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The Hungry Cat in Santa Monica Canyon is now open

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They opened last night. Place was hoppin' tonight. Food was a bit slow to come out - perfectly acceptable seeing that they've been open for 24 hours. And enjoyed everything I had - fluke ceviche, grilled octopus (salad), and the halibut in uni (shitake, fava beans) sauce. Looking forward to going back.

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The Hungry Cat
1535 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

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  1. I went on opening night, Monday. It was a full house, the service was fantastic, no glitches (except maybe length of time in receiving drinks).

    Everyone enjoyed their meal (lobster sandwich, halibut, pug burger) and drinks (but no bloody mary on the menu yet).

    I hope they make it, that space is tough. They did a beautiful job opening it up and creating a light, airy, room, unlike any previous tenant. A welcome addition to the neighborhood, for sure.

    4 Replies
    1. re: yogachik

      We dined there last night and loved everything about it. We were greeted warmly when we arrived and led to a nice corner table. Our server, James was very nice and helpful. My husband and I did a lot of sharing. Oysters, peel and eat shrimp, asparagus salad with butter crumbed egg and other good stuff, crab salad and a big, luscious crabcake. The service was superb. Drinks were served promptly (I had kumquatini(s). Wow is that a delicious and refreshing cocktail! I can't wait to return. The restaurant was completely packed when we left.. Our reservation was at 7:00. Also, of interest is that valet parking was very very prompt. Not sure how they managed to pull that off, with G. Baldi next door. The designers did a great job transforming the former Bras Cap into a truly inviting beach restaurant. This Hungry Cat is a definite winner and I predict it will be here for a very very long time.

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      The Hungry Cat
      100 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402

      1. re: yogachik

        Is the menu the same as the H'wood location? And do they have valet, or where did you find parking?

        1. re: Phurstluv

          Valet parking right in front. It is $4.50. Very efficient valet service. I believe the basic menu is the same, except for seasonal specials, such as a delicious fresh Spring asparagus salad. Food is truly outstanding.

          1. re: maudies5

            Great, thanks for the info. We had a nice lunch at the H'wood so I'm looking forward to a neighborhood spot. Assuming they have a full bar as well. Also can't wait til they start brunch and lunch service in a few months.

      2. Went last week for the first time. Had a sensational meal at the original Hungry Cat once, and then three meals that were not great. So I've been trying to repeat the first.

        I think Goin and company have great publicists. What a disappointing meal at the Santa Monica location. Wilted lettuce, overdressed. Octopus overcooked with no flavor. The coldest service I've had at any restaurant except her other restaurants. I guess that's their specialty. The worst service I ever had was at Tavern, I think. I did complain about it to them but they never answered me. Yes, they ask you FLAT OR SPARKLING as if there is no tap. So back to the food. Chorizo/clams: pretty good, in fact. Clams nothing special, however. That was by far the best dish. And it gave us something to dip the chowder crackers they give you when you start the meal. Of course, there is no chowder or anything to eat with those crackers. Yes, beach cuisine airplane style, or something like that. Crabs fine but no better than at SM Seafood. Nothing unique, no urchin. No surprises. Cocktail not as good as the one at Tavern. Bottarga topping tasting not particularly great. Fluke ceviche pretty good, in fact. But the fluke part was the worst part of it. Few bright flavors, that balance of spice and tanginess I once had in their cooking. Basically a lot of hype, once again.

        It is getting comical what these chefs are getting away with. I save my money and go elsewhere to eat well.

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        The Hungry Cat
        100 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402

        6 Replies
        1. re: epop

          I took my son there a few weeks ago on a Friday night, it was PACKED, luckily we found two seats at the oyster bar.

          Cocktail was delicious. Atmosphere was lively. Our waiter was actually on top of things since we were in a rush, and my son's burger takes, like 15 minutes or more to get, but waiter was attentive. Mussels and chorizo were delicious, great flavors. I just hate that you have to ORDER bread to come with your meal, that just seems to chintzy to me.

          But I do agree w your assessment of their service overall @ Goin's places. We used to LOVE Lucques, but had terrible service one dinner w 6 of us, and management basically could care less, and sided with their waitress. I believe that type of 'tude comes from the top. My husband's work group had a large table reserved at Tavern and they lost the reservation, and made 12 people stand around and wait for a half hour. Just doesn't seem that hard, don't know why they don't have their act together with the service.

          I plan to revisit when they start serving lunch & brunch, will see if I will write them off after that.

          1. re: epop

            Well, I was at the Hollywood branch the other night and had good service and a very good meal. We were asked sparkling or flat and when I said tap, we were brought a carafe of cool, possibly filtered (?) water without the ubiquitous lemon slice. The taste was fine. No charge. My companion had hot water and lemon, no charge. We had tuna tartare, salmon and soft shell crab and a great chocolate and bread pudding dessert and some nice pinot noir served in a smaller carafe. Everything was really good. After some early discussion,. the waiter was very adept at timing the service with our desire to finish dinner in time to make it to Alicia Keys. She was perfection.

            1. re: mc michael

              What would you like, flat or sparking?

              The question itself is so annoying. As if they don't know I was thinking tap.

              We'd rather you not consider that option because we'd like to make a little money off your shame. Like the gypsy lady who shows up with flowers.

              1. re: epop

                I've been to a few Goin/Lentz places and I've yet to encounter a flower lady (or man).

            2. re: epop

              "Flat or sparkling?" is standard at Hungry Cat, and it doesn't matter, they are both free!

              1. re: epop

                I've been back a few times - but I tend to order the same things. Last time the octopus DID seem a bit overdressed to me. Either it wasn't before, or I didn't notice it. But this time, yes. Clams and chorizo, oysters, the halibut. Repeasts and all hit my culinary monkeybone again. Service? I really didn't notice anything untoward about the service. Not remotely cold, in fact a little too warm. In fact it seemed pretty attentive (like someone said I was friends with the owners, or something). My biggest complaint was this unbelievably obnoxious woman who seemed very interested in me and my date (she was staring at my date) and kept asking remarkably inappropriate questions. Even went to the bathroom to talk with my date. And then we ran into her outside - it was so weird it was kind of entertaining.

              2. Does anybody know if this place is an offshoot (offspring) of the long gone Hungry Tiger restaurant that was owned by the famed WWII Flying Tiger pilots?

                10 Replies
                1. re: mucho gordo

                  The Hungry Tiger was started in 1962 by a group of former Flying Tigers' combat pilots. Some of the resturants resembled hangars more than restaurants and all were decorated with photos of old planes and aviators. In the late 80's most of them closed. The Hungry Cat was never part of The Hungry Tiger chain.

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                  The Hungry Cat
                  1535 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                  1. re: wienermobile

                    From Wikipedia:

                    Seventeen years after the end of WWII, Robert Prescott, an AVG and 14th Air Force veteran, started a restaurant called the “Hungry Tiger” in Los Angeles, California. The venture grew into a 40-unit chain, which in 1985 was absorbed into the “Reuben's” restaurant chain. Another AVG-themed restaurant was "Flying Tiger Joe's" in North Carolina, managed by chef and former pilot C. Joseph Rospert.

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      Thanks, wiener

                      1. re: mucho gordo

                        Hungry Cat now open for Brunch on weekends.
                        http://www.thehungrycat.com.php5-20.w...
                        Menu looks phenomenal. I am looking forward to that Soft Shell 'Po Boy.
                        Dinner last night was great. Started with a shared order of the Brandade. Best Brandade ever. Accompanied by crispy poached egg.

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                        The Hungry Cat
                        1535 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                        1. re: maudies5

                          The brunch menu link in your post didn't work for me. I'll try to add it again here and see if this doesn't link to the menu successfully: http://www.thehungrycat.com.php5-20.w...

                          1. re: Servorg

                            Thanks, Servorg. The link you posted took me right to the brunch menu

                          2. re: maudies5

                            Had brunch at the Santa Monica Hungry Cat this past Sunday. The place was completely empty. The hangtown fry was delicious. The soft shell crab po' boy is nothing like the New Orleans classic (bread is heavier, lots of remoulade making it pretty sloppy to eat), but the crab itself was very rich and tasty.

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                            The Hungry Cat
                            100 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402

                            1. re: fbchase

                              That was their opening Brunch weekend. I expect that it will be quite busy once word gets out that they are offering brunch.

                              1. re: fbchase

                                Oof. $21 for fried soft shell crab sandwich? srsly? how cheap is soft shell crabs right now?

                                We did brunch once at each of the HC (SB & H'wood). Done with that business.

                              2. re: maudies5

                                I am trying their brunch on Sunday. Will report back. Has anyone been lately?