First Taste: Harvest Supper

Harvest Supper restaurant

Jack and Grace Lamb, the culinary miniaturists whose small but tightly focused Jewel Bako and Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar (and slightly larger Degustation “wine and tasting bar”) are among the most consistently pleasing restaurants in lower Manhattan, have opened a new place uptown. Way uptown. In Connecticut. The Lambs have lived in Greenwich, in fact, for about three years, and they’d been thinking about opening something in the area. “Then, one day,” says Grace, “we were having lunch in New Canaan, and we saw a little pizzeria with a for-sale sign in the window.”

Early this year, that pizzeria was reborn as the couple’s latest venture, Harvest Supper. The restaurant could never be mistaken for yet another Downtown hipster haven. The décor is positively rustic, all bare wood, plaid wallpaper, and rusty farm implements, with an American Primitive farmhouse mural on one wall. Two things about the place are very Manhattan, however: the sometimes nerve-wracking noise level (perhaps not unexpected, considering the lack of soft surfaces in the place); and the constituents of the menu, including romesco, farro, aïoli, gastrique, and, of course, pork belly—a cut of meat without whose presence it is apparently now illegal to operate a restaurant.

Happily, chef Michael Campbell (a veteran of New York’s Hearth) knows exactly what to do with such ingredients, and with others—all of which are well-chosen. The menu offers fifteen “small plates” (plus some desserts), and the food is unusual in this neck of the woods and uniformly good: pieces of grilled octopus, uncommonly tender, with chickpeas and a light lemon–garlic sauce; croquette-like pea arancini with minced marinated sugar snaps and asparagus on the side; fried chunks of fresh shrimp sausage with horseradish aïoli; juicy lamb loin with baby favas and a crépinette of ground lamb; remarkable slow-cooked veal breast with morel velouté. The flavors are vivid and not overly complicated, and the various sauces that moisten almost everything are masterful. Campbell is something rare among young chefs today: a superb saucier.

Portions are small enough that three dishes per person is about right. The restaurant is waiting for its wine license, though, so bring your own bottle in the meantime. (Despite its name, the place is open for both lunch and dinner.)

Harvest Supper 15 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT (203-966-5595)

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