Friday, April 17, 2009

Hearth's Spring Menu

Last Sunday was, if memory serves me, and it so often doesn't, one of the first sunny days of Spring. I was walking about in the East Village and went by Hearth restaurant. Years ago before this space became Hearth it was an Italian place (I forget the name) that Neil and I used to love to go to, way back when we had disposable incomes. It was particularly exciting because you could sit at the bar and face the kitchen and watch everyone work, this was so long ago that this kind of thing was still a novelty. They also had a small room adjacent to the kitchen that you could eat in with a party of 8 and feel part of the excitement.

Anyway I digress, after that place closed it became Hearth, I was excited by the look of it and organized a dinner there with our friend Jane and a friend of hers at the time. We sat in the front room at a square table for 4 more or less in the middle of everything. Our wine steward was familiar to me from Gramercy Tavern, he'd been introduced to me by my dearly departed friend Brigit years before. Everything was in place for a great night, but it wasn't. It was too loud the food mediocre and the wine disappointing. It had gone from a local place with heart that was homey to something new, cold and just not very interesting to any of us, so I was never motivated to go back.

Over the years I've been thinking it would be fun to try again as it has mellowed (as have I) and become such a standard bearer of quality in the East Village. When I stopped last Sunday to view their Spring Menu I wasn't expecting anything just the usual spring onions with pork belly, rendered pork fat fried potatoes, a local grass fed burger, with Niman bacon and Vermont Cheddar, Salad with dried meat in it and of course some nice suet pie for dessert. You know the usual fare in trendy NYC restaurants of a certain ilk these days.

It is a credit to Chef Marco Canora, Chef de Cuisine Jordan Frosolone that they have created such a perfect, simple, classic and reasonably priced menu for Spring, it got me all excited so I wanted to share. It's nice to see a restaurant that could rest on it's laurels, not. And the rest of the menu is equally interesting and "clean" in it's conceptualization. Olive Oil poached Halibut with spring veggies - how perfect and simple. I look forward to one day being employed again and having some money to try Hearth again (hopefully soon, cross your fingers!)

Often I complaining about what I don't like so I thought it would be a nice change of pace to write about something that is exciting, smart and bucks the: "add pork to it and people will come" mentality that has run rampant these last couple of years here in NYC.

Here's their...

Cucina Povera

Cucina Povera is an Italian phrase referencing “humble cooking.” The combination of delicious creativity and humble ingredients can create exceptionally tasty food. We hope that these dishes satisfy your hunger and soothe your soul.

with Walnuts, Red Onion and Aged Pecorino
* Torrontes, Yellow + Blue, 2008, Cafayate (6 oz.)

BRAISED GOAT with Rapini, Cannellini Beans and Gremolata

* Côtes du Roussillon, Georges, Puig-Parahy, 2005, Roussillon (6 oz.)

HAZELNUT BUDINO with Whipped Cream and Candied Hazelnuts

* Moscatel, Emlín, Emilio Lustau, NV, Jerez (3 oz.)

Menu 35. *Wine Pairing 15.

Fava Bean Tasting Menu

with Spring Onion and Pepperoncini

with Fava Bean Tortelli, Fava Beans and Leeks

with Fava Beans, Braised Rib and Lemon

with Toasted Pistachios

with Milk Chocolate Sauce


Anson Mills Polenta 7.
Gnocchi 10.

Hen of the Woods Mushrooms 11.
Potato Purée 7.

Go, enjoy, report back and tell them the Urban Food Guy sent you!

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