"One restaurant; 12 menus," that is how Chef Michael DeMaris describes his nearly year old restaurant in North Scottsdale. The concept behind Heirloom is the use of farm fresh ingredients; which means the menu changes monthly depending on what's available at the local markets. The Heirloom menu is broken into 5 "courses." The theory behind this is that you can order several small plates from various "courses" mixing and matching to build your own meal depending on how hungry you are. Being a "foodie" there are often several things on a menu that I want to try. But some restaurants would frown on you ordering all appetizers...with no designation on the Heirloom menu it’s perfectly ok if you want several items say all from course one
This past Saturday night my husband and I made the 40 minute trek out to Heirloom. I know that to most of you it might seem ridiculous to travel so far for food; but living here you get use to it. The place was packed when we arrived and we ended up having to take a table right inside the door. At first I'll admit I was a bit disappointed by this but it turned out to be a rather pleasant experience. Feeling our initial discomfort, the hostess, who I later found out was Mrs. DeMaris, made every effort to make our night memorable. In the end our location turned out to be the prime spot for seeing Michael in action and provided us the opportunity to talk with him and Chef Taylor personally.
On to dinner. Like I said, there were so many things I wanted on the menu, so my husband and I decided we would split several courses in order to try as much as possible. We started with the Heirloom tomato soup. The waiter brought us out a small croc of chicken stock based tomato soup. At first glance you might think it was your typical tomato soup; but upon proper inspection you soon realized that it was anything but. Anointed with fresh pesto and tiny pasta balls I thought it was stellar.
Next up we shared the warm rabbit terrine topped with whole grain mustard. Accompanying the terrine were some honey roasted carrots; two slivers or grilled bread and some perfectly dressed baby lettuce with a single slice of Maui onion. Put together this was an amazing course...probably my favorite of the evening.
Course #3 consisted of a scoop of risotto swimming with whole roasted garlic cloves, sun-dried tomatoes and sautéed calamari. The flavors of this dish blended nicely; especially when you smashed the garlic and incorporated it into the risotto. (note to self...don't eat so much of the garlic if you don't want garlic breath the next day). The one disappointment came with the calamari; being such tiny pieces some tended to be on the tough side. However, having made calamari at home and knowing that this happens to the best of us I did sympathize.
A 5 ounce lamb T-bone was next. Cooked rare; just the way I like it, the T-bone was amazing. It came with a small side of eggplant and olive caponata that complimented it well. We also ordered a side of the bacon and thyme baby potatoes which are a must try. Heirloom potatoes sprinkled with sea salt and mixed with small chunks of bacon; how could you go wrong.
Our last course was dessert. Since they were out of their famous custard filled doughnuts (yes, it was a huge disappointment) we decided to try the coffee cake bread pudding with caramel gelato. Although, it wasn't custard filled doughnuts it was really good.
I love everything about Heirloom; the farm fresh food; the small plate multiple courses and the friendly owners and staff. I can't wait to see what's on next month's menu.