We kinda knew that Hearth wouldn’t be for us. Leo was reluctant, but I was determined to have an East Village restaurant experience. The spring menu, which looked so appetizing online, seemed underwhelming in person and had I not been craving fish that night, I would have been hard pressed to choose anything as nothing really called out to me. After a bit of deliberation, we finally chose to share the Grilled Quail with a side of the Sauteed Market Greens, the Whole Roasted Fish of the Day (which may have been Bass, I can’t quite remember anymore…), and the Rhubarb Panna Cotta.
Each dish was good on its own, prepared simply with a good amount of refinement…except for the fish. The fish was the least flavourful, stuffed with lemon and rosemary, and unfortunately ruined by a bitterness permeating its underside. Leo, whose family cooks seafood regularly, says whoever gutted the fish must have cut into its stomach and organs, which can release some sort of acid. Whatever it was, it was unpleasant. If you’re going to do something as simple as roasted fish with rosemary and nothing else, it better be done well, right?
The dessert, however, was impressive. The panna cotta with the ‘rhubarb soup’ was like eating a burst of spring, simultaneously light and fresh, but filled with warmth. We couldn’t get enough of the almond brittle.
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