Hearth & Dram is located inside of the new Hotel Indigo. You're able to see this stunning eatery through its floor to ceiling glass windows facing Wewatta Street. Once entering the restaurant, your eyes will be drawn to the long bar area. It hosts an extensive collection of spirits, many of which are Whiskeys. The main dining room is very open and spacious. The serving station in the center of the dining room acts as a divider of the main space.
We decided on Hearth & Dram because it was new and seemed to be a steal during Denver Restaurant Week. We were greeted and seated promptly. It took a little while for our server to come to the table. Once she arrived we went right into the ordering process. I was a bit disappointed to see only two options for each of the three courses. Most participating restaurants will have a chicken, fish, beef and vegetarian option to meet the dietary needs of all customers. It was a minor issue being that no one at our table had any restrictions. Also, you can always opt to order something off of the main menu.
Our first course arrived quickly. The plating was fairly minimal. The portion sizes were small. I was pretty impressed with the Crab Beignet. Great crunch and solid flavor. This was my favorite dish. We ordered a side of pasta in a tomato based sauce with fresh basil and ricotta cheese. We ordered the following;
We had a pretty extensive wait between course one and two. It was about 45 minutes until we received our main courses. The restaurant was packed. We assumed that with them being new kitchen they might have been slammed. A food runner came to our table with two items. The issue was that there were three of us dining. He didn’t seem to know if he was at the correct table or not. We accepted the two items as our server assured us that another steak was being prepared on the fly. Unfortunately, the two items we were served were not satisfactory. My fish was cold. The butter sauce was completely solid. The steak was cooked medium well opposed to medium rare as requested. Those two items were sent back as the third steak was delivered. It was cooked perfectly and was very flavorful.
10 minutes later we received our new food. The grilled branzino, with brussel sprouts was good. There weren’t any standout flavors that took the dish to a new level. Overall it was an average meal. Unfortunately, the second steak was still not cooked correctly. It was rarer, but not evenly cooked. There were a few pieces that were medium rare and others that were medium. It was not pink/red throughout the cut of meat. Extremely disappointing considered the wait time and the fact that there were only two options to choose from. We were expecting that these would be the best items with flawless execution.
The saving grace was the exceptional customer service provided by Hearth & Dram's management. Once he was aware of the long wait time, he was on the ball. Every 10 minutes he was checking in on our table. He also treated us with complimentary beverages and additional dessert. He also proactively made adjustments to the bill before we concluded dinner. Unlike the situation at Colt & Gray (see details here) the service made up for the underwhelming food and extended wait time. That alone will prompt me to make a return visit. I would probably take my chances at the bar oppose to sitting in the main dining room. I would like to try more of their menu and see if they are capable of putting out great food in an acceptable amount of time. To be continued.
Hearth & Dram - 1801 Wewatta St, Denver, CO 80202