We sat beneath a chandelier made of wine bottles in the middle of the bar. I was eagerly awaiting our eight-course feast. I was skeptical. The tickets sport a $110 price tag, yet I reserved judgment.
My dining partner and fellow writer, Wanderer and I were inside Crush, a wine bistro in downtown Anchorage, but our reservation was for an entirely different restaurant — Harvest.
Harvest restaurant is a pop-up, which by nature is temporary. It’s part of a worldwide dining trend that focuses on exclusive offerings from seasoned chefs, who cook up unique cuisine to tell stories that highlight the best of the harvest at that time.
People are willing to pay top dollar for a more intimate experience. At Harvest, the server explains where each wine came from and what characteristics made them decide to pair it with the course. The chef explains his inspiration, trials and tribulations.
Elaborate, 12-seat dinners are served by the chef himself, Nathan Dolphin-Chavie. Crush part-owner Chad Culley assists by serving and hand-picking wine for nearly every course.
Without his former partner Josh, Dolphin-Chavie single-handedly makes all the food in house at Crush, where he said he’s been working for the past year and a half. Culley said he got behind the chef in making season three happen.
“Nothing like this could be executed in a [traditional] restaurant setting,” Culley told guests. “It’s very experimental.”
It truly is a wholly different restaurant within a restaurant — the chef even imported handmade plates from Thailand for the season.
The chef was 21 years old when he decided to pursue food as a career, and said he’s worked his way up through the industry since then. Dolphin-Chavie talked about his grand plan to take his hyper-focused, planned food forward after summer. He said it’s a ton of work for the chef, so right now it’s a labor of love rather than a money-making machine. He’s working to create a longevity plan for the concept, which he said would benefit Anchorage as a whole.
“When you think of Paris, people go there for the food,” he said to guests. “Anchorage doesn’t really have any destination restaurants. Alaska needs that.”
It’s expensive, $110 for a seat, and nearly all of those seats have been spoken for. As we left, a group of four women were already reserving the next nearest spot in August. But I can say from experience, it’s worth it. Eight courses, six wine pairings, SteamDot espresso and story behind each dish.
So here’s hoping Harvest finds a permanent home soon, so many more can enjoy this visual and exquisite feast.
Published on KTVA.com on April 29, 2016.