Heritage Grand Restaurant and Pizza Bar is putting the focus on elevating the status of ancient grains on New York City’s dining scene.
Smell the aroma of freshly baked bread, wood-fired pizzas, pasta, and more as you enter this unique dining spot adjacent to Bryant Park. From founders Lou Ramirez (Maison Kayser, Fig & Olive, Le Pain Quotidien), fourth-generation French baker Luc Boulet (Maison Kaiser), and Alex Garese (Wolkonsky Bakery), Heritage Grand Restaurant and Pizza Bar is a destination for wood-fired cooking and Mediterranean-style cuisine. However, the real focus is its specialty of milling flour daily and onsite ( to create baked goods, pizza, and more) from ancient grains. The grains are sourced from various locations, such as the south of France, Belgium, and Wild Hive Farm in Clinton Corners, New York, and milled in-house.
What are ancient grains?
Ancient grains are grains that have remained largely unchanged for centuries and have not been subjected to modern breeding techniques. They are often considered healthier than modern grains because they contain more nutrients, fiber, and protein. Examples of ancient grains include einkorn, spelt, farro, kamut, and quinoa. These grains are often used in Mediterranean-style cooking and are known for their nutty, earthy flavor and chewy texture. At Heritage Grand Restaurant and Pizza Bar, the specialty is milling these ancient grains daily and on-site to create baked goods, pizza, and more.
Inside the restaurant.
Inside the restaurant, you may feel like you’re on the shores of Ischia, which is partially thanks to Patricia Joseph, the brand, marketing and events manager. During her travels to the Mediterranean, she came across centuries-old restaurants with a grotto-like or cavernous feel. She wished to recreate the ambiance using the same materiality while maintaining the brand’s core theme of ancient grain. Heritage’s walls are clad in stone shaved from the mountains and beams of 200-year-old wood beams. The Venetian plastered sweeping asymmetrical arches create soft curves throughout the space. It’s tranquil and washed in shades of white and beige, with soft lighting that gives the room a romantic feel. There’s also a lot of spa-like seagrass and rattan, curved whitewashed walls, arched recessed soffits lined with gray stone sliced from a mountain.
What you can expect on the dinner menu
The food is Mediterranean-inspired—hummus, flatbreads, pasta and while the dishes aren’t unfamiliar, the modern take and ancient grain make a difference in a good way.
For starters, there’s a Mediterranean Mezze Platter ($19). It’s a shareable dish emphasizing dips such as hummus, babaganoush, tzatziki, and Israeli salad. But its real showstopper is the warm, fluffy, charred pinsa flatbread, which you’d want to come with every meal you eat from now on.
Another shareable option is pizza; Heritage offers two types: Neopolitan and thin crust. If you prefer Neopolitan, there’s the Stracciatella ($25) or the Clam Pie ($27.) The Clam Pie is made with fresh littleneck clams, oregano, garlic, white wine, lemon, chili, pecorino, and parsley. The clams are tender and flavorful, while the herbs and spices add a touch of freshness and a slight kick of heat. The white wine and lemon help to balance out the dish’s flavors, and they also provide a subtle acidity.
On the other hand, if you prefer a thinner crust, try the Wild Mushroom ($22.) It is made with oyster mushrooms, pickled shallot, caciocavallo, and pecorino. Thanks to the hearty mushrooms and crust, the pizza has a rich and earthy flavor. The pickled shallot adds a touch of sweetness and tanginess, while the caciocavallo and pecorino cheeses provide a creamy and slightly salty flavor. Another option is a good ole classic Margherita ($19.) It’s a timeless classic and also comes in Neopolitan style.
Beyond pizza, the dinner menu also features pasta, salad, and mains. One of the signature salads is called “Ancient Grains” ($16.) It is so delicious that you may crave it on a random Wednesday afternoon, especially if you have unsuccessfully tried to recreate a similar salad from Sweetgreen.
While the specialty pasta Ancient Grain Tagliatelle made from Einkorn with a sausage and mushroom ragu may not be available on the regular menu, it’s worth trying the Amatriciana ($24.) This is an Italian classic similar to arrabbiata but with guanciale pork jowels and added tomatoes confit, which help balance the richness of the guanciale ( pork) and pecorino (cheese). Another option is the Linguine ($27) with clams, garlic, chili, parsley, and white wine. It’s a recommended choice for seafood lovers.
Mains include the Roasted Tunisian Chicken ($27.) The juicy bird garnished with salsa verde is a beautiful sight and bite. It’s also served alongside addictive fingerling potatoes. Additionally, there is the Charred Cauliflower ($22.) While it may be geared toward vegetarians, this dish should not be forgotten by meat eaters. It is stunning, charred in the wood-fired oven until crispy on the outside and melting on the inside, dressed in a falafel-worthy sauce of tahini, capers, and lemon.
Finally, if you have room left, there’s a hearty slice of olive oil cake on the dessert menu. Actually, it’s something you should save room for, and if you’re dining with friends, get two slices. For weeks ahead, you would be lusting over the moist, spongy, and enriched with orange spice and vanilla-sweetened cream.
Heritage Grand Restaurant and Pizza Bar
8 W 40th St, New York, NY 10018