We talkin’ about the same place?

I am writing in response to your review of Harvest Restaurant [“Harvest: East Asheville Restaurant Still Needs to Ripen,” June 20]. First, in the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I am an employee and so have a vested interest in seeing us portrayed fairly in print.

Overall, I found your article to be misguided—even to the point of spitefulness—and in some instances just incorrect. Because of details you included, I could tell that you visited Harvest at least two months [before the article]. However, you fail to mention this to your readers [and] instead, [you] made it seem that your meals took place recently—which is false and ultimately a misrepresentation of our establishment as it functions today.

While I must accept that your criticisms were grounded in fact and in your assumed good taste, I also believe that they were hyperbolic nearly to the point of slander. For instance, your description of the garden salad as a “plug of lettuce” beneath a “quarter-pound”(!) of pig is so far from the dish’s actual presentation as to be laughable. … The “skinny” ribs are in fact Danish ribs … lower in fat content and thus less messy.

And while I will admit that the calamari has been hit or miss (and has since been removed from the menu), the so-called “funnel-cake coating” did not reappear “in the hushpuppy appetizer,” because it is … a different product altogether. And the green tomatoes are fried, after all. We’re still waiting for our supplier to get here with that new non-greasy oil. Must be caught in traffic.

Another concern was your framing of the review in terms of a diatribe against “chi-chi supermarkets.” I do not know what inspired you to portray Harvest as a poster boy for the “farm-to-table movement,” but your assertion that we somehow subscribe to the gourmet-dirt aesthetic that permeates Asheville is your invention, not ours. Additionally, while I’m sorry you didn’t get your invitation to the “family reunion,” to pigeonhole us as a Fairview-only establishment—and one frequented by high school students—is just false. Maybe it’s different for food critics, but has a single restaurant ever inspired someone to pick up and move? Did the long, three-exit drive from Asheville make you a little grumpy?

On the practical side, in terms of fact-checking, I was most upset to see that you listed our hours incorrectly, as we have been open for Sunday brunch (with live music and bloody-Mary bar) for nearly two months now, and our bar hours were not listed at all.

Regardless of the new business that your skewed review might cost us, this carelessness directly damages and misrepresents our establishment. I must assert our right to have this rectified with a correction. I also invite you to reassess your take on Harvest by visiting again—that is, if you can put up with “Aunt Daisy (and) Uncle Hector’s” bickering (what!?).

— Zach Speakes

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