The Restaurant Sampler

Harvest Moon Pizzeria

Harvest Moon Pizzeria

In the early darkness of an Indiana winter, weary and famished by the toils of the season, I headed for an old favorite down on the west side of Nashville, Harvest Moon Pizzeria.

I trekked past the gazebo on the Village Green next to the restaurant’s outdoor dining patio blanketed with snow and looking somewhat forlorn—no al-fresco dining on this evening.

For dining companionship, I chose my new pastor, his charming wife, and—as a little test for the staff and fellow patrons—their one-year old daughter. Unfortunately, she is such a charming and well-behaved young child, that she really didn’t push everyone involved as far as I might have liked, purely from scientific curiosity, mind you.

For an appetizer, I had the breadsticks, which were good with a little cheese dip, and the pastor ordered nacho chips with salsa and cheese dips. Also on the appetizer menu: stuffed breadsticks, herb cheese bread, and spinach cheese bread.

I started with a house salad, although the menu also offers an Italian chef salad as well a culture-crunching Cajun chicken Cesar salad. Also available: minestrone and a “Soup of the Day.”

Harvest Moon creates hoagies on a fresh-baked Italian roll served with chips and a pickle. There’s a whole lotta hoagies going on at the Harvest, including beef, Italian roast beef, meatball, Cajun chicken; ham and cheese hoagies, turkey hoagies, vegetarian hoagies; a “Classic Stromboli” and even a “Not-So-Classic Club Hoagie”

The Harvest Moon has a large selection of pasta dishes, and even a “Create Your Own Pasta Entrée” option on the menu. You choose from spaghetti, fettuccini, ravioli, tortellini, penne, or rainbow rotini. Then you complement your pasta entrée with meatballs, Italian sausages, sautéed mushrooms, chicken breasts or steamed broccoli. Then top off your creation with marinara or meat sauce, pesto, or creamy Alfredo sauce.

If you would prefer that the Chef dream up your pasta dish, there is a fine selection to choose from on the Harvest Moon bill of fare: Pasta Primavera with fresh broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and zucchini tossed with rainbow rotini and your choice of fresh-made marinara or Alfredo sauces; Ravioli with Shrimp and Pink Sauce, a wonderful cheese ravioli tossed with sautéed shrimp in a delicate seafood sauce; Tortellini Mazzarese, a fantastic cheese tortellini with ripe olives, cream and pesto; Cajun Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo, a chicken breast with onions, mushrooms, fresh cream, Parmesan cheese and Cajun spices.

I chose the Harvest Moon Pasta Trio—an excellent sampler for those of us who are challenged in making up our minds. (You know who you are. Do you just end up ordering what the other guy is having because, no matter what it is, his is going to look better to you than yours?)

This delightful trio has the excellent baked lasagna, classic spaghetti marinara (I had the meat sauce) and, my personal favorite, fettuccini Alfredo. Served with slices of garlic bread, the sampler filled the bill—and my greedy winter tummy—just perfectly.

The new pastor had the Chicken Parmesan; two breaded chicken breasts smothered with fresh marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese, served with a side of spaghetti with marinara sauce. A tall, thin, youngish man, the pastor devoured this offering with such apparent relish and vigor that I did not find it necessary to ask whether he had enjoyed it or not. It was obviously delicious.

All pasta entrees are served with a choice of Caesar or house salad and breadsticks, and you can add a cup of soup for $1.95.

However, in the final analysis, a Pizzeria is about the Pizza. Regardless of the other niceties and side dishes, you probably came to Harvest Moon for the pizza, and you came to the right place.

There is a certain pizza combination that I like (sausage and mushroom, green peppers and onion, extra cheese on a deep dish, thick crust) and I have eaten this combination in dozens, probably hundreds, of settings in numerous different places over many years. This supplies us with a “baseline pizza experience” or BPE by which to rate any pizza place anywhere. (Hey, you think I’m fooling around here? This is Science as much as Art!)

The Harvest Moon version of the aforementioned pie was everything one could hope for; crisp, chewy crust, plenty of good tasty cheese and a well-balanced combination of sausage and veggies. And, for bonus points, the pizza appeared at my table with amazing alacrity – piping hot from the pizza oven.

It was absolutely delightful. It scored a very high BPE rating. The Pastor’s wife had the barbecue chicken pizza, without the onions, on the traditional, hand-tossed crust. It was also very tasty, and I had to eat two or three slices of hers also—purely from professional interest, you understand.

Other specialty pizzas featured at Harvest Moon include a “Carnivore’s Delight” with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham and ground beef; the “Garden Patch” with mushroom, onion, green pepper, black olive, zucchini, tomato and broccoli; a “Chicken Alfredo” pizza with onions, mushrooms and broccoli; “The Luau” with ham, pineapple, onion and extra cheese or the “Born on the Bayou” with Cajun chicken, onion, green peppers and zucchini.

If you can imagine any other creation from these ingredients, the Harvest Moon can assemble a pizza for you; choose from five different sauces spread on fresh-made dough, hand-tossed or deep and thick, covered with fresh toppings and 100 percent whole milk mozzarella cheese.

The Harvest Moon Pizzeria is located at 140 West Main Street in Nashville carry-out service is available at 988-6565.

Dining hours are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. On weekends, when the weather warms up, you can enjoy your meal on the patio while listening to some of Brown County’s best musicians.