Heidi’s House: 308 E. 78th st. New York, NY

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I’d been meaning to try Heidi’s for a long time, especially since it’s only a couple of blocks from my apartment. To call it tiny would be an understatement, and every time I walked by it was totally packed solid. Even though Heidi had graciously offered to take my cell phone number and call when a table was ready, I was always too hungry to wait for one and kept putting it off for a time when luck would have me walk by to find an empty table.

When Gabriel and I found a 50% off deal on Scoutmob, we just couldn’t resist anymore…crowded or not, how could we pass up such a great offer? On Yelp.com, people were raving about Heidi’s since it opened, with every review even better than the last. We called from my place, asked if she’d put us on the list and she obliged, telling us to come by in about half an hour. When we arrived, we’d apparently missed our name being called. We were told that they did in fact try to call us on my cell phone but when they got no answer they skipped us. When I asked to see the number they called and found they’d written it down wrong, they apologized and immediately found us the perfect little table for two. This was a great start indeed.

Although it’s small, it’s rather cozy, especially on a chilly night. The local crowd , clearly built of quite a few loyal regulars, was totally down-to-earth, mostly in jeans and T’s. I loved the comfortable atmosphere and immediately felt at home. Before I even tried the food, I proclaimed “this is my new favorite local!” excitedly. Gabriel laughed and reminded me we hadn’t even ordered yet. Well, I guess I just had that much faith that it would be awesome.

I’m very happy to say that my jumping-the-gun announcement was well deserved. The food was totally outstanding. We shared 3 small plates; the shrimp tacos which were made simply and perfectly cooked, the fresh guacamole with warm, homemade tortilla chips and the special gnocchi of the day; which was served with parmesan, white truffle oil and shiitake mushrooms. WOW. That last one was seriously noteworthy. The gnocchi were basically little heaps of mashed potatoes and the meaty mushrooms made this dish more than filling enough for the two of us to share. We would probably have licked the plate clean if no one had been watching. Seriously scrumptious. We had struggled in choosing it over the lobster mac and cheese which is one of their classics, but decided since that one is always on the menu we’d be able to try the much-talked-about mac next time. We also had 2 delicious glasses of wine- which were generously filled to the top in large glasses, more than reasonable at $7 each.

We left Heidi’s full and very pleased with our experience. The wait staff is awesome. The clientele is awesome. The overall vibe is exactly what you’d hope to find in your neighborhood local spot. We will most certainly go back soon, this time perhaps to try that famous lobster mac, the incredible looking chocolate souffle and to play one of the many board games piled high near the front door. I worry that it’s often so crowded and yet another rave review will only keep adding to the number of people who have discovered this treasure, but alas, it is my culinary duty to keep you all well-informed of the gems like this one. Enjoy!

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