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She Said: Hearth ‘61 in Paradise Valley is a can’t-miss restaurant

(Facebook/Hearth '61)

I was invited to experience Hearth ’61, the American fine dining restaurant located inside of Mountain Shadows Resort in Paradise Valley.

Named after the year Paradise Valley officially became a town, Hearth ’61 is serving up seasonal fare by Chef Charles Wiley. His culinary career has spanned over 40 years — and I was definitely anticipating my visit to Hearth ‘61. I was certain this would be an evening full of culinary delights!

We sat outside on the patio, and the glow of the pool subtly laid in front of us but the show-stealer was the always stunning Camelback Mountain at sunset.

We started with the oysters, which were meaty and decadent. They were served with a cucumber mignonette. Mignonette sauce is usually made up of minced shallots, cracked pepper with a vinegar base, but the cucumber twist on this mignonette was splendid. What a refreshing alternative to the traditional horseradish! Instead of masking flavors, it gave a subtle enhancement to the oyster’s natural seawater flavor.

Next was the heirloom salad. A colorful variety of heirloom tomatoes with rich thick chunks of mozzarella, pieces of bread, basil and arugula all mixed with aged balsamic. This was a well-balanced salad and a perfect greens portion of my meal.

For my entree, I decided to take the waiter’s suggestion and got the fish of the day, which was monkfish. The waiter definitely steered me in the right direction — it was perfection. Wiley kept this dish minimal by letting the mild, almost sweet, natural taste of the fish to be the star. It was juicy and sat atop a bed of mixed herbs and rice in a light butter sauce. Each bite seemed to melt in my mouth. As a side, I couldn’t pass on the ancient grain risotto. The ancient grain, quinoa, not only offers a higher nutritional value compared to traditional rice used in risotto, but the taste was levels above by adding this earthy alternative. Let’s just say it was difficult to stop eating this once I started!

The ambiance was extremely relaxing, as live music seeped its way out onto the patio from the bar area throughout the meal, making me want to sit there for hours and hours. But the food is what I will be back for.

Whether you are a foodie or not, Hearth ’61 is serving sensational dishes that you must experience. This is a Valley restaurant that should not be missed!

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