Executive chef Brian Massie has hidden a maniacal masterpiece among the expansive American fare at Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar — the FG&J. Foie gras mousse topped with bits of peanuts and served with a housemade jam is unctuous without being overpowering; the peanut shards convey a variety of textures without obscuring the smooth goose liver. PB&J never tasted so good!
Most items are made to be passed around the table and shared, but my single favorite bite comes from a limited entrée section. Pasta alla chitarra with Hawaiian shrimp and spicy Calabrian chiles is comfort in a bowl. Unfortunately, on a return visit, the delightfully chewy, housemade egg noodles were replaced with plain spaghetti.
The Wagyu short rib is another great example of a chilly weather dish. Braised in stout and spices, the sweet meat is reminiscent of Chinese barbecue. Never mind the forgettable dollop of ricotta and broccoli rabe that comes with it — you will need room for an ultra luxurious side of polenta, enriched with mascarpone and studded with chunks of lobster meat. Or try the roasted squash with creamy burrata cheese and brown butter nut granola. The gorgeous composition of seasonal produce is a match for its flavors. It’s Massie at his best.
You can finish your meal with a cheese board or choose from four ultra-simple composed desserts. None are short of delicious. The usual ho-hum chocolate lava cake is replaced with a peanut butter version; butterscotch, bananas, and brown butter ice cream take it over the top. And an apple tart made with tender cream cheese dough is akin to rugelach on steroids. A smooth scoop of sour cream ice cream was a perfect match for its warm spices.