We wrote our New Restaurants of 2014 post back in May, but we are still crossing off restaurant visits off that list. Two weeks ago we visited Hydraulic Hearth on their second Friday night service. After reading early reports, we were not surprised to find a packed restaurant with a 40 minute wait time. After grabbing a beer at the bar, we decided to grab some seats in the ‘lounge’ and eat there instead of waiting for a table.
Now, we’ve been to Hydraulic Hearth several times over the last four months. Whether it’s checking out their construction progress or recording a podcast upstairs, we knew that this place was going to be special. We were still impressed when we saw the restaurant filled with customers just two days after the Snovember storm. The bar is long and impressive, with a dozen great beers on tap. The wooden floors, tables and hip lighting fixtures helps create a comfortable yet cool vibe. The bar seating in front of the pizza oven looks even better now with staff tossing in pizza after pizza. Our seats in the front lounge gave us a great view of the whole restaurant and we were able to enjoy our meal next the probably tired yet still enthusiastic Channel 2 News evening news crew.
We decided to try two different pizzas and their bourbon wings for our first visit. I had heard from some trusted foodie friends that the early verdict on their wood fire pizza was mostly positive, so we had some high expectations. We tried the Margherita ($12) and Arugula Pesto ($14) pizzas and really enjoyed them. The crust on both pizzas had a really good char on the bottom and were structurally sound. You could hold a piece of pizza without the fear of the toppings just sliding off. The Margherita pie was a nice ratio of fresh mozzarella and sweet tomato sauce. In my opinion, the Arugula Pesto stole the show with a slightly-bitter bite of brussel sprouts, a strong flavored pesto and pistachios that added a crunch and buttery flavor. We added the bourbon wings to our order on a whim and were very glad we did. The wings were coated in a deliciously sweet barbeque/bourbon sauce and finished on the grill which caramelized the sauce and added just the right amount of charred flavor/texture. The blue cheese served on the side was one of the most unique we’ve ever tried. Instead of a bland mayo based sauce this was straight funky blue cheese and hit you right in the face. Paired with the sweeter wing sauce, it was a beautiful thing.
We knew the Zemsky family would build a gorgeous restaurant and we can now honestly say that after our meal, they nailed the food as well. This was a limited and early taste but all signs point to this place being a huge success. Harry Zemsky is planning on doing a lot of collaborations and they all sound exciting. Just last Saturday they debuted a brunch service with BreadHive that received incredibly rave reviews. Don’t for get that Community Beer Works will be taking over the brewery in the back soon and the summertime will find a beer garden with a dedicated food truck parking spot and shuffleboard.
Don’t miss out on the phone-booth art gallery next to the bar and check out the men’s bathroom if you can. It may remind you of a certain movie.