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Dining out: Harvest Restaurant

Published: Friday, Feb. 18 2005 12:00 a.m. MST

Thanksgiving Point has always had an intriguing restaurant space, three cozy and rustically elegant dining rooms with stunning trompe l'oeil painted walls.
And now, at last, there is a restaurant that belongs in such a unique and lovely spot.
Not that the previous restaurants weren't good — they were. But in Harvest, the newest restaurant at Thanksgiving Point, the food reflects the space's mood to perfection.
We visited Harvest with our kids on a recent weekend night. We won't do that again. The staff was more than welcoming, with a verbal menu of kids' favorites and plastic-lid cups for their drinks, but the vibe was quite grown-up, with low lighting, jazzy music and soft-voiced, deferential wait staff in long aprons. Our 7-year-old did great; the 4-year-old and 2-year-old frankly didn't belong there. (Maybe we'll take them back for lunch or for the Saturday brunch, which features lots of kid-friendly selections.)
After being seated in a cozy brown-leather booth, we started with the delicious breaded smoked gouda, two large slices of creamy, smoky cheese in crunchy breading, resting in a tart raspberry-chipotle coulis. It's one of my new favorite appetizers, but I also enjoyed the Tuscan flatbread, a large round of chewy bread spread with pesto and piled with grilled chicken, artichokes, spinach and tomatoes.
All of those flavors blend enticingly into what tastes like a big bite of sun-drenched Mediterranean garden, and the chicken is lean, moist and flavorful.
We also enjoyed the complimentary loaf of nutty, crisp-crusted brown bread brought to our table along with a pot of creamy butter. I also liked my cup of thick, aromatic carrot-and-ginger soup.
The kids enjoyed the usual mac and cheese and chicken strips, but I think we adults liked our meals even more. I had the maple-pecan chicken with cranberry-orange chutney. Beautifully presented, it looked and tasted like a holiday meal; not just because of the cranberries, but because of the quality ingredients and the obvious care that went into its preparation. It rested on a bed of crisp-tender, whole caramelized baby carrots and mashed potatoes.
My husband had the fork-tender pot roast, a large portion of moist braised beef with potatoes, carrots, celery and other root vegetables in a dark, rich gravy redolent with the flavors of the meat and veggies. Some of the vegetables were a bit more firm than I would have expected from stewing, but the whole was good.
For dessert we had the double-chocolate cheesecake, a nice example of its kind, with dark and deeply flavorful cheesecake on a chocolate-cookie crust. But the best thing we had, maybe in the whole meal, was the sublime banana chocolate-chip bread pudding with chocolate ice cream. It's the kind of dessert — with firm but moist bread, banana slices, light and creamy pudding and semi-melted chocolate chips — that made me close my eyes in bliss at the first bite. And on some subsequent bites, too, especially when they featured the accompanying caramel sauce.
In Harvest, Thanksgiving Point has reaped the fruits of its years-long effort to bring a great restaurant to its premises.
Appetizers $6.50-$8.50, soup and salad $4.50-$8.50, pasta $12.75-$16.50, entrees $14-$24, kids' meals $5.75, desserts $3.75-$5.50, Saturday brunch $18.95 adults, $1 per year of age for kids up to 12, free for kids 3 and under.


Rating: ***
Where: 3003 N. Thanksgiving Way (Thanksgiving Point), Lehi
Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday brunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 5-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m.
Payment: Checks, credit cards accepted
Reservations: Accepted
Phone: 801-768-4990
Web: www.thanksgivingpoint.com


Stacey Kratz is a free-lance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: skratz@desnews.com

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