This is not a restaurant review but it’s definitely a personal footnote on a recent experience I had the pleasure of enjoying at Harvest Pizza.
Actually it wasn’t there at all. It was across several decades with my partner Eddie and all of our friends and family. It was sort of like that moment we all hear about when “everything flashes before your eyes.” All replayed during a chance moment starting with a walk and ending up at this small unassuming corner in German Village on a Saturday afternoon.
Eddie and I used to live on a corner right between Victorian Village and The Short North in a house that was a set of four shotgun apartments. Through our 20′s and early 30′s we had many friends who lived adjacent us in the same building. It was the scene of numerous dinner parties with very dear friends and close family over the years. Some whom have left our lives and others whom, like us, soldier onward together.
We had a great wild and changing garden there. Large sage, rosemary, lavender, chive, poppies, tulips, sunflowers, magnolia, evergreen, poplar, dill and fennel. There were a couple years in particular that our time at Harvest Pizza reminded me of… two Summers of sunflowers, yellow finches and hummingbirds took over our outdoor space. Through the window in the dining room I noticed a yellow finch dance on top of the sunflowers growing outside the window while we ate one of the best homemade pizzas we’d had in many years.
It was also nice to enjoy wine from Buehler Family Vineyards. The Chardonnay and Zinfandel were just like I remember, delicious.
The appetizer we picked was a ricotta gnocchi with basil, tarragon, French trumpet mushrooms, pea shoots in a sweet pea puree. Amazingly delicate flavors and texture. The corresponding memory was a wonderful woman named Paula who lived next to us at Hunter for a couple years. She was the first person who introduced us to gnocchi… and a wealth of laughter and joy.
The next dish was goat cheese pizza with sopressata, basil and cherry tomato. The crust was phenomenal. Chewy and crispy with just enough fire on it to add a little oven fired flavor. The toppings worked well together acidity from the tomatoes working with the fats of the sopressata accented by the fresh but fired flavor of the basil. There was a time period at Hunter where Eddie would make all these humble little homemade pizzas on aluminum tins with whatever was growing in the garden. The experience at Harvest reminded me of this style of pizza.
When we left the restaurant I felt like we had enjoyed dinner with friends again. It was one of those moments where you happen to find yourself through sharing food with someone special. There’s a lot of lifestyle and heart in a restaurant like Harvest.