Southern is as Southern does and I’m not sure what the heck that means but I love me some Forrest Gump! Harvest 18 is the latest offering from Chef Jason Smith who also operates Seaboard 18 and Cantina 18 in Raleigh. Reviews on Yelp were really strong so I was excited to try out this new restaurant located on Renaissance Parkway in Durham. Located near the very popular Southpoint Mall, is Harvest 18 worth the ride for a Raleighite like me? Read on, my friend!
From the outside, Harvest 18 looks huge with a large brick front and tower overshadowing a sidewalk patio. But step inside and Harvest 18 feels very tidy and familiar. Modern and classic with a clean look and feel, Harvest 18 sports a bar on the left-hand side and has a very open feel to the place. We order up the pimiento cheese and tortilla chips app to start off with. It’s a spin on queso and chips, nicely done but doesn’t quite stand out for me. Harvest 18 has a pretty short menu that looks familiar to those who have dined at Seaboard 18. I go with the grilled meatloaf with mashed potatoes and collards at $12. Overall the prices at Harvest 18 are really reasonable. Outside of a $25 ribeye steak, all entrees here are comfortably under $20 and very accessible.
When my plate arrives, it seems like an awful lot of food. A large, cross-hatched 1 1/2″ thick slice of meatloaf which fills the plate atop a large pile of mashies with collards underneath. And Harvest 18 does a good meatloaf, tasty and the mashed potatoes were nicely laced with the cheese flavor. It’s an excellent choice if you’re in the mood for some comfort food. Just be prepared to unloosen your belt a bit!
Service at Harvest 18 was excellent. The young lady waiting our table was well-trained, kept our glasses full and handled the meal perfectly. In all honesty, that’s the one area I expected Harvest 18 to shine given Chef Smith’s other restaurants. Looking around the dining room I did notice that the patrons were definitely on the mature side, similar again to 18 Seaboard. So in the end, my opinion of Harvest 18 is very similar to what I’d have for 18 Seaboard, it’s a great and safe place to bring your parents! Which means you’re talking about a place with basic dishes, prepared well and served up professionally. And in an environment that’s more subdued and conducive to conversation. And if that’s what you’re looking for, Harvest 18 fits the bill perfectly. My tastes run more towards ethnic and flavorful but I very much respect what they’re doing at Harvest 18. Even if it may not totally be my cup of tea, at its price-points and for what it delivers, Harvest 18 does an excellent job! So cheers to Harvest 18 moving out and delivering solid Southern fare to the Southpoint area…
8128 Renaissance Parkway, Suite 114
Durham, NC 27713