Hatfield's Makes the Grade!
After some intensive shekel saving through June, I broke the bank on a July 4th send-off at Hatfield’s last Friday. Yeah, it aint the most brilliantly concocted cuisine I’ve ever seen. And yeah, the place is about the size of my 3rd grade cubby hole. And yeah, the sharp service occasionally seems almost too formal for the space, but I don’t care. I just can’t help but LOVE this place.
My phenomenal date & I arrived via Jeep Wrangler at 9 to meet the most congenial, no-nonsense valet service in LA & we were seated promptly at a small, outdoors deuce along the East side of the restaurant (per our request.) The restaurant was nearly full, yet tables are successfully arranged in order to avoid a sense of crowding & the noise level was even a bit too low (for me.) I sensed that the waitstaff had no need to turn-over our table, so we took our time & were gracefully allowed to do so by the staff. The chairs were comfortable, the music relaxing-but-FUN (Seu Jorge!) & the outside scene felt almost tropical, but without pushing too hard for an environment or theme. We slunk into our seats & let Hatfield’s take us where it pleased.
Began with a lemoncello Tom Collins off the menu & a Macallan 12 – both very nicely executed. Bread service is conducted formally with individual gruyere (?) dusted rolls that call to mind the cheese loaf at Bread Bar and a thin cut of sweet butter, peppered with a touch of sea salt & chopped herbs.
Next up was an excellent bottle of the 94’ Sauvenieres (thanks to a rec on this board...THANK YOU!).
We began the meal with the Dungeness crab salad & the warm summer salad. Both were beautifully (but not haughtily) presented. The crab is lightly fluffed with crème fresh & separated by slivers of avocado, cantaloupe (coconut?). The crab is plentiful, but I couldn’t help but compare this dish to a similar (albeit a slightly better) one I had at Lucques a few months back where the crab was accompanied rather than “cut” with the crème fresh. I would have loved some citrus/acidity in this dish, but it was perfectly refreshing on a summer night! The warm summer salad is really a generous portion of raviolini with halved cherry tomatoes & some sort of pestoish spread on the bottom of the plate – I like!
Next I had the hangar steak & short rib, and my date went for the striped bass. The hangar steak was fantastic – prepared medium-to-medium-rare (per our server’s rec) it was succulent & flavorful (though a modest cut.) The short rib was a bit dry for me, but the potatoes totally stole the show! Truth is I must’ve been loving it because by the time I looked up, my date had nearly polished-off her fish (I got in for just a bit & it was great!)
We finished w/ the sugar & spice beignets, plus a scoop of the salt caramel ice cream. The deserts are insanity. Total INSANITY. I loved them beyond belief. I’m planning a five course desert tasting menu for next time. The vanilla milk ‘eau de vie’ (milkshake type of thing) is something I can no longer live without. I added some kind of desert wine & the check was delivered with a pair of hazelnut kit-kat strips.....delusionally I was drifting-off near heaven.
In all, I think this joint is as charming & sweet as can be. I am really wishing them the best of success & I think they’re ‘slow foodish’ intentions are a welcome addition to the neighborhood. There’s no pretension here & everyone working that night seemed genuinely excited to be a part of it. Total bill came to about $190 (with tax, before tip). The flavors are subtle & lack some of the bang that I enjoy, but this place is a winner...a great destination for anyone who appreciates the seductiveness of great food & drink minus the Ashton Kutcher/Hollywood, smoke & mirrors effects of too many LA restaurant offerings.