Monday, November 19, 2012


Comfort foods are those foods that evoke a sentimental or nostalgic feeling. They are easy to eat and leave a feel good feeling.  It could be thought that a restaurant that focuses on comfort foods would be a guaranteed winner but it could also be very boring.  Hearty is a restaurant that I went to recently for a friends birthday that focuses on comfort food but puts a fine dining spin on it.  As far as the restaurant is concerned, it is actually kind of plain.  The main dining room is pretty small, seating about 40 and containing a nice vintage bar.  There is also a private dining area upstairs but we were in the main dining area so I didn't see the private dining room.  The cocktails served are spins on classics.  The cocktail that I had, the Mamie Taylor, was invented around 1900 and consists of scotch, ginger ale, and lime juice.  For my appetizer, I started with Roasted Bone Marrow, also a classic dish.  In addition to the roasted bone marrow which was served in and around the bone, it contained Ox Tail Marmalade, was topped with an Herb Salad and was served with what they called Brioche Croutons though I would have called them toast points.  The dish was very meaty and savory, the herb salad contained arugula and dill, and the croutons were lightly toasted.  The dish was really good and everything went well together although admittedly, it was a little difficult to get the marrow out of the bone.  The other appetizers that we had at the table were Deviled Eggs with a Bacon Lardon, Smoked Paprika, and Ground Mustard Aioli which everyone seemed to enjoy.

My entree was a spin on a childhood favorite.  I had Beefaroni.  While Hearty's Beefaroni was built generally the same way as the canned treat from Chef Boyardee, it was definitely better.  Served in a casserole dish, it was built with Braised Short Ribs, Black Pepper Spaetzle, Roasted Butternut Squash and Tomatoes, and topped with Fried Onions.  Texturally, it was very similar to the canned Beefaroni although the fried onions on top were a treat.  While the pasta, meat, and sauce, did taste similar to Beefaroni but it tasted fresher, and had a more complex flavor.  It definitely evoked memories of childhood and was really good although there were things like the bacon meatloaf that was ordered by someone else at the table that made the choice difficult.

For dessert, I went with the Sazerac Creme Brulee with Absinthe Citrus Sugar and Topped with Candied Lemon Zest.  I really like Creme Brulee and the alcohol incorporated into it brought something extra to it but I like my creme brulees to have a nice thick crust.  This did have a crust, but it was pretty thin.  It was a good dessert but it was actually my second choice.  I was really interested in a dessert called Milk and Cookies which was bourbon spiced milk with a bacon chocolate chip ice cream sandwich.  I thought it sounded really good but I would have had to wait for 15 minutes which I really didn't want to do.  The creme brulee, while it wasn't my first choice, was better than a 15 minute wait.

I really enjoyed my meal here and will definitely be back.  It is definitely accessible but it also pushes boundaries for those people that are timid eaters.

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