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HARVEST BISTRO, Closter, NJ

My husband and I had such an exceptional meal at Harvest Bistro last evening, I felt compelled to share my experience. The food was absolutely excellent. For appetizer, we shared the crab cakes appetizer ($15) which was absolutely delicious. For entree, I had one of the specials: Red Snapper served in a brandy lobster truffle sauce with baby bok choy over Israeli cous cous ($28)- truly one of the best fish dishes I have ever had anywhere. I savored every bite and was actually sad when it was finished (and how often do you get to say that?). My husband had a pancetta-wrapped halibut in a tarragon beurre blanc sauce which was also excellent (28$ I think). And it seemed like every course was better than the last- dessert was a Chocolate Banana bread pudding, which is misleading- it was actually like a Chocolate Molten lava cake with banana mixed in- absolutely delectable. The wine list is extensive, and the wine I chose by the glass (a Riesling, $9) was very good. They also had a great selection of beers on tap. As good as the food was, the service was equally impressive. The staff was very friendly, attentive, knowledgeable, and professional. They were able to make very helpful suggestions regarding both food and wine choices, and seemed to appear at our table whenever we needed them but without us having to call them over. And they even had a live R&B band playing in the lounge starting around 9:30pm which was fantastic- great for those who enjoy that kind of thing, but if you don't then you eat in the main dining room which is quite separate from the lounge. The decor is beautiful but relaxed; the dining room has a very nice fireplace, giving it a very warm and inviting feel. Overall, Harvest Bistro provided us with an excellent evening of food, drink, atmosphere and live entertainment- definitely a special place and worth a visit any time. We HIGHLY recommend it and will definitely be back.

Nov 24, 2007
MarC24 in General Tristate Archive

La Spiga: Italian in Needham, MA

La Spiga is a new Italian restaurant in Needham, MA. We ate there for dinner recently and were very disappointed. Had read some good reviews and heard some good things, but overall the experience was not good. The decor is rustic and open, but there is not much room for waiting patrons to stand and the restaurant itself was too brightly lit for dinner. For dinner, I had the mussels appetizer- very very fishy, did not taste good at all. I ate only about 1/2 of it and had to stop, and I usually LOVE mussels. My husband had the Fried Calamari appetizer which was OK, but came with no dipping sauce or marinara. He asked for some, but it never came. For entree, I ordered a special: pasta pockets filled with pumpkin and cheese, with a Wild Boar sauce on top. I was brought a flat noodle pasta with what I was told was the Wild Boar sauce. Apparently the kitchen made a mistake with the plating. It actually tasted pretty good, but it was not what I ordered. My husband had gnocci, which he found fair. One of our other dining companions had the Ravioli filled with Calamari and Arugula, topped with Shrimp. It was just fair- again, the Ravioli were way too fishy. Overall, we found all of the seafood dishes we tried to taste much too fishy. The service was also just fair. Our server clearly was well intentioned and nice, but she was nowhere to be found when our appetizers came. We had to ask someone else for extra marinara sauce, which was never brought, and later we were told that the kitchen was too busy to provide us with marinara dipping sauce for the fried calamari. The person who served our entrees was very unfamiliar with the menu options and did not know what was in the plates he was serving. Overall, the food was not great and service was fair to poor.

Nov 04, 2007
MarC24 in Greater Boston Area