It’s been a tumultuous couple of years at The Harvest Vine in Madison Valley. There was a major shakeup behind the scenes of the iconic tapas restaurant, as chef/owner Joseba Jiménez de Jiménez and his wife, Carolin Messier, divorced in late 2009. (Messier now owns the restaurant; Jiménez was last moonlighting at West Seattle’s Swinery in 2010.) Then, last summer, chef Kylen McCarthy left to helm the kitchen at Marjorie, taking two members of the already small kitchen staff with him. And if two recent meals are any indication, the 13-year-old restaurant has yet to regain its footing.
With Joey Serquinia of Txori (the couple’s now-shuttered Belltown tapas bar) running the Harvest Vine kitchen, the restaurant is hit or miss. The eye-catching yellow and ruby beet salad ($9.50) is still sensational, the slivers bathing in a shallow pool of grassy olive oil with crunchy sea salt. So, too, the swoony revuelta—eggs and cream marvelously soft-scrambled, then tangled up with pulled pieces of duck confit ($13). But just as often, you’ll encounter a bland gratin of Brussels sprouts ($10), or overcooked, mealy monkfish ($19), or prawns with bomba rice ($19) and hardly a speck of kick. In Harvest Vine’s heyday, these were the knockout dishes; now, they’re missing their oomph. Since it opened, The Harvest Vine has been Seattle’s Spanish sure-thing. Not so anymore.
Brunch Sat.–Sun., dinner daily. Madison Valley, 2701 E Madison St.; 206.320.9771; harvestvine.com. $$