I wanted to start this blog with one of my favorite restaurants, Hearth. I take any excuse I can make up to go there and starting this blog seemed like a good one to me. The restaurant is consistently excellent; the quality of food never wavers. On most nights, you can find the owner/chef in the kitchen, Marco Canora. If you’re really lucky, you can get the seats at the pass and watch the magic happen right in front of you.
Tonight, unfortunately Marco wasn’t there and the pass was full, that didn’t stop the rest of the evening from being wonderful. The menu changes with the seasons and the inspiration of Marco. He cooks with a heavy Italian flavor with a very innovative style. The restaurant itself is very dark, with brick walls and low lights, at times the dining room can become loud, but I can’t blame people for wanting to come here. I recommend getting something from their signature cocktail list which changes as well and letting the staff pair the wines with your food, they have never let me down. The staff is always attentive and fast, you can tell Marco demands the best from them. My wife and I shared plates, so I am will be reviewing two meals.
They always start your meal with a amuse bouche which is a soup in a shot glass. I’m told by the waiter that it is considered bad form to lick the inside of the glass, if they are serving borsht that night, I say it is better to ignore that advice. Tonight there was a black bean soup that was very thick and savory. They will bring you italian bread as long as you keep eating it, but make sure you don’t fill up on it, leave a bite of the second piece on your plate so you can make it through the meal.
For appetizers, we ordered the ribollita, this is a white bean peasant soup that we had the first time we went to Hearth and have had a few times before. It is a hearty, thick soup that feels like a comfort food that you never had before. We also ordered the chicken soup for the first time. It was hearty and the dumplings had great texture and held together very well. This isn’t your mother’s chicken soup, but if it is, I’d like to review your mom’s cooking next. It was just on the border of being too salty, but never crossed the line, so it kept a clean fresh flavor.
The main course was Cacciucco. I have no idea how to pronounce it, but it is amazing and simple; prawns, mussels, bass and clams in a red sauce. He knows how good the sauce is, because he puts a piece of bread on the bottom of the bowl for you to keep enjoying the sauce when you’re done with the seafood. This is also where that last bite of bread comes in handy, be sure to sop up any remaining sauce on it and then dream about the next time you order it. Our other main course was the roasted duclair duck. The duck breast paired with fig and a peppery onion sauce was exquisite. Also, if you are a fan of duck, you know how important it is to serve the duck medium rare and pair it with the leg, they make a completely delicious contrast from the same animal.
I’m not much of a desert person, but my wife ordered the cheese plate and asked the waiter to put his favorite three cheeses on the plate. My personal favorite was the blue cheese, but they were all very good examples of cheese. To our surprise, when we asked for the check, we were given the sorbet plate by the waiter. The plate included a pear, fig and yogurt sorbet; while not my favorite part of the evening, it was a very nice touch and it shows they care about their customers. This isn’t an every time occurrence when you come here, but it has happened to us before with a surprise pasta course.