March 23, 2010

Hatfield's (Los Angeles) - Reopening on Melrose Avenue

It is always interesting when we look around in our circle of friends to realize how many couples work in the same occupational area. But if you really think about it, it is not that surprising that if you don’t know your partner from school days it is very likely that you will meet him/her during college or job years when the interests and life styles are very similar. So it is not surprising that in the culinary world where unusual working hours require a lot of understanding, chef couples are not unusual.

Karen and Quinn Hatfield first met when they both worked at Spago. They both then worked separately at different restaurants in New York (Jean Georges, Bouley, Gramercy Tavern etc.) before they decided to work together again at Cortez in San Francisco. In 2006 they decided to open up their own restaurant in Los Angeles – Hatfield’s.

We always enjoyed our nights at Hatfield’s as this restaurant provides in interesting contrast to most other high-end restaurants since in its original location it was a very small and intimate place with very few tables and a small kitchen. One of the highlights of Hatfield’s for us was their 7-course tasting menu which featured well executed French-Californian cuisine. As an interesting sidenote – when we ordered the tasting menu with two people both of us would get different dishes for each course which gave you a chance to taste 14 different courses. Due to the small number of tables it was always difficult to get a reservation at Hatfield’s and it wasn’t a real surprise that middle of last years the Hatfield’s decided to do the next plausible step and move to a bigger location.

They moved their restaurant from Beverly Blvd to the new location on Melrose Ave formerly occupied by Red Pearl Kitchen and several other restaurants including Michel Richard’s Citrus.

The first thing one recognizes is that the number of tables has at least doubled compared to the old location. The dining room has an interesting vibe somewhere between intimate and minimalistic with a very eye-catching honeycomb chandelier.

One of the most interesting changes to us is the new open kitchen. Many restaurants claim to have open kitchen but you often can only see parts of the kitchen or just a few of the line cooks – not so at the new Hatfield’s.

Here you have a very large window with a fantastic view of the whole kitchen from everywhere in the restaurant, you can even see Chef Quinn in action.

Another nice new feature at Hatfield’s is their bar with gave us a good opportunity to start the evening with two excellent cocktails.

Candied Kumquat Mojito – 10 Cane Virgin, pineapple, smashed kumquat, lime and mint. The cocktail had a nice balance between sweetness and tartness of the kumquats; and Winter Bellini – Prosecco frizzante and rhubarb puree. Unusual but successful variation on a bellini which had a nice tartness from the rhubarb, loved it.

Unfortunately Hatfield’s was just two weeks open at the time we visited and didn’t have the tasting menu up and running so that we decided to go with the 4-course prix fixe menu and covering all dishes.

Amuse Bouche: Diced yellowtail, squash, lime, curry. A very light and fresh start of the evening which showed already how Hatfield’s combines many different flavors from all over the world.

1st Course A: Pan roasted diver scallops, braised celery, salsify, apple froth. Nicely roasted scallops which had the typical sweetness and as a contrast the slight bitterness of celery and apple.

1st Course B: Charred Japanese mackerel, oven dried pineapple, avocado, fried shallots, nori infused salsa verde. Mild fish with some sweetness from the pineapple and an accompanying aromatic/herbaceous salsa verde.

2nd Course A: Pan seared dorade, carrot puree, Chinese broccoli, mushroom ragout. Very moist fish with a crispy skin. The sweetness from the carrot puree is balanced from the slight bitterness of the Chinese broccoli. The mushroom ragout added some “meatiness”

2nd Course B: Prawns a la plancha espelette, creamy crab rice, roasted peanuts, preserved lemon, mint. One highlight of this dish was the creamy crab rice. The prawns were crusted with pepper and sprinkeled with peanuts. A very Asian influenced dish.

3rd Course A: Long Island duck breast, whiskey prune smear, butternut squash, quinoa porridge. Sous-vide cooked rosy duck breast with a nice crispy skin, sweet butternut squash and quinoa porridge which reminded of a risotto.

3rd Course B: Horseradish dusted short ribs and hanger steak, spring onion confit, smoked potato puree. Very tender short ribs which got some spiceness from the horseradish accompanied by a surprisingly “smokey” smoked potato puree. The hanger steak was also very tender and was accompanied by a sweet-garlicky onion confit.

For desserts we could pick anything from the dessert menu.

4th Course A: Coconut custard “Macroon”, marinated pineapple, vanilla tapioca, passion fruit-elderflower sorbet. The coconut custard was the center of the dish and came along with many different flavor profiles from the sweet pineapple, tart sorbet. This dessert reminded us of desserts we had at Providence that we are completely addicted to.

4th Course B: Chocolate “Nutella” ganache cake, butterscotch rosemary ice cream, hazelnut toffee. Interesting take on a chocolate cake with a twist by the rosemary flavor of the ice cream.

Mignardises: Chocolate cupcakes

Overall we were very happy with the reopened Hatfield’s. The ambience is very different from its old location but it is still not too large and especially the open kitchen makes the atmosphere unique. Service was professional while friendly, and the food was as good as we remembered. The only small complain was that the portion size tends to be quite small. We normally feel that most restaurants in the US serve way too much food but Hatfield’s was one of the rare occassions where we felt that we should have added some supplements for the prix fixe. We are really looking forward to go back when the full tasting menu is available.

6703 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 935-2977


Exile Kiss said...

Hi Two Foodies,

Great review. Thanks for the insight on Hatfield's new location. It sounds like they're still consistent and served some good dishes and desserts. :)

Yah, the last time we went, we had 1 supplement to their regular Tasting Menu and we all felt pretty full (some dishes a bit heavier than we had preferred but still good overall).


Hi Exile Kiss, thanks for the kind words. We always enjoy reading your blog which has very thorough review. Are you planning to visit Hatfield's ? We heard that the tasting (9-course) is now available.

kirbie said...

Ooh, the food looks yummy. I especially like the cocktail flavors and the coconut dessert. I would love to go and check out the Tasting menu.


Hi Kirbie - you should definitely try their tasting menu. If you like good, creative cocktails than there a few very good place close to the restaurant like Roger Room or the Tap Room.

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Two Foodies,

Thanks for the kind words; I enjoy reading about your experiences as well. :) Yes, I definitely want to go back (now at their new locale) and try their tasting. Thanks.

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