The Veggielante is on a mission to spread the word about places to order good, meatless grub. Check out this week’s pick.
Destination: Heartwood (184 8th Avenue, 646-476-5458)
Overview: Restaurateur Nick Mautone partnered with Donatella Arpaia to open Heartwood in April, taking over the space of Arpaia’s Donatella, the pizzeria that previously occupied that address. Heartwood uses the old restaurant’s wood-burning pizza oven, now tiled red instead of a brazen gold, to deliver a roster full of pies and other wood-fired entrees from James Beard Award-winning chef Bradford Thompson plus bread from former Daniel boulanger Mark Fiorentino (Thompson and Fiorentino are also partners in the venture). Desserts come from Megan Fahey, an alum of both Daniel and Sullivan Bakery.
The open 70-seat restaurant has a rustic feel; it’s outfitted with mason jar chandeliers, an exposed brick wall, salvaged barn wood, and a marble-top bar. The bright red pizza oven will catch your eye from the back of the room as soon as you walk in.
Highlights: There are a number of vegetarian pies to choose from here, but you’ll also find at least one vegetarian-friendly entree worth considering: Heartwood’s farro risotto ($12 for a side dish portion/$22 for an entree portion), made with goat cheese, beets, roasted artichokes, fried tarragon, and pumpkin seeds. It eats lightly, sweet with beets and crunchy with crisped artichokes, and while the goat cheese adds creaminess, the dish is not overwhelmingly rich. (It is, however, quite filling.)
If you stop by for brunch, don’t overlook the restaurant’s breakfast pizza, the brizza ($21), which you can ask for sans bacon. Or go for the wild & sharp ($16), which tops a pie with pungent mushrooms and fontina. Start your meal with the crispy three-cheese (smoked gouda, parmesan, and mascarpone, specifically) and rice fritters ($11).
More:Vegetarian and Vegan