Plow & Harvest - Local Comfort Food (Restaurant Preview)

UPDATE: This place has now closed. A short stint in the #yegfood community. Interesting articles about who the original owners of Plow & Harvest can be found through a quick search of google.

Plow & Harvest - The Art of Comfort Food
Front door of Plow & Harvest
Local comfort food. Who doesn't like the sounds of those words? So, when talk of Plow & Harvest (P&H) began to show up on social media, Breakfast Television, and in my inbox everyone including myself was intrigued. I was invited to attend a soft opening for a sampling of their mains and side dishes one August evening. Upon entering the restaurant you are greeted by a huge red tractor. The restaurant is open concept and from the door you can see glimpses of the open kitchen.
Big red tractor at the front door of P&H.
Big red tractor gracing the front door of P&H.
To order your food, just walk a little to the left of the tractor and there will be cash registers and the menu available on digital screens. I am thinking that the set-up is similar to other restaurants where you order your food at the register, receive a number plaque, and then seat yourself. On a typical day, P&H also indicates that there are Ambassadors available to help guests out as needed. 
Placing your order at P & H
Here you would place your order at P&H.

Seating is self-serve and there are a number of long share tables in the middle spaces of the room and then regular chairs and tables surrounding the long tables. There are no booths, so this may make it a little tricky for families that have little ones or need space to put the car seat or stroller. However, there is a fair amount of space around the tables for little ones that might need to stretch their legs. 
seating at P&H
Long share tables with more seating a level
and around the share tables. 
There were also digital tablets available at each table where customers can click to see what the plates look like, read descriptions of menu items and even order their food (see the credit card swipe at the top?). The tablets also had various riddles, puzzles and games (e.g. paint) to entertain young and old alike.  
Tablets for ordering at P&H.
Tablets to order, play games or for more info at P&H.
A blackboard near the kitchen details where some of P&H's food items are sourced from. In talking to Chef James Bailey, he indicated that in the future P&H plans on printing the name of producers beside the dish descriptions in order for customers to see where the food is being sourced.
Nice to see where restaurants are sourcing their food from.
Now, onto the food. That night we were provided with a sampling of various items, so the dishes that were used were their sampler dishes and not their usual serving dishes. The descriptions of some of their dishes can be found on their website. Pictured below are the first 4 samplers that we tried within the first two hours: Baked Potato Soup (creamy potato soup with smoky bacon, sharp cheddar, sour cream and green onion), Hand-cut plank fries, Pickled vegetables (pickles, onions, jalapenos) and Not-So-Sloppy Joe (P&H spicy secret recipe with ground beef, sweet peppers & melted cheddar on their soft artisan bread).
Baked Potato Soup, Hand-cut Plank fries,  Pickled Vegetables & Not-So-Sloppy Joe. at P& H
Baked Potato Soup, Hand-cut Plank fries,
Pickled Vegetables & Not-So-Sloppy Joe. 
Admittedly, it was difficult to form a complete impression of their baked potato soup as there were only a few spoonfuls. From what I tasted, the soup was creamy, thick and had a nice balance of green onions and cheddar. However, I did find it a tad salty which may have been the addition of the bacon and the size of the soup container. The hand-cut fries were crispy when they arrived at the table. A part of me wonders if they will be serving the fries in the same container as that seemed to help keep the fries warm. As for the pickled veggies, I enjoyed the sweet & sour of the pickles though would have liked more crunch to the pickles. The jalapenos looked way to spicy, so I gave mine away to another food blogger! As for the Not-So-Sloppy Joe, I personally found it a tad messy and definitely needed one more napkin before I finished my taster sandwich.
local brews and wines at P&H
P&H fresh squeezed lemonade, Ribstone Creek,
Blasted Church's Hatfield's Fuse White and Alley Kat's Aprikat.
There was a bit of time in between some of the tasters, so I took the opportunity to check out P&H's beverage selection. P&H has a variety of "free-flowing" beverages such as Boylan's All-Natural Soda, fresh brewed iced tea & fresh squeezed lemonade, and sparkling & filtered water. The fresh squeezed lemonade that I tried was refreshing and not too tart or sweet. I also let the ice melt a bit before I had my first sip (too busy taking photos!), so this may have helped with the overall taste. In going with their desire to source locally, P&H's local brews and wines that they have on their menu are sourced from Edmonton and area (Alley Kat, Big Rock, Ribstone Creek), Calgary (Wildrose), and with wines coming from Okanagan (Blasted Church, See Ya Later Ranch) with the exception of a sparkling wine (Sofia Mini). 
Buttermilk fried chicken (top), Baked mac-n-cheese (middle),
and P&H Grilled Cheese with bourbon bacon jam (bottom).
The last few samplers that we tried was the Mac-n-cheese, P&H Grilled Cheese, and the much anticipated Buttermilk Fried Chicken! The Mac-n-cheese was likely the one item that I had a hard time eating. The pasta seemed to be a bit too soft, and the sauce had a watery texture to it. Certainly, everyone has different preferences when it comes to mac and cheese. However, had the pasta been more al dente and the cheese sauce thicker, I'm sure I would have enjoyed this sample more.

When talking to Chef James Bailey, he indicated that his favourite menu item is the P&H's Grilled Cheese sandwich which is served with a blend of melted spicy jack cheeses, smoky bourbon bacon jam, arugula, & roasted tomatoes on whole grain bread. On first bite, the sandwich was tasty. The cheese was melted, but the bread itself was slightly dry. I wonder if more bacon jam was needed to really provide flavour throughout the sandwich.

Last but not least, was the buttermilk fried chicken. This was definitely the winner of the night for everyone. The fried chicken was crispy, yet still juicy and had a nice accompaniment of dijon mustard slaw & pickled red onions. It is a great sandwich. I honestly wish I had a bigger portion so I could delve further into how good that sandwich tasted.

Door prizes from P&H of fudge, P&H pickles and soda.
Right before we left, Andrea  managed to get us all a taste of P&H's frozen vanilla custard. From the taste I had, I'm sure it will be delicious in their Frozen Custard Sandwich and in their floats.
Sneak taste of the frozen vanilla custard (pretty delish!)
All in all, this night was a good opportunity to hang out with friends and sample tastings of the various food that Plow & Harvest has to offer. With the sampler sizes being so small, it was hard to get a definite idea of whether or not the food item was supposed to taste or look like they did. Certainly, like all new restaurants there are some areas to fine tune over time. I am curious to find out what the full-size portions look and taste like. I would definitely return for that Buttermilk Fried chicken as it was pretty tasty! Another item on my list would be the frozen custard sandwich and custard floats! 

Plow & Harvest
10041 170st.
Edmonton, AB
Daily at 11am
Plow & Harvest on Urbanspoon


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