Heidiís House By The Side Of The Road
If you're in the Upper Eastside, Heidi's House by the Side of the Road is a great place to stop for dinner. Located on 78th Street and First Avenue it's a tiny establishment where wine bottles and a wooden bar line one wall, four bistro tables take up the other, and jazzy music like Billie Holiday plays in the background. The wait can be long, especially on a Saturday night, but if you love organic farm fresh ingredients, a gooey mac and cheese, or a killer chocolate soufflé, you may not mind.
For an appetizer or "snack" as Heidi's calls it, we started off with the shrimp tacos. Served inside a corn tortilla, they were grilled and seasoned deliciously, topped with fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a to die for tomatillo sauce. Simple and so flavorful we wanted to order another, but decided to hold off for the mac and cheese.
On the menu Heidi's describes their mac and cheese as "better than Grandma Lola's." I'm not sure who Granny Lola is, but she certainly had some stiff competition. It's served four ways here; plain and 100% organic, with bacon from properly fed pigs, and with chorizo sausage or lobster. We didn't order the lobster or bacon versions, but between the plain or chorizo, my vote went to the plain. Made with spiral pasta and served steaming hot, it was gooey and oh so cheesy on the inside, salted nicely, and topped with both a chewy and crunchy golden brown top layer. You know, it was the kind of mac and cheese where you just couldn't stop digging at the sides of the dish trying to pick off every last bit of the baked cheese. The chorizo option was just as or even more flavorful than the plain, but because the sausage added so much grease, the top layer lacked the same finesse. Disappointing.
To top off the meal we shared a chocolate soufflé. Made from Belgian dark chocolate it satisfied much like the mac and cheese did, gooey and sweet on the inside with a crusty and chocolately chew on the outside. Again we found ourselves scraping the sides of the bowl. I'm no soufflé connoisseur and we waited 25 minutes for it to get to our table, but I'd definitely give this dessert a thumbs up!
A few other options on the menu included paella, a basic burger, and date pudding for dessert. And, Heidi's offers weekly and daily specials like roasted artichoke and arugula salad, braised short ribs, pork tacos, spaghetti with heirloom tomatoes, and red sangria made with 100% organic fruit. If you're nearby Monday through Friday you can catch Happy Hour from 5-6pm. Wines are $2 off, beers and ales $1 off, and snacks like guacamole and chips, hummus, bruschetta, and crap dip are $5-7.
Heidi's House by the Side of the Road is a welcoming spot. The food is good and it's a relaxing place where nobody seems to be in any great hurry to leave. My only complaint would be that the waiter was just as laid back as his patrons. He took forever to take our order, never came by to see how things were, and talked more to his friend at the bar than any of the customers. It was only when another server arrived that he pepped up and became more attentive. Perhaps it was Heidi giving him the evil eye. One thing for sure, it wasn't Granny Lola.
Review By: Andrea Muller