News Flash: Joel will be doing an SVC Wine Fest on 2/12/11, location to be announced very soon. And you can save the date for LA Wine Fest too: 6/11 and 12, 2011.
I know from many of your sources that you leave your part of the world from time to time to eat and drink on the far side of the hill. Today, I want to chat with you about a newish (opened spring 2009) restaurant you should not miss. I first learned about Executive Chef Quinn Hatfield and wife (Pastry Chef) Karen before their arrival in West Hollywood. The first time I actually met Quinn was in Santa Monica, at a preview for the 2010 Taste of the Nation. I liked his attitude, heard lots of good things about their cooking and determined to eventually visit the new restaurant. I never make it to that first venue, because they moved – to the location that once housed the renowned Citrus of Michel Richard. I enjoyed a birthday there a decade or more ago, and filed in the back of my head that I should get there when the Hatfields had their “soft” opening.
My next discovery was that the Hatfields had joined forces with my old friend, Peter Birmingham – sommelier extraordinaire! Peter and I met when he first opened up Norman’s on Sunset Los Angeles as General Manager. When Norman Van Aken retreated back to Florida, Peter moved to Sal Marino’s Il Grano as Sommelier. I was there for a big Burgundy tasting, which Birmingham handled in an extremely deft fashion. Now, he surfaced as Beverage Director and General Manager of Hatfield’s and once again I filed that information away for a future look see…
Guess what? My extremely intuitive and caring kids took grandpa to a wonderful birthday dinner at Hatfields. The chef driven restaurant offered a tasting menu at $79, seasonal prix fixe dinner for $59 and a vegetarian dinner for $49. We unanimously took advantage of the seasonal offering.
Appetizers were all interesting. Peter came to the table, appreciated the wines I brought to the party, and also joined us in tasting them. Dinner itself began for me with a frisee and smoked trout salad, with avocado, apple, and warm fingerling potatoes in a grainy mustard butter. Half our party enjoyed the Monterey squid. The wine paired with my first dish was the 2009 Vouvray from Pichot. Those enjoying the squid had the 2008 U Pastine (a Ligurian grape, Blanchette.) from a well known local wine retailer named Bisson, located on the Tigulian Bay near Portofino.
The second course, the Octopus choice, was paired with a 2007 Casta Baga fom Luis Pato. The grape here comprises 90% of the red varietals available from Bieras, Portugal, and has “a wonderful personality.”
With my Black Cod en croute, a 2008 Omrah Shiraz from Platagenet Western Australia was poured. A beautiful big wine from a cool climate, the wine showed peppery fruit and mulberry — demonstrating ripeness and as Peter perfectly pegged it “restraint with the simple sophistication of Cod, black olive and reduced tomato.”
With one of my own wines, I loved the pairing with the short ribs. They were well paired.
I would eat this weekly, if but I could…Oh well, it was not only a most pleasant evening, it was a happy one.
With offerings both filling, yet lighter than expected, there was room for dessert. I had a fling with a Sorbet Trio, (Blood Orange, Elderflower and Green Apple Vermouth) accompanied by a satisfying Latte to finish the experience. And, it was an experience to be remembered.
No unhappy faces exited the restaurant. Make the trip, and see for yourself.