As Marco Canora goes, so does his phenomenal restaurant, Hearth, where the flavors of the Tuscan-American food are as strong as the commitment to transparency and food sourcing.
More than 12 years ago when Canora opened Hearth going local for produce was a given for him (well before “farm-to-table” was a buzzword on every menu in town). In a recent interview he told us, “I’m dating myself, but I’m a forever locavore, a chef who has always gone to the Greenmarket.”
Now that Canora has made it through to the other side of health problems like 30 pounds of excess weight, gout, sleep apnea and thyroid dysfunction, he has fast-forwarded the food at Hearth to match up with all that he has learned about diet and nutrition.
Hearth reopened in the same East Village location in January after a quick two-week refresh and boy is she is a beaut (both in terms of looks and the real heart of the matter, the menu). There’s a newly expanded bar area to stretch out in, and the dining room has been brightened to match the radiant new focus that goes way beyond local sourcing (though that’s still very much part of the game plan at the restaurant).
The new direction includes a focus on nutrient dense foods like quality cooking fats (such as grass-fed tallow, grass-fed ghee and olive oil), bone broths, grass-fed butter and sustainable, local fish. The flipside of the menu features a whimsical infographic titled “Our Mission” that outlines Canora’s philosophy.
Canora posited, “If I’m going to go out of my way to find really great local carrots, why am I going to go out of my way to buy flour from a big food company?” With that in mind, he’s bought a mill and is grinding his own non-GMO grains for dishes like the “cacio e pepe” polenta ($8) and the long-fermented whole grain bread ($6).
The menu is full of crave-worthy dishes such as the bone marrow broth with turmeric ($12), white anchovies layered with cured olives and citrus ($18) and lots of offal, as in the variety burger, which incorporates heart and liver ($24). A selection of six bean-to-bar dark chocolates (5 for $12) spread out like a traditional cheese board is a decadent (but not overly sugary way) to end a meal here.
In addition to the menu upgrades, the restaurant composts, uses non-toxic cleaners and recycles oils into biofuel. “Before I just wanted my food to speak for itself, now I want to showcase my beliefs alongside delicious meals,” Canora told Clean Plates. “The world of food has changed and I’m changing with it.” Canora truly puts his food and values where our mouths are.
403 E. 12 St.