Jessie’s Harvest House – May 2018 (dt)
6.59 – 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6.75, 6, 5

Yeeaayy! After four months away, the Monteverds have returned. And the evening’s destination was their choice. The eyebrows arched when we turned right onto 23A at Story’s Farms, heading toward the Mountaintop. As only Ken can so gracefully do, we drove past (accidentally, of course) the intended restaurant and circled the block in downtown central Tannersville, eventually parking at the former Swiss Chalet, now re-established as Jessie’s Harvest House Restaurant and Lodge.

JHHR&L promotes a “warm and comfy place to gather, featuring a delicious menu of American-style cuisine with locally-sourced ingredients, a friendly tavern, and rustic country lodging” with a farm-to-table menu whenever possible. And there was an upscale note
The menu is one that DP8 finds challenging. The entirety consisted of: seared salmon, free-range roasted chicken breast, beet risotto, pan-seared duck breast, surf-and-turf, Idaho trout, and burger.

The short list was making a few palates nervous. But unbeknownst to the selectors, it was Thursday night, and Thursday night is also Italian night, with four choices, with seven of us, even the adventurous ones, choosing from this menu.

Choices made:

From the Italian menu:

            Each of the entrées came with a bowl of spaghetti with a choice of marinara or oil, with all of us choosing the marinara—a pleasant side.

A salad accompanied the entrées—a mix of spring greens, with an accent of diced sweet potato or squash (I think) applied with a light oil-vinegar dressing. Most thought it tasty and spring-y, and a couple wished for more choice.

The three-item dessert list was orated:

A basket of deluxe chips in paper wrap was set on the table shortly after arrival and quickly devoured, prompting a call for a second basket. Someone at the end of the table requested a piece of bread, and after a hesitation and explanation that Jessie’s did not normally do that but would check, a foot-long loaf of chewy-crust, airy-center artisanal bread, with oil dip, was presented, much to the satisfaction of the “need-bread souls,” which was most of the table.

Drink orders consisted a couple of sodas, a half-dozen drafts from the nicely crafted list, and a couple glasses of wine. Wine selections were worthy but pricy, probably the reason why a few of us switched.

Service by Margot was, well, open to debate. Everyone agreed she tried hard, checked our well-beings more times than usual, filled every request. An air of newness and not enough confidence may have diminished the overall effect, thus the result of a couple feeling the restaurant interface was so-so.
            A second pair of hands was available for delivery and bussing, always a good thought for a large table. And the owner arrived with her toddler on the cute pretense that the baby greets everyone.
            With Ken back, coffee replenishment is once again part of our routine. It was mostly done right.
            A small blot, beyond the direct performance of Margot, was the announcement of “not available” of the stout three of us had ordered a couple minutes after the order. And a glass of red wine was “not available” with a replacement of a “comparable” wine, which, upon inspection of the bill, turned out to be 35% higher cost than the one not in stock.
            The clumsy walk up and down the stairs from the parking lot to the restaurant was noted. However, also noted was the existence of the regular parking lot that was meant to be used. (Thanks, Ken, for testing our agility! ha)
            And our entry into Harvest House felt a bit awkward, with no one greeting us for three minutes (felt longer).

Ambiance cane at different angles. Upon entry, one feels that it is a rambling, old-country house set-up despite a much sleeker external. The front room hosts the stylish bar and a quick walk-around revealed another several rooms for diners.
            Our seating was a table of six combined with a table of four (cut off the two ends), with the usual Lords of DP8 taking their end spots. (Ken, you should see what happens when you are not present!). A bare solid-planking table top was set with a tall candle and two vases of daffodils, along with empty Bell-jar water glasses. Solid wood chairs, with a rounded half-back-high rests and padded seats, were comfortable.
            A faux wide-board wainscoting topped with neutral pastel upper halves presented a neutral color for the animal ornaments and wall hangings that abounded. A dozen recessed lights adequately lit the 30’x40’ room that was made cozier with a minimalist six foot wide wall divider set between two wide-door openings. The other rooms we could see were arranged differently, even the lighting.
            The background music was noticeable but not too obtrusive. Besides, we liked most of it, most of it being the late-60s, early-70s vintage of top hits.

At slightly under the two hour mark, even with some hanging-on to chat even more, we left to brave the winding Clove Road homeward.
            The bill, including all, totaled $87 per couple, a number, give or take a dollar, has been the bill of our last three places.

We met at the Monteverds for our starting point, made our quick Welcome Back greetings, and without a pre-session ventured forth. (Kriss had just returned from Proctor’s.) The drive to and fro, along with table time, allowed for chunks of chatter. The big topic, of course, was catching up with the Monteverds, the almost-Florida residents. Physical proximity almost never makes up for online messaging. So, we found out about their winter, Kriss’s golf/social outings, Florida winter weather, a cold St Augustine, Ken’s theater outings (still questioning!), children, grandchildren, trips, NY friends staying a night or two or more, Canadian neighbors, catching up at home, and more.
            Other topics: recounting to the Monteverds of our cool April, the recent heat wave of near 90 that made it feel like winter morphed into summer over three days, the real-world work woman and an end coming closer, Chay’s bandage on the arm, Deb’s paint class in Greenville using models, Ken introduction of the blow-up doll, bicycling, the old oak tree by the Freehold Church that fell into the cemetery, new management in the Freehold Store, daily walks with Kalli, the Monteverd inspiration for the restaurant pick, how Pete is doing, selecting DP8 dates through August, slim pickings in August (only one day – a Monday, for now), the quickening pace of budding & flowering, Rt 23A (Kaaterskill Clove), reactions to the Cairo-Durham Hall of Fame inductions, congratulations for Chay for being one of the first ten, Deb K’s upcoming celebrations, golf outings, late grass cuttings, winter memories, the Teator trip to England coming soon, Notar trips, the doings of our offspring, and more that filled our almost four hours together.