly sinful, go ahead and add the Truffle Parmesan Pommes Frites and be prepared to guard them from your tablemates.
We usually can’t resist a tasty dish of shrimp and grits when it features Benton’s bacon, but Harvest’s Grilled Steelhead Salmon spoke to us. Served with brussel sprouts, golden beets, and a sweet-tangy preserved lemon relish, it was the perfect combination of delicate and robust flavors. Pastas, grilled eggplant, salads, and the house burger round out the menu and offer some good plant-based choices.
We’re always on the hunt for a new brunch spot for the crew, and with everything from aged steaks, to tons of salad, vegan, and pasta choices, the brunch menu at Harvest is sure to please everyone. Harvest is open on Saturdays and Sundays so you will have plenty of time with the Bees Knees.
With seafood starters and smaller dishes in the $12 to $15 range and meat and seafood entrees from $25 to $30, Harvest prices its fine dining in the range of a neighborhood option.