By Emily J. Weitz
When Harbor Market opened seven months ago, the community held its breath. The beloved space on the corner of Division and Henry streets had long been a spot for regulars to grab their everyday fix. So would the new owners understand this, and serve the need?
The three owners, Susana and Paul Del Favero and Abbey Warsh, have nestled themselves right in. And as the colder weather arrives, they show no signs of retreating. Harbor Market has always intended to be a year-round institution to serve the year-round community, a place built to last from the materials to the evolving menu and the staff.
“People frequently comment that we didn’t use cheap materials to do the build-out,” said co-owner Ms. Warsh. “It doesn’t feel like a seasonal rush job to get in and out and make a buck. We invested in the community with heart and soul and purpose.”
And the community has responded by keeping a dialogue open about what Harbor Market can be. The owners have been receptive to suggestions.
“A cute surprise has been just how many regulars are really rooting for us to do well,” said Ms. Warsh. “I have so many people who make suggestions, share the good and the bad, what works and what doesn’t, and almost always tell me just how badly they want us to succeed.”
The menu, created by chef and co-owner Paul Del Favero, features a little bit of everything. Comfort food like hot dogs and grilled cheese cater to kids, but the fresh and healthy vegetables and grains form the bulk of the offerings.
“The roasted cauliflower salad and the quinoa salad are the biggest sellers,” said Ms. Warsh. “During the summer we were going through 20 pounds of cauliflower every day.”
As the weather gets colder and Harbor Market prepares for the winter and the holidays daily soups, including at least one vegetarian option, will be on the menu. Pasta specials and daily fish specials will come hot from the kitchen and made to order.
“We’ve also added warm winter food such as beef stew made with short ribs, cippolini onions and fresh local carrots,” said Ms. Warsh.
As chef Paul designs the menu, he uses tried and true recipes from his own family.
“It is a traditional American holiday menu,” said Ms. Warsh, “and his recipes have been culled over the years, but they are his personal family recipes.”
Because they draw from seasonal influences, the holiday and fall menus include items that are being harvested now. Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and stuffed squashes are finding their place behind the glass.
Italian-American, Spanish and Jewish specialties find their way onto the Harbor Market, drawing from the heritage of each of the three owners.
“All of those ethnicities and traditions appear in all of our menu planning, holiday and otherwise,” said Ms. Warsh.
They will feature a full Christmas dinner with sides, dessert, and a Christmas ham.
“We will also be celebrating Chanukah in the shop,” she said, “with handmade potato latkes, apple sauce, and jelly doughnuts all made in-house.”
Since it is so integral to their mission to be a community place, it makes sense to feature items on the menu that people can incorporate into their traditions. With holiday items that people can take home and share, fresh from a kitchen they know, Harbor Market is steeping itself even deeper into people’s lives.
By Chef Paul Del Favero
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups of uncooked white quinoa
3 whole leeks (green tops trimmed)
2 Lbs. of mixed mushrooms (a mix of Shitake, Oyster, Cremini)
12 large fresh sage leaves, chopped
3⁄4 cup and 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 375F. Split squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and season with salt, pepper, butter, honey, and a sprinkle of sugar. Bake until tender and caramelized. Let cool.
Rinse and drain the uncooked quinoa. In an uncovered pot, add water, quinoa, and bring to a rolling boil. Lower the heat and add cover, cook for about 15 – 20 minutes until most of the water is absorbed. Shut off heat and let stand covered for 5 – 10 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and transfer to a bowl
Wash the leeks thoroughly and dice into 1⁄2 inch small pieces. Heat 1⁄4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a frying pan, add leeks, and sauté until soft and they have some color. Season with salt and pepper
Clean and cut mixed mushrooms into small pieces. Heat 1⁄4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a frying pan, add mushrooms and sauté until most of their water is released. Continue to sauté until caramelized and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.
Toss pumpkin seeds with a tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and salt to taste. Toast on baking sheet in a 300 oven until lightly golden. Let cool, then chop.
Toast walnuts on a baking sheet in a 300 oven until lightly golden. Let cool, then chop.
In a large mixing bowl, add the cooled quinoa, mushrooms, leeks, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and sage. Add salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle remaining Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Mix well.
Spoon the applesauce into a thin layer on the bottom of each squash. Next, add the quinoa mixture to each squash. Bake uncovered in a preheated 400 oven for 12 – 15 minutes, until quinoa is a little crunchy and golden on top.