Harbor House Restaurant, Elk, CA., 8/13/20

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exterior

Harbor House Restaurant had a 25 seat dining room but now offers seating on its back deck overlooking the Pacific coastline.  The Inn is in a 1916 logger’s retreat that has 9 rooms which were restored in 2018 by a 5 year remodeling.  Chef Matthew Kammerer uses exceptional local products based on the season to produce a seafood based tasting menu that is cooked with fire and steam.  The restaurant has one Michelin star and Chef Kammerer was named as a Best New Chef in 2019 Food & Wine Magazine.  They serve only a tasting menu of 9 savory and 2 sweet courses, with wine pairings available.  It is a pre-paid menu and not available on Tuesday and Wednesday.  There is plenty of parking out front and a selection of accommodations if you wish to stay there also.  The view is as magnificent as the food and they have a couple large awnings to provide some shade when the sun is up.  Later in the evening they roll those back and turn on the lights that are strung above and the portable heaters.   Staff were all friendly, helpful, masked and gloved and I noticed even during prep time in the kitchen the staff all wore masks.  Chef Kammerer does come out to serve some of the courses and visit with guests.  It appeared to have only one seating and the pacing was good but plan to spend about 4 hours, although it never lagged it was a nice relaxed pace.  Portion control was good.

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outdoor deck
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outdoor deck pre-all set up
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what is the experience
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Libations
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pairing options
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table set up

They start you with a warm wet towel to clean your hands.

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cloth to clean up before starting
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Frankie liked the chopstick rest
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white wine
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red wine

First is a selection of small bites.  Pork jerky was painted with a plum vinegar glaze and was a scrumptious.  An infusion of grilled leeks was highlighted with a bit of Kombu butter.  The broth was warm and delightful.  An oyster mushroom was seasoned with fermented kohlrabi and sesame and was very good with a bit of chewiness.  A summer pickle was combined with salted summer daikon and shiso to make a roll.  It was not as tart as I expected and instead nicely fresh and crisp.

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first bites
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pork jerky, plum vinegar
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infusion of grilled leeks
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oyster mushroom, fermented kohlrabi, sesame
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summer pickle, salted and vinegared vegetables
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turned
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Frankie took in the view

Halibut was cured on kelp ponzu and served with horseradish, ‘camp fire butter’ and sweet herbs.  The tender fish pieces were great with the seasonings.  Each bite was the essence of fresh.

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Halibut, ponzu, horseradish, sweet herbs
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closer

Sungold and Early Girl tomatoes were mixed with cucumbers, Fort Bragg sea urchin, nasturtium and basils. The Early Girls were dehydrated over a fire and then mixed with the really crunchy cucumber.  Blending in the urchin was a perfect companion to the tart tomatoes with the smokey undertones.  It was really strongly flavored and totally yummy.  It all blended perfectly – let me say again, it was yummy.

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Sungold tomato, cucumbers, sea urchin, basils
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closer

Layers of potato, sake kasu and smoked salmon were in a Chawanmushi -like egg custard topped with new potato foam.  You needed to dig down into this one so you could get a bit of each layer in every bite.  A real treat.

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Frankie wondered what was in the pot
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layers of potato, sake kasu and smoked salmon
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inside

Koshihikari (Japanese rice) was topped with spring onion, shiitake  and abalone mushrooms, red abalone and then topped with a sauce of abalone liver.  The abalone was roasted over kelp and mixed with dashi and opened tableside.  The sauce was totally savory and didn’t have a hint of liver or iron.  This dish had wonderful textures and flavors.  It was delicious.

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serving of abalone
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Abalone, abalone mushroom, shiitake rice and sauce of abalone offal
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little closer
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sauce

Sea lettuce infused sourdough bread was served with cultured butter infused with roasted sea lettuce.  The bread had a good chew to the interior and a great crisp crust.  It was spongy and wonderful.  The butter was very subtly flavored and really enhanced the  bread.

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sea lettuce sourdough, cultured butter, ember roasted sea lettuce
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closer
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closer
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inside
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Sommelier Jamie Cohen and Frankie

Grilled and/or poached summer vegetables were dressed with brassica leaf spice oil.  It included roasted gem lettuce, kohlrabi, eggplant, dehydrated purple daikon,  poached cabbage and miso purée.  The cabbage was mild where the lettuce was smokey and flavorful.  They were all nice.

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Grilled vegetables, brassica leaf spice oil
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closer
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cabbage and eggplant
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miso purée and lettuce
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dehydrated purple daikon and miso purée
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sunset

Black rock cod was served with zucchini in miso soup.  The cod had been slowly grilled and the miso contained some spinach leaves with the thin sliced zucchini.  The silky fish was perfectly cooked and wonderful with the strongly flavored amazing broth.  This one was a yum.

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Black rock cod, zucchini, miso soup
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closer
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Frankie found an interesting object that looked like part of an abalone shell

Lamb shoulder was a heritage breed from Stemple Creek in Marin County.  It was cooked confit with green garlic and shiso.  Alongside was okra and dried chrysanthemum.  The lamb was wonderful, tender and well flavored.  The parts blended really well.  It was some of the best lamb that I’ve had.

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Lamb, elk spice, green garlic, okra
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closer
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evening on the deck

A drink of blackberry and pineapple sage tonic was a vivid pink and quite flavorful.  A good transition to the sweet part of the meal.

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blackberry and pineapple sage tonic

Wakame ice cream was made with grilled seaweed.  The texture was like the best gelatos, smooth and creamy.  Nicely sweet with a bit of wheat flavor, but the texture was the star here.

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Wakame ice cream
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closer
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Frankie pondered the mat

Garden herbs were brought with grilled honey to dip and then blend into a tea of puffed wild rice.  It was nice and pretty but only okay.   Last was a pieces of Galia melon (a cross between a honeydew and cantaloupe), plum and strawberry.  All nicely full of flavor with slightly different textures.  A sweet fresh ending to an exemplary meal.

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garden herbs, Galia melon, plum, strawberry
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Garden herbs and grilled honey
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infusion of roasted brown rice
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Galia melon, plum and strawberry
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menu of the evening
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Chef Matthew Kammerer and Frankie

2 thoughts on “Harbor House Restaurant, Elk, CA., 8/13/20

  1. The information that you have stated above in the article will help people know more about the place and the food offered. Thank you for listing it together and sharing the information with us. Keep sharing more such articles with us.

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