Town Hearth is the newest addition to the restaurants run by Nick Badovinus. This one is more upscale but large and filled with decorations like his other places. When you enter a small private party room is to one side and the large bar with some dining tables is right in front of you. The chandeliers start here and carry on into the main large dining room. They give nice light and a real glitter to the ceiling, as well as being quite striking. You also can’t help but notice a mini yellow submarine immersed in an aquarium filled with fish – it separates the bar and dining room. Don’t miss the car that sits right in front of the large open kitchen, it’s lower to the ground.
A motorcycle is the main attraction, besides the chandeliers, in the bar area. The restaurant features a wood grill and lots of beef items. It has a fairly broad menu otherwise and an interesting wine list. Our first visit was on their third day of operation and the dining room was already well filled and by our second visit there wasn’t an empty seat in the house. Seating is in large booths round the edges and tables in the center. All very comfortable and amazingly cozy. Service is great but as Badovinus likes it, there is a elevated noise level even before it fills due to the background music. All together though, it is a good vibe. Right now, reservations are only made by phone but joining a reservation system like Open Table, may be in their future. We wanted to visit a second time to try more things but also to sample their Prime Rib, which is only available on Friday and Saturday evenings. They are not open for lunch at this time. Below is the first dinner followed by the second with interior shots taken both visits.
We started with their French 75 cocktail which was a bit flat and overly tart but not too big a deal, the wine was lovely. With the cocktail we had an order of the crab dip which was absolutely delicious. It was filled with large chunks of fresh crab and artichoke hearts. The bread bits that came with it were perfect for holding a nice dollop of the rich concoction. It is plenty to share and did I say, it’s delicious?!
For our main course the Delmonico ribeye was cooked perfectly and a huge portion. The meat had a strange firmness to it but was tender as a fillet. I had to have the waiter bring me a bit of salt but I’d far rather have to add than have too much. With the meat we had a side of creamed spinach that was rich and really good. Nicely seasoned, a good amount to share, and full of fresh spinach and creamy goodness, this is one I easily recommend. We also tried the French fries and they were hot, crisp and great – another easy recommendation.
For dessert we had the puff pastry, bananas and cream dessert. The crisp pastry was a perfect contrast to the sweet rich cream and the top bananas had been caramelized to add just another bit of fun. It was good too.
Our second visit showed the place had really caught on with both bar and dining area packed with people. No problem for this very competent staff that is so friendly and fun. They are only impaired by the noise level which sometimes makes it hard for them to hear you. We started our visit with rye old fashioneds which were quite nice. We paired this with the tater tot poutine. An interesting variation on a classic. The tots were nice and crispy, filled with soft potato but I would have liked more gravy or a runnier egg(this was cooked more to a fudge-like consistency) to make it a bit ‘juicier’. The sauce did have a tad of spice and I liked it, but the burrata cheese doesn’t have the same affect that cheese curds do. This is a great concept but needs a little work to make it sing. His fries are so good maybe a cheddar fry instead?
The prime rib was wonderful. Done rare with the outside harboring some of the grill’s smoke, it was tender and juicy. It is a portion for two but I think it could have fed three. If you’re there on a weekend I’d give it a try. We added the brussel sprouts to go with it and they were very tasty. Also we made a special request for an order of the onion rings that go with the pork chop and they were willing to honor it. They were spectacular! We had enough leftovers that we couldn’t in good conscience order dessert this visit.