D.O.C. Flatbread – Buffalo Mozzarella + Basil + Chili
Charcuterie Board – 3 Meats, 3 Cheeses, Truffled Honey, Fig Jam, Toast
Roasted Artichokes – Provence Style + Lemon & Black Garlic Yogurt
Stuffed Dates – Chorizo + Bacon + Piquillo Pepper Gravy
Meatballs – Braised Short Rib + Goat Cheese + Tomato
Charred Octopus – Smoked Potatoes + Rocket + Chorizo Aioli
Butchered Steak Tartare – Pickled Vegetables + Truffle Toast
Hearth Cooked Wings – Black Garlic + Chili + Rosemary
FG&J – Foie Gras Mousse + Virginia Peanuts + Housemade Jam
Crabby Snacks – Lemon Dill Aioli
Rotisserie Potatoes – Jalapenos + Rosemary + Sea Salt
Roast Suckling Pig – Mustard + Apple Butter + Pork Jus
Wild Arugula Salad – Citrus Poached Leeks + Toasted Hazelnuts + Ricotta Salata
Lobster Polenta – White Corn + Mascarpone + Chives
Wagyu Short Rib – Stout Braised + Ricotta + Broccoli Rabe
Calabrian Shrimp Pasta – Housemade Pasta + Hawaiian Shrimp + Calabrian Chili + Meyer Lemon
Spiced Apple Tart – Cream Cheese Dough + Walnut Frangipane + Sour Cream Ice Cream
Peanut Butter Lava Cake – Butterscotch + Roasted Banana + Brown Butter Ice Cream
Butterscotch Pudding – Cookie Butter Crunch + Whipped Cream
Making my second visit in three weeks to Hearthstone, this time with a quartet of friends in tow, suffice it to say that Brian Massie and Light Group’s newest spot at Red Rock has seemingly found its audience – a packed house with hour-long waits when we arrived at 8:00pm – and although service was clearly belabored by the crowd the kitchen continued to shine, all nineteen plates experienced showing a deft hand for balanced spice profiles, superlative textures, and in the case of a nightly special the kind of backyard decadence rarely found in any indoor environment, let alone a casino restaurant.
Suffering from lackluster hostesses, clearly hired for their look as opposed to their ability to read a reservation, it was at an outdoor table with the sort of service prone to drop off plates with no description while pushing drinks as “yummy” or “delish,” that we were originally seated and eventually making it evident that such behavior was unacceptable it was only then that the meal improved, though the nicely blistered pizza, well sourced charcuterie, and plates of tender meatballs beneath blistered tomatoes as well as stuffed dates atop a bed of smoke and swine had already impressed.
Eventually moved indoors when the wind picked up and dropped the temperature by about 20 degrees it was next at a tall eight-top that we were seated and with service improving dramatically with visits from the dining room manager, Chef Massie, and others soon to follow the subsequent cuisine was a Chef selected mix of the menu’s best – the charred octopus again exemplary with the crab toast light and sweet, the foie this time entirely creamy amidst crushed peanuts while the tartare was so smooth and well balanced by the pickled vegetables that it essentially reinvented the tired old dish into a beef presentation I’d consider ‘must order,’ a rarity to say the least.
Obviously intending to impress with a giant wooden platter of perfectly picked swine topped in ample amounts of crispy skin it simply goes without saying that the Hearthstone’s suckling pig outperforms the bland $125 quarter-swine at Bazaar Meat for best I’ve tasted in the valley but with the addition of roasted pork jus dripped through the rotisserie potatoes the dish reached even higher ground, a pot of apple butter atop toasted bread and a lightly dressed salad adding a bit of levity to the courses’ otherwise intense heft.
At this point fully sated but happy to experience more it was in two ‘entrees’ that we indulged and with the shortrib expectedly fork tender as broccoli rabe provided a bitter textural foil the spicy chittara pasta was no less impressive, a pile of snappy shrimp with sweetness intensified by a spritz of Meyer lemon almost outshowing my second experience with a creamy side of lobster polenta…almost, were the later not again one of the best sides I’ve experienced this year.
With the clock now approaching eleven, and all but those gathered around shuffleboard and the bar thinning out, it was again to a long conversation with Chef Massie that the table was treated and joined by his second-in-command as they discussed upcoming ideas and concepts it was to a trio of desserts that the night concluded, the lava cake and pudding again showing strongly while the tart that had sold out during my previous visit was nothing less than exemplary, an American classic gussied up with bittersweet frangipane as autumnal aromatics danced lightly amidst subtly sour ice cream.
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