Heirloom is in the new Study hotel, the hippest lodging New Haven has ever seen. The feel is very Soho-Grand-ish—and it’s pulled off remarkably well. There’s warm lighting, sleek glass, and silky wood; in short, you’ll feel important dining here. But all this cool luxury doesn’t come cheap. It’s an expense-account destination, to be sure, but even if the experience doesn’t quite match the prices, it’s nice to see this type of urban sensibility here in New Haven. To compare Heirloom to its predecessor, Olde Blue Publick House, is to compare apples to Buffalo-wing sauce.
Start your evening off here with some interesting cocktails at the lively bar—the setting is beautiful. In fact, some just choose to sip a libation, munch on an app or two, soak in the vibe, and leave it at that. Otherwise, a stiff drink will help you feel better about all the money you’re about to spend.
At dinner, the concept is 21st-century Italian-influenced New American—the sort of seasonal menu that makes a big deal about ingredients, seeks out nostalgic throwbacks, and embraces fats and innards. In other words, it’s the kind of stuff we like. Your first wise purchase would be what amounts to a preparation of mozzarella sticks made with burrata; the cheese is deep-fried, served with marinara, and fun to eat. Bacon-wrapped dates are good, too. Macaroni and cheese with smoked ham hock is unsurprisingly popular, and addictive, too.
A New York strip comes out just as requested, not cooked a touch beyond medium-rare. The accompanying fries are absolutely excellent, some of the best in the city. “Brick chicken” (cooked under a brick in the oven) turns out to be a happy life partner for its Brussels sprouts leaves. There have been execution problems with fish, however, and halibut has arrived inexcusably overcooked. The wine list would be fairly well thought out—if the thinking didn’t involve the price column. Finding something decent under $50 requires a sharp eye indeed.
Hotel breakfasts are generally aimed only at the poor saps who are stuck with few other options, but in the case of Heirloom, we’d recommend eating here even if you’re not a key-carrying guest of the hotel. Steel-cut oatmeal is delicious, and comes with a delightful brown sugar that melts over the top. Eggs are faithfully served as ordered. Coffee is good, as it should be; it’s the cornerstone of a good breakfast.
It is hard to argue that this is one of New Haven’s best new restaurants. But at these prices, we might expect a room, too.
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