You can choose charcuterie plates with varieties of meat and cheese, but we kept it simple with a rose-like round of thin-sliced fennel-scented finnochiona salami and a happy contingent of accompaniments.

We go for the big cheese, and charcuterie too, at Harvey’s

By Robin Garr

Charcuterie. Not long ago, most of us weren’t even sure how to pronounce it. Now, says the National Restaurant Association, “Charcuterie makes the cut for 2023. A Top 3 hot menu trend and No. 1 in appetizers … charcuterie is a rising star on menus.”

Indeed, charcuterie is showing up in restaurants all over town. You can get a board on the menu at Red Hog, North of Bourbon, Mussel & Burger Bar, Monnik Beer Co., where the $21 charcuterie plate features local meats and cheeses … did I mention that charcuterie is trending? We’re even getting shops that specialize in charcuterie: Board and You in New Albany will fashion you a board to go, and so will Cultured – Cheese and Charcuterie Bar in Butchertown. Not to mention Harvey’s in Clifton, a newish spot that I’ve been meaning to check out since it opened at the end of February, when it moved into this storefront in the Clifton Lofts condo building from its former stand in the Logan Street Market.

It’s a small but comfortable space, doing a substantial take-out business in party cheese and charcuterie boards, cheese plates, and a small but interesting slection of cheeses, locally produced jams and jellies, and more. You’ll hear a faint Aussie accent here, as Brent Mills, who owns Harvey’s with his wife Ashley Urjil-Mills, hails from Sydney, where the couple met. They named the shop after their son.

You’re welcome to dine in too, with comfortable wooden tables and chairs in a quick-service setting where you order at the counter.

The lunch menu fits on one page but still gives plenty of choice; the flip side offers a similarly enticing choice of beverages. On the food side you’ll find four appetizers (titled “snacks”), four sandos (yep, sandwiches), and four meal-size bowls, along with a cheese-and-charcuterie option and a trio of sweets. Just about everything is priced in the teens, with a couple of snacks on the low end and a black garlic ricotta gnocchi bowl topping out the price range at $24.

We started with a pair of snacks: bowls of marinated olives ($7) and crunch nut mix ($6). Both items looked small but turned out to be so filling that we took about half home in takeout tubs.

At least 30 attractive emerald-green Castelvetrano olives had been neatly pitted and marinated in a tangy lemon-fennel-scented oil that played nicely against the mild, buttery flavor of the olives. A sliver of gently spicy red Fresno pepper on top added color and a touch of heat.

Crunch nut mix appeared to be based on mixed nuts and perhaps corn kernels; they’d been roasted until flattened and crunchy, flavored with Asian lime leaf and pepperberry, a fruity spice from a Tasmanian shrub in Australia. Offbeat, yes. Delicious, also yes.

"Toastie" means "grilled cheese" in Australian slang, and this hefty portion on Wiltshire buttermilk bread with aged cheddar, smoked mozzarella and rocket pesto was a treat.
“Toastie” means “grilled cheese” in Australian slang, and this hefty portion on Wiltshire buttermilk bread with aged cheddar, smoked mozzarella and rocket pesto was a treat.

Harvey’s classico toastie ($13) is a hefty creation that a plain grilled cheese only wishes it could be. It’s built on Wiltshire’s tender buttermilk white bread, which holds up well under a combination of aged Cheddar and smoked mozzarella and a generous layer of mild, vegetal arugula pesto, with bits of sun-dried tomato as flavor surprises. It’s toasted until the bread is crisp and light golden brown and the cheeses molten. It’s almost too heavy a load for the bread, but the Wiltshire product came through. It was a real treat; and a ration of gaufrette waffle chips kicked up with pepperberry made it even better.

Naturally we had to have charcuterie, and the menu offers several options. First, select two or three of the cheeses of the day ($19 or $27), one or two of the charcuterie meats of the day ($9 or $16) then, optionally add a $12 conserva, a single-serving tinned fish from Spain or Portugal.

The toastie had left us deliciously cheesed out, so we opted for a single-meat charcuterie portion ($9) using finnochiona, fennel-scented Sicilian-style pork salami made in Wisconsin.

Charcuterie selections come with bread, condiments, and “accoutrement,” and all those goodies filled up an attractive, antique-looking rectangular glass dish with a tiny silver spoon to match. It was a satisfying combination of colors and textures – Some crunchy, some soft, some spicy, and some sweet – and yes, in retrospect, a bit of cheese on the plate wold have made it even better.

About eight round salami slices were neatly fashioned into a flower shape, the star of the plate. Artfully arranged around it were spicy pickled brussels sprouts; creamy mustard perhaps with a dab of wasabi; tiny cornichons; tiny mild teardrop-shape red peppers; pistachios in the shell that appeared to have been spiced and roasted or fried; corn nuts from the crunch nut mix; marinated black olives; dried figs and apricots; toasted seeded bread triangles and a stack of tiny square mini-toasts. It was a work of edible art, and I’d definitely do charcuterie again.

With cold water alongside, lunch came to $37.10, plus an $8 tip.

2011 Frankfort Ave.

Noise Level: The room wasn’t very crowded during a late weekday lunch, and even with soft background music noise never rose above a conversational 68dB.

Accessibility: A step bars independent wheelchair access to the front door, but a side door, the dining area and the restrooms all appear accessible to wheelchair users.