Shortly after arriving for dinner at Heirloom, located in New Haven’s swanky hotel The Study, I was seated promptly amid a restaurant full of other diners. The restaurant was not overly crowded, and their presence created a warm and lively background for my three-course meal. But the experience suggested to me that Heirloom was challenged by the restaurant’s full capacity — from the mechanical service to the promising dishes that I found nothing but lacking.
I started with a cup of the smoked tomato soup. I was initially less satisfied by its overly sweet taste but enjoyed it more in contrast to the savory melted goat cheese, hidden beneath croutons in the soup’s center. Although the goat cheese twisted a classic idea and resulted in a delicious flavor, the croutons were overly soggy by the time the soup was served.
My next course, chicken maltagliati, gave me a lesson in Italian: “maltagliati,” as the menu suggests, literally means pasta that is “badly cut.” The chicken was tender and well cooked (though watch out for small bones), and I found the taste and texture of the vegetables to complement the chicken well. Still, I was not a fan of the flat noodles and wished to eat a more substantial noodle along with the rest of the dish.
I concluded with the chocolate bread and butter pudding. I was thrilled by the caramel gelato, lightly dusted with cinnamon, but the bread pudding simply could not match up in flavor to the gelato’s richness. This problem was also driven by the bread pudding’s cool temperature. A difference in temperature would have helped to craft the separate flavors of bread pudding and gelato rather than having the gelato obscure the rest of the dish.
Overall, the service at Heirloom was efficient yet impersonal. The waitress never introduced herself by name and only asked a perfunctory question about my experience in mid-walk to another table. Ultimately, the dinner was tasty yet unpolished and did not live up to my expectations from the trendy setting.