Restaurant Review: Harvest Vine

We revisit a paragon of Basque cookery

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When rumors of a divorce between Harvest Vine owners Joseba Jiménez de Jiménez and Carolin Messier were confirmed last summer, patrons were left questioning the future of their beloved Madison Valley restaurant, a paragon of Basque cookery. Despite the changes—Messier will soon be the sole owner—recent dinners yielded a parade of solid dishes: house-made blood sausage, subtly spiced with nutmeg and cloves and pan-fried with cubed niblets of roasted pork belly and slow-cooked beans ($17), olive-oil-slicked sardines freshened with the bitter bite of frisée ($15.50), spoon-tender milk-braised lamb ($16), delicate tuna belly with a vanilla-flecked sauce ($14), and seared scallops with tender, pulled duck confit and lentils ($19). The kitchen is being overseen by chef Joey Serquinia (with Jiménez de Jiménez still consulting) whose small plates at little-sister restaurant Txori, have garnered raves. Desserts at Harvest Vine, the pride of Messier, continue to be innovative: a caramelized onion ice cream lent a savory element to the brioche pecan bread pudding it was served with ($9.50), and a quenelle of dense chocolate mousse topped with shaved truffle ($10) was one of the more inspired bites I’ve had in recent memory. The service was seamless, the food as hearty, delicioso and progressive as it’s always been. Whatever shifts there may be behind the house, if the food continues on this trajectory, there’s no doubt that Harvest Vine will continue to thrive as one of Seattle’s brightest culinary treasures. Madison Valley, 2701 E Madison St.; 206.320.9771; $$ L.Y.