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Hatfield's

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We went to Hatfield's this weekend. Overall, it was a pleasant dining experience but we left feeling no hurry to return.

We arrived at 9:00 pm for our 9:00 pm reservation. The maitre dei told us he had a table available outside. I asked if we could sit inside, and he said told us it would be "just a few moments." Three two tops opened and were bussed and set by about 9:05. We stood there and waited and the maitre dei just looked at his book and it wasn't until about 9:15 or so until I asked him whether we could have one of the three open two tops. He looked around (at the very small dining room) and said, of course. Overall though, the maitre dei was pleasant and we figured the delay was due to the very understandable kinks that happen with a new restaurant.

None of the entrees looked very interesting, so we stuck to the appetizers which looked fantastic. I started with the grilled octopus with hearts of palm in an olive tapenade and my fiancé had the king crab and celery volute. Both dishes were well executed and the flavors were subtle, but present. The volute, in particular, tasted light and fluffy and rich at the same time. For my entree, I had the hamachi croque madam and my finance had the rabbit and foie gras terrine. I didn't care for the hamachi croque madam. While the bread was toasted buttery-perfect, the warmth of the bread and the light bechamel brought out the fishyness of the hamachi. I'm not suggesting the fish was unfresh; it was quite fresh. Rather, the mix of flavors and temperatures didn't quite mesh for me. The rabbit terrine was quite delicious. Rich, meaty, and smooth.

We were pretty stuffed at the end of the meal so we skipped dessert. People around us who had dessert seemed pleased. The bus boy was attentive, and so was the bartender. Our server was friendly but at bit absent.

Overall, as I said, the dining experience was pleasant. When Grace first opened, we went and there were some new restaurants foibles, but we couldn't wait to go back. And we did repeatedly and we love this restaurant. I didn't leave Hatfield's feeling the same enthusiasm. If I'm in the area, and want a meal at this price point, I'm likely go to Lucques or Grace or AOC. I may give Hatfields a second try, but probably not for another year or so.

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  1. i was at hatfield's their 3rd or 4th day of business and i thought everything was excellent....i could almost say perfect, but then again i am a food snob. i had the charred octopus which was the best octo ive ever had. we also tried the croque madame which we all thought was great....i admit, on paper i thought...hamachi and proscuitto??? didnt make sense, but after one bite, it all made sense. our entrees were great and the desserts were amazing. i thought the service was top notch as well...and again, i am a snob. i cant wait to see what else that kitchen can turn out...

    1. Hearsay post:my sister , a major foodie,ate there last week , during the week.
      OK, the octopus was very good, but she liked Sushi Ike's better. The halibut with horseradish cream was "the blandest thing she ever ate"-she left half of it. Loved the rolls and thought dessert was good, but nothing special. She couldn't even remember what she ordered.

      Decor: minimal to the point of sterile
      Service: lovely and she was alone

      Total tab: $87 ..two glasses of wine and coffee

      She would not return.

      1. Went to Hatfield's the other night for a birthday dinner. Got the 7 course tasting. This was our second time there and let me say that it was absolutely fantastic.

        They served two different courses each, so we got to try more like 13 different items (one dessert was the same)

        Not going to go into a whole lot of detail, but the squab with crispy leg "schnitzel" with foie gras, corn, etc was fabulous. The above mentioned Halibut I thought was one of the highlights of the night. It was crusted with pumpkin seeds and served with horseradish creme fraiche and fingerling potatoes and citrus glazed beets, the flavors all melded very well. The halibut itself was incredibly buttery and just melted.

        I'm sure when they opened, they had their share of kinks. I went a few months ago and didn't really enjoy the octopus salad. I had it this time and it was, let me say, PERFECT. The octopus was incredibly tender. I had complained earlier that it was bland, and this time the flavors sang and married together beautifully.

        The night I went I felt they were really at the top of their game. I highly recommend this place over Lucques and Grace.

        1 Reply
        1. re: fooddude37

          Totally agree regarding Hatfield's. Having Grace and Lucques so close provides many options, and that is a good thing. If anyone wanted to treat me, I'd love to go to any of the 3.
          I like the lack of pretenses at Hatfield's, and especially the side patio area where the noise level is quite low.

        2. Does Hatfield's have a bar where one could grab a drink and perhaps an appetizer or dessert?

          1 Reply
          1. A hamachi croque madam just sounds...wrong. Wrong texture, wrong flavor combo...wrong wrong wrong!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Clare K

              Innovative? Yes. Delicious? God yes.
              "Wrong texture, wrong flavor combo...wrong wrong wrong!"? No.

              1. re: fooddude37

                It sounds like a bad combo to me. Last time I checked, this board was for opinions....

                I've had plenty of interesting and unusual combos, but it seems - in my own experience - fish sandwiches with any kind of creaminess to them can be very tricky. Hence my opinion on this matter.

                1. re: fooddude37

                  I invariably get the croque madam as to me it is one of the most interesting unique taste/texture combinations created in recent memory. To me it is one of the reasons I like the place so much, in addition to the owners, the other food items, and the wine list. I must agree with you that some times I find the entree roster not all that interesting, yet it does change quite frequently.

              2. Yow, I just got back from a meal at Hatfield's. The food was great -- I loved the charred octopus and the trout salad, and my SO enjoyed the Char. However, I have to say that the service was kind of off-putting.

                The hostess was not particularly welcoming. I'm not really sure how to characterize the server -- she was perfectly polite, but very standoffish. I've eaten plenty of great meals since moving down to LA two years ago from San Francisco, but I think that this is the most uncomfortable service I've experienced.

                Maybe it was due to the day of the week (Monday), maybe she was new. Maybe I was grumpy (nah, I'm almost always grumpty, that wasn't it).

                1. Totally agree, none of the entrees looked inspiring, appetizing. We opted to share 4 of the 5 appetizers offered instead and were not disappointed with the taste except for teh hamachi croque madame which really didn't work for me either. I could only stomach one bite.

                  The amuse buche consisted of warm parsnip soup and a quail egg with a dollop of smoked trout. Diver scallops, foie gras, and frisee with smoked trout, fingerling potatoes, green apple. They were really parsimonious with the matchstick green apple which is too bad b/c we like the contrast.

                  None of the desserts inspired either, but the ice creams did...so we asked for a ice cream sampler and pleased they accommodated us -- eggnog ice cream, espresso, ginger, grapefruit Lillet, butterscotch rosemary, vanilla camomille (turns the icecream green like green tea ice cream). The butterscotch rosemary didn't work for us, but maybe in the dessert it works beautifully.

                  Service wonderful, no complaints.

                  The "decor" resembled a jail cell to me. Low slung ceilings. Bare walls. Tight quarters. Not romantic. L.A. Magazine rated this magazine as number 1 in the latest issue so we might go back to try again. Hopefully the limited menu changes.

                  1. wouldn't go back.

                    Tiny portions. High prices. Nice, but why the fuss? Good ideas... but steelhead was bland/soft and white with a weird, overwhelming smear of sweet potato sauce. Hangar steak came lukewarm. Almost no trout in trout appetizer. Coffee also lukewarm. Wines could be better. Barbera at $39 too juggy.

                    Needs more food for the price. I am a small eater but feel cheated.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: surf2a

                      I arrived at 8p.m. for an 8p.m. reservation and was told the table wasn't ready. When we asked how much longer it would be, the hostess said "I'm not sure...when people leave." After that warm welcome, we decided to wait on the smallish waiting area where two other parties were waiting for their 8p.m. reservation. We ordered two cocktails for $26 and proceeded to wait until 8:30p.m. when I inquired how much longer again. After not receiving a clear answer, we decided to leave. The hostess did not apologize for the wait or offer to comp the drinks at any time during the half hour wait. I for one am never going back again. I dine out about 2 to 3 times a week and have never encountered such an out of touch hostess. It left a bad taste in my mouth.

                      1. re: lawgrl

                        I strongly suggest that you call Hatfields and ask to speak with Karen Hatfield. She's the co-owner, pastry chef, and front of the house manager. She's receptive to hearing about that sort of service. A restaurant of Hatfield's size survives on positive word of mouth, repeat business, and service. I'm sure they would offer you a return visit where perhaps some of the meal will be comped.
                        Give it a try and report back to the board.

                        1. re: peanut112

                          I agree. The hatfields ran a tight ship at Cortez in SF. I am certain they would fix these errors unlike places like Spago that rely on celebs, tourists, etc.