Initially, I had intended to go to Hearty in order to check out their new patio. Nothing says summer like al fresco dining. Right? Well, sort of. Chicago’s weather the last few weeks has been nothing short of stifling. So, when I found out Hearty’s patio was not open to the public yet (they’d just finished pouring the cement), I was not disappointed. Indeed, I rejoiced at the fact that I didn’t have to endure “hearty” food in 90-plus degree heat wearing business casual attire. A cold beer and air conditioning was what I needed.
Hearty is quaint. I don’t mean quaint as in small country store. I mean a quaint in chic, comfortable sort of way. Chicago quaint. The tables are small and adorned with a flowers made from recycled aluminum. The table size wasn’t too much of an issue as the orders started coming in. The waitstaff was polite and cleared platters as soon as they were clean.
For appetizers, I ordered the conch fritters and corn dog. The conch fritters were tasty, though less firm than their southern Florida counterparts. The corn dog app was by far my favorite. The sausage within the corn-meal breading was made of rabbit and it reclined on a bed of coleslaw and green apples. This added a texture and flavor to the corn dog that I could appreciate. Accompanying the corn dog was a syrup made from a Dogfish Head ale. It was sweet and complimented the corn dog better than any ordinary condimentl. The whole dish tasted like pancakes with sausages.
The main course was deceiving and plentiful. I ordered seared duck breast. It was cooked medium, the skin was roasted to a crispy finish, and the fatty layer (my favorite) was infused with the all the flavor of the meat. It was served on top of a Michigan cherry sauce and coupled with a white bean cake and mini summer squash. The dish seemed small on the large plate, but I found myself struggling to finish it.
The food here is fantastic, but their beer and cocktail list is not to be overlooked. Local breweries such as Metropolitan and Two Brothers are represented, as well as national breweries like Left Hand, Victory, and Dogfish Head. My suggestion, and I was delighted when I saw it on the menu, is Victory’s Golden Monkey. I can’t get enough of this American-made Belgian tripel. Their cocktails are numerous and fall under two groups: “cocktails revived” and “classics revisited.” Check out the bevvie menu here.
Average cost per person is $25-30. Ask about their draft picks and discounted beer. And, of course, check out their patio!
3819 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL
Closed Monday & Tuesday
Open for dinner:
Sunday Brunch 9AM -2PM