This time, the decision was Hearth in the East Village. The restaurant has walls that are exposed bricks, and warm red ceilings with wooden beams. We were seated at the back of the restaurant at a big round table, which I always enjoy because it enables larger groups (like mine) to all be in the conversation without the struggle that sometimes comes with long, rectangular tables. The menu here changes daily based on the fresh selections of the seasons.
When we sat down we were served an amuse bouche of a beet soup topped with a bit of creme fraiche.
To be honest, I did not even try this. Nick doesn't like beets but decided to give it a shot and said it tasted "like the ground," so that did not instill much confidence. However, others at our table actually do like beets did enjoy this. What was amazing at the beginning of the meal was the amount of sesame bread they passed around - constantly.
Within five minutes of finishing the bread, a member of the wait staff was there refilling our plates. This happened through our entire meal. It was tough because I really did not need another piece of bread, it was so good I could not turn it down or save it for later! The butter was the perfect temperature to spread perfectly. Needless to say, we all over indulged in this aspect of the meal :)
For an appetizer, Nick and I split a grilled octopus salad.
|Half portion of the octopus salad|
The salad was delicious and the the thicker octopus piece was delicious, however, the thinner piece was a bit dry. Another couple split the veggie salad that was packed full of yummy veggies. Another really nice notes: the kitchen split all of the appetizers for us without us even asking!
Another couple had the chicken noodle soup (they were not feeling 100%) and they said it hit the spot.
For main courses, I went fairly simple with the Maccheroni with pork ragu and ricotta.
This dish was flavorful and delicious. The pasta was fresh tasting and cooked perfectly and was totally satisfying. It was a large portion size and I ate every last bit of it.
Another delicious looking meal was the Cacciucco with wild strip bass, mussels, head-on shrimp, manila, clams and calamari.
The menu also offered up a couple of meals that were meant for sharing, including the prime rib that was well seasoned and cooked.
|Lots of Meat!|
To go with the meat the couple got a side of Brussels sprouts that looked roasted to perfection.
Nick ordered the most interesting meal of the evening: the Lesso Misto, which had short rib, chicken thigh, house-made cotechino, veal tongue and condiments. I was totally intrigued by the veal tongue, but not enough to order it. The server actually was not sure how to describe it fully.
The broth of this dish was great. The different meats were all cooked well and tasty, however, the veal tongue is not something we will be running to order again. Nick said the texture of the veal tongue was almost like a pate, and sort of the creamy, buttery texture that dark poultry meat can have, but it was a little too difficult to get past the idea of what it was.
We were all completely full at this point, but all of the tips on Four Square said that the apple cider donuts were amazing, so we figured we could share the one dessert among all 6 of us.
|Apple Cider Donuts|
I cannot tell you happy I was that we ordered these. The donuts were out of this world, and this is coming from two very snobby cider donut people. For us to admit that a place in NYC actually has the best cider donuts is extremely difficult for us, but it is true. These were amazing. Most of the cider donuts you get in New England are cake donuts with cinnamon and sugar coating them, but these were actually yeast donuts with a glaze - so different, but so good!
Hearth was a great meal. The menu had loads of different types of food, some a bit too different for me, but everything was well-seasoned and tasty. I would recommend those interested in a good meal with different local fair check Hearth out.