Hearth: Italian Soul Food Priced for Manhattan’s Socialites
The word hearth evokes images of home, of warmth, of family clustering around the fire, of Grandma’s fantastic cooking. Chef Marco Canora’s East Village restaurant, Hearth, is about as cozy as you can get without making the trek home to your parents’ house and the perfect venue for Canora to showcase his scrumptious Italian-American soul food. Made famous by his recent appearance on the Food Network’s cooking competition show “The Next Iron Chef,” Canora is known for injecting his personal philosophy into his food and his restaurant: offer ‘enlightened hospitality’, cook with care, don’t waste, don’t spoil, save what you can. It all sounds basic for a gourmet restaurant, yet Hearth shows you the differences between ‘service’ and ‘hospitality,’ ‘cooking with care’ and ‘cooking with skill.’
For main courses, just about everything seems to be good. The pastas are dreamy. The pumpkin gemelli is luscious – rich, smooth, and creamy with a classic brown butter sage sauce kicked up with crunchy bitter little bites of amaretti (Italian almond macarons). Equally wonderful is the ‘spaghetti and meatballs,’ made with perfectly-cooked homemade noodles and the most decadent veal and ricotta meatballs ever. They are so delicious that I could eat them every day, for as long as Canora would serve them, or at least until I make myself sick. If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, the roasted lola duck is lovely, juicy and tender with crunchy red quinoa, sweet pomegranate, and smooth earthy turnip confit – a festival of flavors!