A few paragraphs from the end of his Harvest article, after a "news flash" that Chef Coby Lee Ming will shortly change her ever-so-seasonal menu, Robin Garr writes that he will "keep the food report brief." A few sentences before, Garr "more in sadness than anger" wrote that his brunch and lunch had been "disappointing." While it "didn't suck," the restaurant committed the grievous sin of giving some of Robin's Argentine friends "the least exciting meal of their stay" in Louisville. Here, in its virtual entirety, is Garr's "food report":
A veggie pizza ($14) looked good — a plate-sized bread-like crust smeared with pesto cream and topped with a few zucchini bits and a pile of fresh arugula. French fries ($5) were house-made, enhanced with a roasted tomato aioli that I could eat with a spoon. A catfish sandwich special ($14) was fine: several mild fillets, coarsely breaded with cornmeal and lots of black pepper, dressed with a fresh, creamy chopped-veggie slaw on a pretzel bun. A beet salad on the side was spicy and tasty, but why use pickled beets when you've got fresh in the garden?That pretty much does it for Robin's descriptions of food, which were sacrificed for a melange of self-congratulation and nostalgia that Garr describes as a "political rant."
Instead of detailing his experiences, Garr spends fully the first half of his article congratulating himself on being "foodie" before food was cool:
I don't want to say Michael Pollan or Mark Bittman are latecomers to the party. But I'm sure I'm not the only Boomer who woke up to the issues of food justice a generation earlier … when being a "foodie" — a name not yet invented — was just becoming a thing. … I whined about it in print now and then, but in those days, few Louisville readers were ready to grasp what I was banging on about.
It must have been the ungraspable aspect of Louisville audiences that forced Garr to praise many many Louisville restaurants over the decades ("30 years ago this past spring, yowza!") without "banging on" about "Frankenfood." Even in these days when "just about every new eatery with a yen for a trend does farm-to-table," Garr can withhold his commitment to "food justice" and deliver ringing endorsements of countless definitely not-local, not-organic local restaurants week after week.
Garr also believes that LEO Weekly readers should heed not his opinions, but those of "Dan and Henry, chef buddies from Argentina," who attended one of Garr's two visits and decreed their Harvest burger "left them under-impressed." Garr also complains that Harvest's "kitchen was slow," Ming's food "didn't snap, crackle or pop," and the menu was "short, limited and spoke more of winter than the fresh bounty that's now hitting our farmers markets," a statement belied by the fresh arugula, zucchini and tomatoes he praises in his oh-so-brief "food report." He finds a 50-cent up charge for condiments "cheeky," and his share of lunch "spendy," and darkly hints a Sunday brunch "a while back left similar impressions," though he praises the scones "and the biggest biscuit I've ever encountered." That may have made things seem less "spendy," though still (Eater supposes) vaguely, mysteriously, passive-aggressively and perhaps Argentinian-ily dissatisfying.
· Harvest inspires our critic's rant [LEO Weekly]
· Harvest [Official Site]
· All Eater Week in Reviews [~ELOU~]