If you're out in the still-rural-feeling western reaches of south central Broward County in search of a good greasy spoon, the Harvest Cafe is your greasy spoon. It's in front of a sleepy, anchorless strip center on the Cooper City/Davie border, at Griffin and Palm. I've been in the area every morning for work the last 2 weeks, so how could I resist going a few times?
The newspaper clippings are mostly about their weekly vintage-car nights, but at breakfast and lunchtime it's all about homey rural coffee-shop basics done well. The menu says the burgers are Black Angus beef and for once it's not a meaningless cliche. The meat is obviously fresh, tender and has that great charred flavor so rare in diner burgers (and it is a diner burger--on a toasted soft bun with American cheese.. this is not a focaccia or even kaiser-roll kind of place. Their honey fried chicken (an occasional special) is the real thing, made from scratch, and I'll bet similar things can be said of the chicken-fried steak and the like. The mashed potatoes are real, the gravy real, the side vegetables boiled plain but real. Today I got another special, apple barbecued ribs. Nothing that will have people flocking there for ribs, but nicely made with a (yep) pretty unique and homey mild baked-apple (applesauce?) based barbecue sauce. A few days ago I had their chicken cacciatore, an "avoid" in most diners with tough, chewy chicken breasts sliding around in canned marinara, but--yep--soggy diner spaghetti aside, they make their own gravy and the chicken is tender and bone-in. The soups I've had also seem to be from scratch, not the usual doctored canned nonsense you usually find. Cuban, Greek and Southern cooking dominate the specials; it seems to be the kind of place where the cooks make what they like. Think home cooking: the most avant-garde thing i've seen among the lunch specials was a spinach-sun-dried-tomato meatloaf. It was good, too, like something your mom might clip from a magazine--a quality most of their stuff has. I should see how much farther they push things at dinnertime.
NB: the bathrooms are on the outside of the building, gas station style. It's chow, not "eating out". Also, the Indian grocery in the adjacent strip mall is pretty lame.
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