One of the perils of meeting good old friends and going out to eat is that there is a potential to overeat spectacularly. The conversation is flowing, the jokes are great, the food tastes fantastic… Somewhere amidst all that bonhomie and good cheer, it is easy to overlook the fact that you are on your fourth slice of pizza already, the cheese, runny and warm and rich, is beginning to weigh down your tummy, and it feels like you want to curl up in your chair and take a nap.
Not to fault the food at Hearth Pizza Tavern at all… It may very well be a testament to its deliciousness (and my lack of awareness, gulp) that I overate at lunch, skipped dinner that night and ate very little the day after. Even my sturdy digestive system (touchwood!) realized that it had to take a break.
All that being said, Hearth Pizza Tavern has an excellent selection of appetizers, pizzas, salads, sandwiches and burgers. Too bad that I couldn’t try more items off the menu!
The first time we went with friends (yes, the time we went overboard, at least I did, with the food), we ordered an assortment of appetizers: Roasted Broccoli (we told our server to leave out the salami), Eggplant Chips, Missy’s Intense Hearthbread. The broccoli was roasted to perfection and it jived perfectly with the caramelized onions. The Eggplant Chips felt a tad greasy, not too much. But it is a dish worth sampling in little doses, yes. Missy’s Intense Hearthbread was fairly good. I wish I could remember more but it’s been weeks since we visited, my memory is dim. Yes, I should have written up this post earlier, I know. Lethargy hits and it hits hard.
It was time to order the pizzas. We got the Ring of Fire (sans chorizo), Mom Says, “Eat Your Veggies!” and Leaf Kickers. Ring of Fire has a spiciness to it, courtesy the garlic chili oil, and the cherry peppers lent the pizza a piquant kick. The crust was perfectly crisp, done to perfection. Leaf Kickers had phenomenal flavor what with roasted pumpkin and butternut squash, kale and sage browned butter, pistachios and pumpkin seed oil… oh Yum. It was easily the best pizza we ordered, I think. Mom Says, “Eat Your Veggies!,” unlike its preachy title, is not a veggie-overloaded pizza at all. It comes with spinach, roasted red peppers, broccoli, roasted cremini mushrooms, butternut squash, homemade marinara and Hearth’s premium cheese blend. I think we asked the server to skip the butternut squash since Leaf Kickers contained the same.
Most of the Hearth pizzas come with their premium cheese blend that comprises of fontinella, fontina and mozzarella, shredded in-house and blended. This, I learned on my next visit to Hearth a few weeks later. I was meeting Malika Harricharan, noted Atlanta-based restaurant blogger and author, for lunch. This time, I was more prudent. We kept things simple. Malika and I split an order of Crispy Brussel Sprouts. The dish contains pancetta but Malika, in lieu of my preference, asked the server to skip it, so that’s how we got it. Yummy indeed in that roasted-caramelized-burnt brussel sprout style! The balsamic-port reduction added a layer to sweetness.
Malika ordered a Mass Pike pizza while I opted for a Simple White with homemade marinara, spinach, basil, roasted red peppers, black olives. It was excellent. It was light (if that’s possible with an 8-inch pizza that contains a blend of three cheeses), fresh tasting and flavorful. And the size was perfect.
Dessert was skipped both times, so another visit is due. Plus there are so many interesting sounding items on the menu calling my name! Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese, Queen’s Right pizza, Fun Guy…
Hearth Pizza Tavern
5992 Roswell Rd NE
Sandy Springs GA 30328