BY DEBBIE TUMA
July 7, 2017
A soft pink glow settled over the water at Harvest on Fort Pond, enchanting diners from almost every window at 7 pm one Wednesday in May. We could tell this large yet warm restaurant in Montauk was popular as even mid-week there was about an hour wait.
My dining partner and I cruised through a cozy cocktail area outside the main bar where people sat on high tables eating, or drinking. The bar had a lively crowd in this sophisticated dining spot. The manager, Brienne, seated us at a table for two in the back facing the amazing Fort Pond landscape. Part of the beauty of Montauk is its magical lighting. We watched the last rays of sun slip behind the watery horizon, leaving only streaks of lavender and pink. So far so good.
Harvest is one of four restaurants owned by Fort Pond Bay Company, which creates waterfront restaurants and inns. They also own East by Northeast Restaurant in Montauk, which is also on Fort Pond, and the adjacent, newly renovated Stone Lion Inn. They also own two upstate restaurants—Harvest on Hudson and Half Moon Restaurant, in Westchester.
Our waitress Jean came right over to take our drink order, Chardonnay and a Dewar’s on the rocks. All around us, couples, families and large groups looked happy and relaxed in this pleasant atmosphere. I had been told by friends to try the Calamari Salad, an easy decision, and since my dining partner loves shellfish we also ordered the PEI Mussels (for Prince Edward Island). They came in a tasty juice with wine, garlic, tomatoes, onions and shallots, which was perfect for dipping the crusty bread which came with our meal. The large Calamari Salad was indeed a great choice.
“If you like Calamari, this salad is a no brainer”
It consisted of a very healthy portion of delicate, lightly fried calamari mingled with light, fresh Frisee lettuce, all tossed with a zesty miso vinaigrette. If you like Calamari, this salad is a no brainer.
Harvest is known for its generous servings but you can choose from either half or whole portions in the off-season. Either way, you will not go home hungry. We chose half-portions all around and still took some food home.
It was a hard choice for the entrees. My friend was stuck between the Pork Tenderloin and the Skirt Steak while I pondered the Seafood Bruschetta, one of their most popular dishes with assorted seafood, and the Montauk Fluke. Since I’m a fisherman’s daughter I can never resist good old-fashioned fresh fish off the dock and I know you can’t go wrong with fluke or flounder in the fishing capital of Montauk. I was pleased with my choice as the two large pieces of fluke were pan-seared to perfection atop some lovely Risotto, with garden-fresh carrots and peas. My friend enjoyed the huge portion of Skirt Steak, medium rare. It was super tender and served with a large helping of tasty arugula salad.
Executive Chef Jake Williams specializes in Italian and seafood fare, and much of it is served family-style. Other entrees include Swordfish Picata and Salmon.
There are also Grilled Pizzas and Pasta dishes. The wait staff is plentiful and the service is excellent…we had two waitresses tending to us, Jean and Lauren, with strong, young Justin running all the food out from the kitchen.
The desserts at Harvest are, consistently, enormous. When I saw my Flourless Chocolate Torte with Coffee Gelato, Hazelnuts and Whipped Cream, I knew I was taking some home. It was sinful and delicious…moist, dark chocolate cake with a rich chocolate icing. My friend enjoyed her Tiramisu, which was a large square of chocolate-cheese-filled loveliness. She noted that it was super tasty and “light as air.”
Other amazing desserts on the menu include Cinnamon Dusted Cronut (a combination of croissant and donut), Frozen Key Lime Pie, and Crème Puffs. Since we were more than full, on the way out we decided to stroll around the garden patio that contains outside seating in summer. This is a lovely place to sit, with great views of the pond.
“I can never resist good old-fashioned fresh fish off the dock”
Harvest is open year-round, seven days during the season from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Call 631-668-5574 or visit www.harvest2000.com. Reservations a must for indoor seating during prime dinner hours. Outdoor patio seating, which is a great way to go, is first-come first serve, but you can lounge around and enjoy a drink while you wait.