Hearth Wood-fired Cuisine and Craft Beer
You might recognize Hearth from their pizzeria on wheels, Hearth & Peel, established back in 2013. While Hearth continues to cater events via truck, Owner and Executive Chef Clint Compton has his hands full with the new restaurant located off of 17th Street at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, which opened its doors in early June.
Right when you walk in you’re met with the stunning wood-fired oven that is the backbone of Hearth. The decor is cozy, almost like you're in a cabin, except with better food, an impressive selection of craft beer and just blocks away from the ocean. The husband and I parked ourselves in the bar area to the right with a lively view of the kitchen.
I have a confession. Before dining at Hearth, I had never tried their pizza. I know, shame on me. I’m a die-hard pizza lover (see here), but somehow I never made my rounds to feast from Hearth.
Which was why I knew what I was ordering first. We sort of worked backward in ordering; you’ll see why in a moment. We started with the Funghi ($16) pizza with local wild mushroom fricassee, thyme, truffle oil, whole milk ricotta and shaved garlic—because what’s a pizza without garlic? The pizza crust had the perfect ratio of charred to crispy to chewy. Melted airy ricotta was dropped by the spoonful amid the most sumptuous fresh mushrooms and bits of garlic scattered to and fro. Combined with the heavenly truffle oil, I’d say we scarfed the pie down in under 5 minutes. Shared between two pizza lovers, it was fitting for a small meal, but we couldn't leave without trying a few more of their dishes.
Next up was the Wood Fired Double Yolk Egg ($6). Served with three toasted crostini, they were waiting to be dipped into a ramekin filled with the most glorious mixture. Chipotle-tomato jam sits in the bottom of the dish topped with a pair of extra yolk-y eggs, gruyere and arugula. Clearly nothing was missing from this equation. The yolk oozed into the slightly spicy jam as the bite ended on a peppery arugula finish. Could this meal get any better?
The answer is yes.
The Smoked Hamachi ($8) was calling my name. Explained to us as a ‘deconstructed fish salad’, I didn’t really know how fragmented a fish salad could get. Our server was right. The plate was sectioned into all of the components of a fish salad: whipped horseradish cream cheese, smoked, beautiful slices of hamachi topped with scallions and piment d'espelette—a fancy French mild pepper—all served with crusty crostini.
Their menu also includes southern favorites like Shrimp and Grits and Bonham’s BLT Salad, but don’t be afraid to get a little adventurous. The Charred Octopus and Crispy Pork Belly are to be ordered on the next visit.
And of course there was some imbibing to be had. I started with The Sour 46 ($12) made with Makers Mark 46, an egg white, simple syrup, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and house basil. Ah, it was refreshing and fun as the egg white foamed and bubbled at the top of the glass.
After our crostini tour and delving into one of their pies, I’d say Hearth has stolen my heart.
To keep updated on Hearth and to view their menu, visit their Facebook page.
Hearth is located at 605 Virginia Beach Boulevard. They are open Tuesday–Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Still in the mood for pizza? Try Chelsea Bakehouse’s Salami and Arugula Pizza.