Heartwood Provisions – All About the Pairings

Heartwood Provisions really shines with their New American dishes and cocktail pairings. Foodolish had the opportunity to dine here recently, and our experience was stellar. Located in the heart of downtown Seattle, the restaurant is modern, yet warm and inviting, with a full bar, open kitchen, and dining room. A chef’s counter gives diners a front-row seat to the action, and the open kitchen features a locally made Josper wood burning oven.

Helmed by Beverage Director, Amanda Reed, each beverage is designed to complete and enhance the flavors of Chef Varin Keokitvon’s paired menu item.  The menu is seasonal, influenced by local offerings, and the best part is that you don’t have to worry about what to drink!

Photos by: foodolish.com

We started with an amuse bouche of sorts, some Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, which comes from Spanish acorn-fed blackfoot pigs, and aged a minimum of 4 years. The ham melted in our mouths and was only a precursor of things to come.

Pairing #1
Yellowtail with grapefruit, avocado, horseradish, Spanish lemon-paprika vinaigrette
Old Tom Gin, lemon, celery bitters, sparkling wine

This light, fresh starter must be a crowd favorite, with Japanese yellowtail that almost melts in your mouth. Accompanied by olives, grapefruit, horseradish, whipped avocado mousse, and a preserved lemon and Spanish paprika vinaigrette, this dish was not only delicious, but also visually stunning. Paired with a gin based cocktail, the celery bitters played with the savory notes of the dish, while the sparkling wine kept things light and refreshing in the spirit of the fresh yellowtail.

Pairing #2
The Original Provision, Wagyu beef jerky, sesame, spicy chili preserve
Cerveza Er Boqueron sea salt ale, carpano bianco

Influenced by Chef Varin’s Laotian heritage, this Wagyu beef jerky is Heartwood’s version of dried meat that exists in almost every culture. Soy, sesame, and spicy chili preserve (jeow bong) elevates the spice level in this dish. If you have a low spice tolerance, this is basically the equivalent of a 4-alarm fire, or 4 out of 5 stars on a Thai menu. The paired beer cocktail helped cool down the spice, cleansed the palate, and offered refreshment, thanks to the Mediterranean sea salt ale from Valencia, Spain. While this wasn’t beef jerky in the traditional Oberto sense, we appreciated the riff on dried meat. This was the most surprising item on the menu, since it didn’t really seem to fit with everything else. We weren’t entirely sure how to eat this, given that it’s ‘beef jerky,’ yet covered in sauce, which required use of a knife and fork. We felt this would be perfectly suited on a bar or happy hour menu, where you could throw back a few beers while snacking.

Pairing #3
Warm Beef Tartare, bone marrow, lemon, caper shallot
Brand, reisling, trocken, pfalz, Germany 2014

Rich, unctuous, bone marrow beef tartare from Snake River Farms, prepared in an untraditional way. At Heartwood, the bone marrow is scraped out, mixed with diced-up strip loin from RR Ranch, lemon, caper, and shallot, then roasted in their hearth oven for 45 seconds. This browns the top, but the texture is still pure tartare. We found the flavor profile unexpectedly sweet, due to the sugar in the lemon-caper mixture. The marrow was accompanied by slices of peasant loaf from Grand Central Baking, and topped with microgreens. Overall, the dish was meaty and rich, while the paired riesling cocktail helped cut through the richness of the tartare, thanks to the high minerality and acid of the dry wine.

Pairing #4
Dry Aged Prime NY Steak, gruyere potatoes, wild mushroom, black pepper-scotch jus
Jamaican rum, muscatel sherry, St. Raphael rouge, black pepper

Heartwood partners with nearby Metropolitan Grill to source their steak from RR Ranch in Okanogan County. The dry aged prime NY steak arrived perfectly medium rare, on a bed of onion puree, and a side of stone ground mustard gruyere potatoes. We thought it was interesting that the potatoes were served in a separate case iron dish, instead of on the same plate as the steak. By doing so, the temperatures were off. The steak cooled down, while the potatoes were still piping hot. Between the steak, onion puree, mushrooms, and scotch jus, the dish was hearty and reminiscent of one you would have at a steakhouse, but we found the onion puree to be too sweet, which isn’t necessarily what you want while eating steak. The paired Jamaican rum based cocktail played well with the earthy mushrooms, and the sherry added a nice richness to the dish. Rouge added some floral and richness (chocolatey) notes, while the black pepper paired with the black pepper in the jus. It held up to the heft of the steak and potatoes, and the flavor and texture was reminiscent of a hearty red wine.

Pairing #5
Roasted Scallops, creamy nettle, carrot emulsion, crispy kale
Rhum agricole blanc, lillet blanc, turmeric, lime

Inspired by spring, perfectly roasted scallops were paired with creamy nettles and crispy kale, which added some nice texture to the dish. We all know how easy it is to overcook scallops, and these were cooked nicely with a good sear. Charred and caramelized carrots added some sweetness, and the paired rum based cocktail played nicely with the Mediterranean spices in the dish, thanks to rum made from sugarcane juice and fortified wine.

Pairing #6
Smoked caramel panna cotta with smoked caramel, hazelnut streusel, brown butter apple, Madagascar vanilla ice cream
Buffalo trace bourbon and liquor 43 (French herbal liquor)

This smoked caramel panna cotta was the perfect way to end our meal, and tasted like a harmonious marriage of creamy butterscotch and apple pie. The panna cotta was smooth and creamy, while the hazelnut streusel added a crunch. It was so good, we could’ve polished off a second one. Full stomachs be damned! Without the bourbon pairing, the panna cotta itself would be very sweet, and we found it helped cut the sweetness with some bitterness.

Heartwood Provisions was indeed impressive. Between the service, atmosphere, and food, we would highly recommend a visit for any occasion. The rotating menu highlights seasonal ingredients, and the unique cocktail pairings really add to the overall experience. If you’re looking for a place to try playful and purposeful pairings, Heartwood hits all the right notes.

Heartwood Provisions | 1103 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101 | Open 7 days a week

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