For years I’ve said that Hatfields is the most underrated restaurant in L.A. Though recognized by critics and foodies in the know, I’m always surprised by the number of friends who have never encountered one of the most delightful gastronomy experiences our town has to offer. On a whim a few years ago, my husband and I booked last minute reservations, walked in the cozy little porched house and pronounced that we’d be enjoying their tasting menu complete with wine pairing. Now this was an eight course dinner—16 if you consider the fact that we each got a different dish for each course. And each dish brought a new experience to our palette, expanded our taste buds as we swirled our vino and chuckled at the sheer sophistication of it all. It was an evening to remember. And so since that night, it’s become our special occasion place. Not only because we know that we’ll be getting a great meal, but because the service and ambience are in sync with their strive for excellence.
Anticipating the opening of the “new” Hatfields for months, now located on Melrose (in the old Red Pearl Kitchen space), it seemed obvious that we hold out when we had cause for celebration. The occasion? My husband’s birthday. Though a much larger, open space, they have still managed to create a warm environment where you can watch the chefs at work through the glassed kitchen, as if this were an episode of Iron Chef and you finally get to be the judge.
Reluctantly skipping the tasting menu, we opted for their seasonal prix fixe menu (a new addition), which was a great value for four courses. My husband and I chose different items for each course and agreed that the standouts included the Monterey Bay Squid Salad, the Black Cod “En Croute,” and the Hanger Steak. But the grand finale was dessert (isn’t it always). The warm beignets with chocolate dipping sauce and mini ginger milkshake will live on in sweet satisfaction until the next time I have cause to celebrate. I woke up alive and well this morning…perhaps that’s reason enough.
NOTE: Look for an announcement any day for a live V.I.P. cooking and tasting event at Snyder Diamond in Santa Monica benefiting Share Our Strength to kick off Taste of the Nation (June 6th). Chefs Quinn Hatfield, Walter Manzke (formerly Church & State) and Laurent Quenioux (Bistro LQ) will be wowing 100 lucky ticket holders.
Hatfields. 6703 Melrose Avenue. Los Angeles. 323-935-2977