Hungry Cat Sloppy?
Distinct impression of carelessness over last couple of visits 3 months apart. A "Cambridge" (what's that mean?) crab soup in spring that couldn't be what others have raved about...the lobster a roll a bit jokey small..last night the fish stew with an (oldish, slightly wan yolk) egg not there before and not as clean clear and brothy as the last time. What's up?
I have been to Hungry Cat more times than I can count... for dinner. I usually sit at the counter and have a great meal.
We arrived at 10:55 for brunch. We had no reso and were asked politely to wait to the side for a minute. This turned into a 25 minute wait. Big sighing ensued. (I get the reso thing, an empty resto at 11 may not be an empty resto at 11:20, but at 12 it still had 5 empties....)
I had heard about their brunch for a long time but only recently had the presence of mind to remember to go. I invited a couple of friends who had never been there and raved about food and service. They "joked" a lot about the hostess' attitude toward our lack of a reso, so I was a bit embarrassed.
I was happy when I saw familiar faces waiting tables and behind the bar.
Unfortunately we waited several minutes before being approached by a anyone for water. When she came back to take a drink order many minutes later we said we we ready to order food too.
Food came fast and FIRST. That the drinks were taking a minute or two longer than I would have liked was sort of .... whatever, stuff happens, I understand; I'm very patient. But that the food came first was.....weird. I have never experienced this kind of amateurish glitch here before and I am choosing to chalk it up to the random conspiring of circumstance. Our server said she had a slow bartender, but I've been waited on by both and never thought of them as slow. Moreover I had just spent the better part of a half hour telling my friends how much I love the place.
I am really glad that my friends enjoyed the food because service and timing were definitely not what I have come to know and love at THC. I sincerely hope this was a random occurrence. So, I will keep going anyway. I love their food too, too much. But I think I'll limit it to the counter... for dinner.
The fish stew is served with a poached egg yolk to give the romesco sauce creaminess... Cambridge is a town in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay, and so Chef Lentz is probably interpreting something with which he's familiar... And the lobster roll might not be the right price for that size in New England, here in LA it's par for the course. (In fact, if anyone can find a better tasting lobster roll, speak up because I'm certainly all ears.)
Hungry Cat isn't perfect but I wouldn't go as far as to call it sloppy.
I make Lobster Rolls occasionally at home and had worked out the price of ingredients per roll and it came out to be $13 without any overhead. At the time, my price from 99 Ranch for the live lobsters were 12.99 Lb. My rolls for the record are not much bigger than the Hungry Cat ones. I just checked with Santa Monica Seafood and they are selling live Maine Lobster for $17.99 lb retail. So $21 for the Small Roll at Hungry Cat is not a bad price for LA but it is hard for this New Englander to Swallow
re: Mattapoisett in LA
P - I was taught when forming a menu to charge approx 3 times the food cost to take care of overhead. So let's say we tack on $1 for the cost of potatoes for the fries, $14 total for your lobster roll comes out to $42 on the menu at Hungry P.
Obviously Chef Lentz has suppliers for all his ingedients who charge far less than retail, but following the "rule of 3" again, Hungry Cat's $27 lobster roll + fries is made of $9 worth of product. Subtracting out the cost of potatoes and bread (we'll say $1) , $7 would buy you a lobster that weighed less than half a pound, with some of that weight going to the carapace. (Restaurants and resourceful home cooks won't mind, since the carapace can be used to make lobster bisque.)
You can't throw a rock in this town without hitting three restaurants that serve gourmet burgers. But the lack of lobster rolls beyond Hungry Cat and a few others seems to indicate that restauranteurs can't make the numbers work with their supplier to put it on the menu, to say nothing about the skill to make one taste good. This is regardless of size.
Again, this is a call out to the numerous New Englanders here in LA: if you've got a place that you like for lobster rolls that tastes better than Hungry Cat, just say where and let me know where I can paaahk my caaah.