The namesake of Harvey’s is chef and proprietor Thomas Harvey, a bear of a person with a thick black beard and tattoos working the size of each arms. He has cooked underneath professionals who’ve left marks as everlasting as physique artwork on D.C. tradition, cooks steeped in each custom and approach. Suppose Nathan Anda, the whole-animal specialist on the Partisan; Frank Ruta, the previous White Home prepare dinner who brooded over each element at Palena, all the way down to the final grain of salt; and Fabio Trabocchi, the Italian native who as soon as operated Casa Luca, a restaurant thick with reminiscences and dishes from Le Marche.
However Harvey additionally served as company chef for the Tuskie’s Restaurant Group, an organization that understands the hearts and palates of suburban diners. Harvey, briefly, has amassed the type of expertise — gastronomic, monetary, managerial — that diners and traders simply anticipated till fashionable meals tradition (was it cable TV? Social media? The truth that a 20-year-old could be referred to as a “celeb chef”?) satisfied each culinary faculty graduate that they wanted to run their very own enterprise by age 25. Harvey didn’t debut his restaurant till just some months shy of his fortieth birthday.
You may really feel the burden of that have inside Harvey’s. You sense it within the proprietor’s resolution to carve out house for a small market that hawks beer, wine, sauces and extra, all hedges towards the unpredictable temper swings of a pandemic. You see it on a chalkboard mural that greets you on the entrance; it celebrates the farms, breweries, wineries, welders, designers and different companies that contributed to the profitable launch of such an intimate, craft-focused restaurant. You style it on a menu that understands simply how far to push innovation with out alienating diners looking for homestyle comforts.
After you have absorbed the chef’s influences — and talked to the person about them — you can begin to hint direct traces between Harvey’s private historical past and an merchandise on the menu, or a specific component within the eating room. The black-and-white-checkered tile close to the bar, and the outsized fork and spoon hanging on the wall subsequent to the two-top? They’re nods to the chef’s maternal grandmother, whose cooking and sense of fashion left a long-lasting impression on a younger Harvey.
However take a detailed take a look at the half hen that arrives on vintage china. The fowl’s bronzed exterior is crisp — and charred in these spots the place the pores and skin maintained contact with the cast-iron pan because it sizzled within the fireside. The dish is Harvey’s homage to the roast hen at Palena, a legendary plate that, maybe greater than another within the historical past of D.C. eating, impressed dwelling cooks to reverse engineer it in a useless try and unlock its mysteries. Harvey’s model is excellent, and, maybe better of all, you don’t have to attend 40 minutes for the hen to hit your desk, as you as soon as did at Ruta’s home of uncommon objects.
Harvey’s burger is known as for Seven Hills Meals, the processor and wholesaler that focuses on Virginia beef. Harvey grew to become a convert to Seven Hills throughout his time on the Partisan, and his seven-ounce pub burger can go toe to toe with any. You may order it together with your selection of cheese, and do you have to go for pimento, you’ll end up in a pitched battle to carry these slippery substances between two buns. It’s a battle value combating. In reality, any dish that includes beef at Harvey’s is definitely worth the funding. Two particularly stand out: the 12-ounce rib-eye enriched with pats of a duck-fat compound butter, and the beer cheese-steaks during which Philly’s beloved sandwich is smothered in a cheese sauce infused with IPA, including a bitter and citrusy edge to the chunk.
One wintry afternoon, I ruminated over the dry-aged pork chop whose sweetness, I used to be satisfied, couldn’t be attributed wholly to its agrodolce sauce. It was solely after speaking with Harvey that I discovered the key to the pork sourced from Baker’s Farm in Mount Jackson, Va.: Steve Baker mixes ice cream into the feed for his hogs, leading to meat that’s ever so candy on the tongue. The bacon from Baker’s Farm additionally makes for an excellent wrapper for Harvey’s shrimp skewers; the strips of cured pork stomach don’t overwhelm the shrimp, so immaculately cleaned and cooked to a state of plump sweetness. And is it my creativeness, or is the candied bacon on the pimento cheese deviled eggs even sweeter than marketed?
If Harvey’s has a weak spot, it’s the proprietor’s penchant to overwork a dish. Working example: the fried inexperienced tomatoes. They’re encrusted with Fritos and paired with a black bean puree, smashed avocados and a pickled vegetable salsa, a ringing refrain of garnishes that each one however drown out the star. The fried calamari is battered in a Yorkshire pudding (whose recipe could be traced again to Harvey’s paternal aspect of the household in England), however the batter doesn’t cling properly to the squid, falling off in tender, soggy clumps, including little to the appetizer. The onion dip encompasses a trio of softened leeks, purple onions and Spanish onions suspended in cream cheese and bitter cream, a mix so wealthy and quietly candy that it deserves a impartial canvas. However the dip comes with chicharrones and everything-spiced crostini, which ship as a lot interference as taste.
Then once more, the artistic thoughts that finds it tough to go away properly sufficient alone is similar one which engineered the mushroom “scallop,” a vegetarian entree during which the meaty stems of royal trumpet mushrooms are seared, scored and steamed till their texture resembles that of the prized bivalves. When the dish is finished proper, you’ll discover few meatless choices that evaluate.
Your server will learn the dessert menu aloud, and on some nights, it’s an inventory that should take a look at the employees’s memorization expertise. The banana cut up with Tajin-spiced popcorn will blow your internal little one’s thoughts, however the dessert to order is the honey cake, 10 layers of honeyed cookies softened with a mix of pastry cream and buttercream. Cool, candy and refined, the cake has the facility of a whisper in a crowded room. The recipe comes from the household of Harvey’s spouse, Inna Grigoryeva, who additionally helped with the design of the restaurant. The cake is the ultimate piece of the puzzle at Harvey’s, a spot all about historical past and familial roots, however one which welcomes others, such as you and me, to hitch its internal circle.
513 West Broad St., Falls Church; 540-268-6100; harveysva.com.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday via Thursday; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m. to three p.m. Sunday.
Nearest Metro: East Falls Church or West Falls Church-VT/UVA, with a brief journey to the restaurant.
Costs: $2.75 to $48 for all objects on the menus.