I had a whirlwind work week in San Francisco but the second I landed, I shot over to just-opened, paper-covered-windowed Jeepney for an apaerol and guava cocktail before joining my friends Michelle and Ashley on one of Ashley’s “last weeks in NYC food tour” meals across the street at Hearth. Though everyone in passing boasts about the food here, I can’t say much about their marketing – the website needs a serious cosmetic uplift (cheesy images – see below, confused theme description, and even the font of the name bothers me), and I don’t recall reading much about it in my daily publications. Still, after hearing stories of their decadent pastas, I was super excited to have a relaxed Friday night over a good meal with friends.
After getting a 15 minute rundown on cider from our overly eager and frantic waitress (definitely a starving stage actress), we placed our order and downed a shot of delicious, body-warming roasted vegetable puree, compliments of the chef. We then launched into the lettuces and vegetables salad with an assortment of cucumbers, tomatoes, roasted carrots, beets and a crunchy, nutritious puffed quinoa, and the smoked Spanish mackerel with grilled radicchio and golden raisins. The salad perfectly combined interesting and simple with local ingredients and multiple textures. The fish itself was earthy, smokey and perfectly soft; I only wish the chef had preserved the bitterness and bite that I traditionally love about radicchio.
“lettuces and vegetables”
smoked spanish mackeral
For our mains, we unanimously agreed on the Spatchcock Roasted Poulet Rouge Chicken and the Veal and Ricotta Meatballs with spinach cannelloni. Apparently, “poulet rouge” is an older breed, free-range bird that is commonly known for its flavorful meat. The chicken was indeed flavorful, juicy, well seasoned, and simple – just as a roast chicken should be, though I always prefer the skin a little crispier. The mini-saucepan of hot, creamy polenta was really what caught my attention. The main character of the pasta dish didn’t wow me either – the meatballs, though large, were too dense and overly salted, but I loved the beautiful pasta-wrapped spinach on the side.
meatballs & chicken
Our chocolate peanut butter sundae unfortunately was the most disappointing. What seemed like a dream come true turned out to be a melted mess of what was pitched as ice cream but turned out to be chocolate pudding (I swear it) with a small dollop of peanut butter nestled at the bottom. This type of dessert has the potential to be incredible – chefs should not mess with the simplicity of a delicious ice cream sundae – but our waitress was nice enough to take it off the bill after we expressed our confusion. Apple sauce donuts were none other than delicious, so that helped make up for it.
apple sauce donuts
peanut butter sundae
I love the atmosphere of Hearth. Everything about it screams Fall: the amber lighting, the brick and red walls, the candles, the open kitchen, the long cider menu, even the name . But when reviewing the dishes, despite the focus on local, high-quality ingredients, I just can’t ignore the prices that are over the top for the area – it would probably soar as a restaurant in midtown. Pastas are north of $29 and our chicken, the same sized portion as the “poulet rouge” roast chicken at Barbuto, was $60 – tough to stomach when $15 pastas at Lil Frankies are just down the street. Price aside, Hearth is a great place for a date with well thought out yet approachable, comforting food – just make sure you’re with someone who’s paying or who’s worth spending a few extra dollars.
Location: 403 East 12th @ 1st Ave