By Lynette Carrington
Scottsdale.com was thrilled to preview the new Hearth '61 at Mountain Shadows in Paradise Valley. The iconic resort originally opened in 1959, and was recently torn down and rebuilt into a crisp, clean and art-inspired destination boasting some of the most gorgeous mountain and golf course views in the entire Valley. Hearth '61 is an ingredient-driven restaurant offering delectable menus for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
At the center of Hearth '61 is an actual hearth oven. The focal point of the open concept kitchen, it immediately attracts your attention, and tantalizes your senses as you get ready for a fabulous meal. Part of the appeal of Hearth '61 is the chance to try entrees and sides that you won’t find elsewhere. Renowned Chef Charles Wiley has orchestrated a selection of unforgettable menus that we thoroughly enjoyed.
We were excited to explore the restaurant, which imparts a bit of Frank Lloyd Wright-esque minimalistic appeal with mid-century modern inspired furniture and lighting. The center of the restaurant also boasts a quiet water feature - almost a reflecting pool. The mood is further set just looking out the window to one of Mountain Shadows two resort pools with the majestic Camelback Mountain gazing down upon all the festivities.
We enjoyed two entirely distinctive craft cocktails before our meal. The Cherry Bomb was my personal favorite because it is gray, my favorite color. The engaging libation includes Effen black cherry vodka, activated charcoal, white port, lime juice, whipped egg white and an edible flower set afloat the top. What a sensational cocktail! Where I might have been a bit hesitant because of the color or the activated charcoal, I discovered that this cocktail is one of the finest in the Valley, because it is adventurous, unexpected, and the cherry flavor dominates the drink. We also enjoyed The New Fashioned with Ron Zacapa 23 rum, Bitter Truth aromatic and chocolate bitters and a splash of simple syrup. It was a fun and delicious spin on an old fashioned. We noshed on hearth bread and butter while we waited for our first course.
Our first menu introduction came by way of a fabulous appetizer – chilled shrimp diced into a mildly spicy cucumber gazpacho with avocado and kohlrabi. I would highly recommend this dish, plus the tender shrimp were simply the perfect texture. We also enjoyed a few salads. The first was the creamy burrata, featuring citrus spoked beets, grapefruit, crushed pistachios and tender spring greens. My guest thoroughly enjoyed the Heirloom Tomato salad with mozzarella, smoked maldon salt, basil and a just a kiss of aged balsamic.
‘Meat Me’ at Hearth '61
Next, it was time to taste the difference that hearth cooking makes. I enjoyed the Moroccan spiced rack of lamb. I can say, without hesitation, that this is the finest lamb I have ever eaten. It was flavorful, tender, moist, and just ever-so-slightly seared on the outside. It came with a smear of preserved lemon and mint, serving as a perfect flavor accompaniment. My dinner guest had the Tenderloin of Beef, which was also cooked in the hearth. Again, this entrée was outstanding. The quality of meat was fabulous and the red wine demi glace and bleu cheese fondue gave an extra flavor pop to the tender meat.
Side dishes are served a la carte, and are plentiful enough for two people to share. We enjoyed the Thyme-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with a chive butter, and Heirloom cauliflower with golden raisin and caper gremolata. We also heard other diners in the vicinity raving about the Ancient Grain Risotto, so that will be a must-nosh on our next visit to Hearth '61.
Here are a few highlights of some of the other hearth entrees and sides at Hearth '61:
1. Niman Ranch Dry Aged Tomahawk | 40-oz. bone in rib-eye, dry aged 28 days, roasted garlic, rosemary truffle butter
2. George's Bank Sea Scallops | sauce romesco, buttered mushrooms, ancient barley, charred spring onion, fennel pollen
3. Charred Eggplant & Hayden Mills Ancient Grains | red quinoa, white sonora and farro berries, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, roasted peppers, ricotta salata
4. Ginger Roasted Carrots | tahini yogurt, chervil
We wrapped up our meal with a wonderful Peanut Butter Mousse, which was served in two-bite sized squares. The delicious dessert featured milk chocolate crunch and peanut butter mousse with caramelized bananas and toffee crumble. Our next visit will most likely include the Brioche Bread Pudding or the Vanilla Lavender Panna Cotta.
If you are stopping by Hearth '61 for cocktails or a fun happy hour, consider the adjacent area entitled the Living Room. This comfortable and fun space is perfect for groups or a less formal occasion. You’ll enjoy a large variety of salads, soup, small plates, and even a burger or grilled cheese, plus all the wonderful craft cocktails that will help you usher in the perfect evening.
Hearth '61 is located Inside Mountain Shadows Resort at 5445 E. Lincoln Dr., Paradise Valley. For additional information, visit https://www.mountainshadows.com/dining/hearth or call (480) 624-5400.
About Mountain Shadows
Mountain Shadows is the new boutique resort in Paradise Valley, Arizona, adjacent to Scottsdale. Set in the shadow of iconic Camelback Mountain and opening in March 2017, it will feature desert modern design, 183 guest rooms, a luxury wing with 42 resort condominiums and suites, a restaurant with an exhibition kitchen, two pools, a high-tech fitness facility, a fully revamped 18-hole short course with a golf grill and lounge, and 37,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space. www.mountainshadows.com.