First things first: despite the bright red color scheme and that loaded name, Heartbreak is not in fact a Valentines' themed pop-up restaurant. No, this new Swiss-German restaurant is in it for the long haul. I stopped by last week to see how their menu would stand up to the Apps Only challenge—is it possible to dine here on the cheap?
House Cured and Smoked Wild Salmon ($11) was sweet and rich, the fatty fish perfumed by smoke; it sat atop a crispy potato roesti (think Swiss latke) and was served with a honey mustard vinaigrette. The accompaniments were tasty, but it's the top notch salmon that really made this dish.
The Mushroom Bread Dumpling ($11) was a heartier option, with dense bread soaked with rich mushroom gravy. It reminded me of a savory bread pudding, with tarragon and thyme lending an almost stuffing-like flavor.
The Currywurst appetizer ($9, also available as entree for $16) contained just one sausage link, but also came served with a pile of rich, creamy potatoes that were cut with a mustard tang. The sausage, perfectly cooked with a slightly crispy skin, was covered with a tomato based curry sauce, which was tasty even if it could have used more heat.
We finished our meal with the heartiest dish of the night, the Kasespatzle ($10), a dish of cheesy spatzle topped with the same crispy onions as the currywurst, and flavored with caramelized onions and lots of gruyere cheese. Think mac and cheese, Swiss-German style. Bacon was also in the mix, although only as a flavoring; we detected just a few small bits of it mixed in the noodles although the flavor was there throughout. It was refreshing, a nice alternative to the usual chunks of overpowering bacon. Here the soft, pillowy noodles took center stage, and ended up being my favorite bite of the night.
Everything we ate at Heartbreak was dense, rich, and a little heavy, save for the smoked fish. But everything was worth eating again. Their menu is huge—possibly too huge—and your options, even just for shared small plates, seem endless. Heartbreak isn't cheap, but it doesn't seem pricier than it should be, and we got out under our $15/head budget, spending just $41 for three of us to eat a light but substantial dinner. Especially in these freezing cold months, Heartbreak's Swiss-German grub hits the spot.
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