When it comes to fine dining restaurants Las Vegas can compete with any city. But, what the city lacks (with the exception of Chinatown/Spring Mountain Rd.) is casual, moderately-priced dining spots with excellent food. Hops and Harvest fills that void with Bradley and Bryan Ogden’s farm to table concept featuring many locally sourced ingredients along with domestic craft brews and wines from the west coast.
The James Beard award winning chef and his son have created a menu full of comfort food with inspired and creative touches like the goat cheese stuffed crepe in the bibb lettuce salad and brought back items from their former restaurant in Caesars Palace like the blue corn muffins and the Maytag bleu cheese souffle.
One of my favorite dishes is the short rib nachos ($9.50). Comprised of house made potato chips, tender chunks of beef short ribs, melted cheddar and horseradish sour cream it creates a wonderful blend of salty and savory flavors. The potato chips do tend to get a little soggy with the sauce covering them, but it’s so good that the dish won’t last long. The spicy BBQ pork belly bites ($11) are another hit. If you enjoy succulent chunks of meaty and fatty swine then you’ll appreciate this offering with its sweet and spicy sauce and cheddar ale dipping sauce. It was almost like a fusion of Chinese and American barbeque.
I’ve tried both the seared tuna sliders ($12) and the crispy chicken sliders ($9.50) and wasn’t disappointed either time. The lime sauce and tempura-like mushroom are great compliments to the tuna. While the house made buttermilk ranch, although a little runny, enhanced the already flavorful chicken. The crispy and well seasoned breading could easily give the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices a run for its money. Not to be forgotten are the amazing buns. Like the majority of items at Hops and Harvest, they’re made in-house, brushed with a red wine butter, and are perfectly squishy and chewy with slightly toasted edges. With three sliders per order, each dish is great for sharing or makes for a light, yet satisfying, meal.
The deliciousness doesn’t stop there. The sharpness of the bleu cheese and the acidity of the heirloom tomatoes ($7.50) make for a tantalizing combination in the tomatoes small bites dish. The dungeness crab cake ($17.50) is a single crab cake covered (and practically hidden) by an amazing carrot-fennel slaw. The slaw is so good they should offer it up as one of their a la carte sides. The Maytag bleu cheese souffle ($12) has always been one of Ogden’s most popular dishes and the version here is similar to the one at his old restaurant, although at a more wallet-friendly price.
The bone-in prime rib eye entree ($45) was slightly overcooked but the seasoning and the zinfandel shallot sauce made up for it. As the priciest dish on the menu it was a shame it wasn’t perfect, but it still rates as one of the better steaks I’ve had off the Strip. As per our request, it was sliced prior to being served table-side because our party of four adults was eating family-style.
I rarely order meatloaf, but the bacon wrapped version here was good enough to make me want to order it again. Two slices of meatloaf were topped with a sweet, zesty, well balanced sauce and accompanied by some chunky, garlic heavy mashed potatoes.
Not surprisingly (since it’s in the Summerlin area), there’s a kid’s menu. They don’t serve frozen kiddie food here. Just like the adult food, they carefully craft each dish with fresh ingredients. My kid loved the grilled chicken breast ($8) and I was thrilled to see that option on the menu. On another occasion my kid tried the grilled cheese bites ($8) with tomato herb sauce. I enjoyed it, but the cheeses used (aged white cheddar and something else) were too bold for his palate.
There were a couple things I wasn’t crazy about. The blue corn muffins could have used more salt or something and the polenta bites, minus the green goddess dipping sauce, were on the bland side. But, obviously it’s impossible for every dish to satisfy everyone’s palate.
No meal is complete without dessert, in my opinion. The butterscotch pudding ($9) with snicker doodle cookies filled a square bowl and was plenty large to share. The mild sweetness of the silky smooth pudding was the perfect way to end the meal. My kid was equally as happy with the cinnamon-sugar donut holes ($9) that came with a milk chocolate custard dipping sauce. I was quick enough to snag one bite before he and others at our table devoured the dish.
Great service accompanied each of my three visits. Jessica was the consummate pro — engaging, outgoing, friendly, knowledgable, and efficient. After meeting her during my first meal, I made a point to request a table in her section on subsequent visits.
The vibe of the restaurant is casual and laid back and the decor fits that mood with lots of distressed wood, metal, and chalkboards. Great for hanging out with friends, a date night, and even a family dinner, Bradley Ogden and son have brought their thoughtfully crafted, award-winning food back to Vegas and, thankfully, to local’s spot off the Strip.
— Updated on 12/20/13 —
It was sad to hear the other day that Hops and Harvest closed for good. While it never caught on with locals, I found it to be one of the better off-Strip restaurants around. Certainly, one with excellent service and food with soul. Having dined there again recently, I experienced quality ingredients that made up wonderful dishes like their mushroom polenta bites, spaghetti squash, braised short ribs, and one of the best apple cobblers around. The Ogden’s seem to be concentrating their focus on their Houston restaurants at the moment, but hopefully Vegas isn’t out of the picture permanently.
450 S Rampart Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89145