Hatfield's - quite disappointing!
It had been several years since we dined at Hatfield's and we thought we should give it a try. My partner is a vegetarian, and being that Hatfield's features a vegetarian tasting menu, it seemed like a good choice for dinner. Hatfield's has had consistently good ratings from most sources.
We arrived for dinner last evening right when the restaurant opened. We were greeted cordially and were seated at a nice table in a very pleasant dining room. Our waiter arrived in a few minutes to take our drink order. Our waiter was extremely pleasant, knowledgeable and professional. Indeed he gave us great service throughout our dinner. It was in other ways that our dinner disappointed.
First, they served two crab amuse bouches almost immediately. I informed the server who brought them over (not our server), that one of us was a vegetarian and perhaps the chef could send out something different for him. The server said no this was not possible. He said that the chef would not accommodate this request. Now, of course, I realize that an amuse bouche is a gift from the chef, and one does not usually quibble with a gift. Nevertheless, a restaurant that features a vegetarian menu, I think, should reasonably accommodate a vegetarian with something so simple. It's just the nice thing to do, and I have made this simple request many times in other restaurants, and it's always been obliged.
More importantly, some of the food served was not terrific. The green salad that was part of the vegetarian menu was highly touted by our server, so I (who am definitely not a vegetarian) decided to have it also. Well, the salad was very much overdressed, and the greens were extremely limp...indeed seemed not fresh. The salad was actually quite poor.
I ordered the sea bass for my entree. The silver placed on the table for my fish, and my partner's pasta entree were the same. Serrated thin-bladed knives, sort of like steak knives were placed before both of us...sort of strange. My portion of fish was quite small, probably not more than four ounces at most. The fish was ok, pretty tasteless and certainly nothing special, but the accompanying corn was delicious. My partner's vegetarian entree was good.
While eating our entrees, something very strange happened. A gentleman wearing a suit (? Maitre d') came by the table, said not a word about how we were enjoying our dinner, and tried to whisk away our butter (my partner had a roll in his hand at the moment, and I still had half a roll on my bread plate), then proceeded to remove both of our water glasses. I stopped him, he shrugged and walked away without so much as uttering a word, or saying he was sorry.
I did not have dessert, but my partner had a delicious dessert which like many of the other courses, seemed terribly small.
All in all, this was an expensive dinner, and quite disappointing.
Sorry to hear about your experience. Like I've said before you seem to have the worst luck with some of LA's finest.
Been to Hatfield's about 4-5 times over the past 3-4 years. Once or twice in the old space and 3 times in the new one. The FOH does not know me and they have always been very accomodating with requests (eg. seating changes) and menu substitutions (eg. switching out a raw course for a cooked one). Food has always been terrific and some of the best in the city. The value is also great whether you get the 4 course or the full chef's tasting.
At most of LA's "finest", I've had wonderful experiences. I've never had a less than terrific meal at Melisse, Patina, Water Grill, Spago, Marche Moderne (OC) and on and on. Yes, I'm sure Porthos you are referring to a dreadful & truly unforgivable experience I had at one of LA's most loved steakhouses...but there are several restaurants in southern CA that I think are terrific. Indeed the last time I went to Hatfield's some time ago, we loved it. So...perhaps last evening was just an off night, and that can be forgiven.
544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071
176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
3333 Bristol St 3001, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
I hated that i didn't love Hatfields, but I just didn't. I went once, in their old space. It was so long ago, I don't really remember much but I do remember that the amuse was the best tasting part of the meal. I've never been curious to return again or check out their new space. This place just didn't wow me away, unfortunately. Maybe it's just that old location because I didn't care for Eva either. oh well.
Interesting the timing of your post, because I was there on Wednesday night and had exactly the opposite reaction.
Now vegetarianism was never going to play our table, so I cannot address those specific issues.
However, had the $59 per person, 4-course menu, with 3 appetizer-sized portions, plus a dessert.
With crab cakes to start in both cases, followed by the halibut curry item second, and either the duck or pork belly items selected as the main course, appetizer-sized, we were nearly stuffed with 3 apps.
Then dessert - well, that cobbler was wonderful.
Coupled with a 6-year old bottle of Malbec for $44, I could not imagine a more enjoyable dinner for two.
Service, as always, exemplary.
David B and Jonathan(sommelier) knew their stuff.
I don't recall if carter ever wrote about Hatfield's in the past, but I don't know if knowing the names of two staff members necessarily means he knows them. Besides, although it could explain any difference in service, I don't think it would have much of an effect on the quality of the food. And considering they were there on different nights, there could be any number of reasons why their experiences differed.
I was there with friends six weeks ago. None of us had been there before or knew anyone working there. The food was pretty much flawless. Service was excellent as well. All in all, it was the best outing we've had in a very long time.
One friend is allergic to crab, but didn't ask for a substitute amuse bouche. Personally, I don't believe in asking for a substitute amuse, and if one does, one is not entitled to being accomodated. But that assumes the kitchen has to make one from scratch just for one guest. (I'm not saying it's too difficult, but it might be a bit of a hiccup for the kitchen.) It does show a lack of preparation on the kitchen's part not to have a vegetarian option, when they offer a vegetarian prix fixe menu. Or perhaps they feel it isn't worth the effort to have a vegetarian amuse option, who knows.
Of course, an amuse is a gift and certainly no restaurant needs to oblige with a substitution. My point is that since they do have a vegetarian tasting menu at Hatfield's, it would be nice to offer a vegetarian amuse...or at least be polite and apologize for not being able to accommodate. That didn't happen! Interestingly, we both remarked (and perhaps it's because one of us is a vegetarian) or just coincidence, that recently many of the best restaurants we have been to have served everyone a vegetarian amuse...an interesting way to please all!