I was recently invited out to the resort to test drive their brand new restaurant Highball & Harvest, a farm to table concept that takes a modern approach to Southern cuisine.
The decor is a mix of modern and rustic with it’s slick dark leather and warm wood. I love the nod to the chicken coop in the first photo above.
Here at the bar you’ll find a generous selection of craft beers and wine as well as hand crafted cocktails infused with seasonal fruits and herbs.
Doc Holiday ($10) Blueberry Jam, Tito’s Vodka, Ruby Grapefruit and House Made Ginger-Beer. Very similar to a Moscow Mule. The house made ginger beer sends this drink over the edge.
One of the chefs told us the story of how the restaurant saved a local farmer from going bankrupt after another buyer backed out of buying an entire harvest of blueberries he had grown especially for them. Highball and Harvest saved the day by agreeing to purchase his blueberry crop. Gotta love that!
Dill or No Dill ($11) Sipsmith’s Gin, Elderflower, Cucumber, Dill and Lemon.
Other drinks on the menu include the Last Wish made with Old Havana Tobacco Bitters, Back 40 Punch and something called the Orange Ave Officers Club made with Death’s Door Gin.
H&H Parker House Rolls ($4) Ancient Grains, Herb Butter, Apple Butter. Do not skip this bread service. These rolls are baked fresh and arrive to the table in a collared pan. The collar is removed table side to reveal the warm bread. Both spreads are decadent.
The Southern Spread ($16) Pimento Cheese, Smoked Fish Dip, Pickled Vegetables, Benne-Seed Lavash, Sourdough Bread. Perhaps my favorite offering of the meal. I am a cheese lover. How can you beat home made pimento cheese? You can’t!
This appetizer is served in a tackle box. The fish dip was equally as impressive and didn’t have an overly fishy taste to it. The lavash was crisp like a cracker.
Crab Cake and Fried Green Tomato ($16) Cajun Remoulade and Corn Chow-Chow. Beautifully orchestrated dish which really showcased the farm to table delights.
Blackened Grouper ($29) Hominy Ragout, Andouille and Pickled Okra. This was my lunch entree. Fish. Perfect. Sauce. Rich and decadent. Pickled okra. Not slimy at all and a nice acidic balance to the rich sauce. I found the sausage a bit rubbery so I picked around it. I would order this dish on a return trip and just ask for the andouille to be omitted.
The rest of these entrees were ordered by my dining companions.
Booker’s Skirt ($30) Grilled Corn & Tomato Salad, Potato Puree and Charred Onion Vinaigrette.
Shrimp & Grits ($25) Canaveral Red Shrimp, Anson Mills Grits, Charred Tomato BBQ, Arugula, Fennel and Crisp Onions.
Grilled Line-Caught Swordfish ($32) Beluga Lentils, Cilantro Coulis and Mango.
H&H Pimento Cheeseburger ($18) Double Short-Rib Patties, Bacon, Mustard, Pimento Cheese and Spicy Pickles. This entree was delivered to the able and cut into sections for all of my table mates to try. The short rib meat elevated this burger to a whole new level. The hot, seasoned fries were like crack.
After lunch we were presented with some desserts to share.
Baby Donuts ($9) Cappuccino Ice Cream and Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. These little bite sized gems were made just a little bit more perfect by squeezing the tube of Nutella out onto them. The ice cream was a smart accompaniment and was a perfect reincarnation of coffee and doughnuts.
H&H Key Lime Tart ($9) Winter Park Honey Infused Oranges and Margarita Sorbet. Crisp, tart and smooth. All the textures you want in a dessert. Unfortunately, our group didn’t notice the margarita sorbet on the table until it had turned into a creme anglaise.
Warm Chocolate Cake ($9) Bourbon Pickled Apple Chutney and Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream. Not exactly what you might expect to arrive at the table when ordering chocolate cake right? Highball and Harvest is full of delightful surprises like this. How ingenious is the presentation? Chocolate cake is baked in a crock and topped with apples and ice cream. A light bulb carafe of cream anglaise is served alongside which is meant to be poured on top.
Strawberry Shortcake ($9) Strawberry Sorbet, Poached Rhubarb and Bubble Gum Marshmallow. Surprisingly, this was my favorite of all the desserts sampled. The shortcake was an authentic sweet biscuit. The sorbet was tart and the strawberries and whipped cream were luscious.
Highball and Harvest is open daily from 6:30 am to 10 pm where they are serving guests breakfast, lunch and dinner. The bar (see the menu here) is open from 11 am to midnight. Valet parking is free when dining at the bar or restaurant. Present your parking voucher for validation.
Highball & Harvest
at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando
4012 Central Florida Parkway
Orlando, Florida 32837