Back in July, I took T to Hearth to celebrate his birthday. I liked the low key feel of the restaurant, which was cozy but not the least bit pretentious. They were celebrating their summer of riesling, and all of the wait staff was wearing t-shirts supporting that fact.
We chose to go with the 7 course tasting menu. They started with a simple lentil salad with fresh pressed extra virgin olive oil. It might have been simple, but the flavors were quite expressive – and the olive oil was noticeably flavorful. This course was followed by a warm summer salad, with purple basil and pickled veggies. I’m not accustomed to warm salads, but this one was a nice contrast to the cool lentil salad that had preceded it,
The next course was Wild Florida Snapper with a bacon consume. There was something almost irreverent about fish and bacon. Is that legal? It was so good! The broth and sprinkling of bacon across the top was such a fun mix of flavors with the snapper. So fish and bacon? I say I’m a believer.
The next dish was basic comfort food done right. Hearth’s homemade macaroni with housemade ricotta was just solid goodness. The thick tubed pasta noodles were a fun variation, and the ricotta versus thick cheese layers made for a lighter, more summery spin on the classic. This was ricotta done right.
Our next course was the heartiest – lamb with a chickpea and feta salad and a chickpea purée. The lamb portion only looked small. It ended up being more than enough. The lamb was perfectly cooked. The sauce was not overwhelmingly heavy, but just enough to make a statement. The chickpea purée might not have photographed wonderfully here, but it was quite tasty in person (I promise).
When I saw dessert come out for course six, I had to smile, since that meant not one but two dessert courses! First up was a marscapone cheesecake with candied sunflower seed and golden raisins. I really liked this one. The marscapone made for a lighter cheesecake and the candied sunflower seed, something I’d never had, was a nice salty contrast to the dish.
I don’t know if it is because I have not been eating much chocolate these days, or if it was the six preceding courses, but I was a bit done by the time the final dish appeared in front of me at the table. It was quite good, though on the heavier side for a dessert. It was a dense Valherona chocolate accompanied by coconut gelato, hazelnuts, and a chocolate mousse. The mousse along with the gelato was my favorite part.
And for T’s finale, there was strawberry shortcake, complete with a happy birthday note.
Overall, the meal made for a wonderful way to celebrate the occasion. I’d wanted to visit for quite some time and was glad to see it lived up to the hype!
Hearth – 403 E 12th St (at 1st Ave) – 646.602.1300