It’s Baja-Style All Summer Long When The Hungry Cat is Transformed into a New Cantina as the Mexican Kitty Returns to Chef David Lentz’s Beach-Side Restaurant
Raw Shellfish, Tacos, Shared Platters, Mexican Beers, Tequila, Mezcal and El Gato Cocktails by Bar Manager Dona Bridges
Just in time for Memorial Day Weekend, The Hungry Cat Santa Monica Canyon will be transformed into a summer pop up – EL GATO EN LA PLAYA. The concept, created by Chef David Lentz and Chef de Cuisine Kris Longley, is inspired by summers on the Mexican Riviera where Longley spent his youth.
The overwhelming response of the beach outpost’s recent Baja-styled anniversary party inspired Lentz to make the change. “We have one of the greatest bars and dining rooms by the beach and this menu lends itself to casual summer eating and drinking in Southern California,” states Lentz. “Kris and I put our Hungry Cat spin on the food and drinks and people really responded with enthusiasm. We decided it would be a great idea to run it for the entire season.”
Longley tells colorful stories of his childhood in Baja where his family owned a second home and he first became interested in food and cooking. “I started going to Puerto Vallarta when I was about seven and when I was fifteen, my parents bought a house in Manzanillo, about 200 miles south on the coast,” says Longely. “We spent entire summers there and it’s where I learned Spanish and spent time in the kitchen. I loved all the different food stores – the carniceria, the pescaderio, and tortilleria. And it was great being fifteen and able to drink Coronas all day.”
El Gato en la Playa at The Hungry Cat Santa Monica Canyon will showcase the best in seafood that Lentz is known for – fresh uni, Peruvian scallops, crab and seasonal catch.
Appetizers feature a Baja-styled selection of raw fish and seafood from Chef David Lentz and Chef de Cuisine Kris Longley’s enticing crudo menu. Start with Littlenecks Clams on the Half Shell with House-Made Hot Sauce; Peruvian Scallops with Aguachile, Orange & Pickled Fresno Chiles; Crab & Shrimp Cocktail with Avocado, Cucumber, Gazpacho, House-Made Hot Sauce; Harry’s Uni Shooter with Tequila & Finger Lime; or sample Botanas (Mexican Snacks), Fresh Tortilla Chips & Guacamole with Crab or Shrimp; Mexican Street Corn with Lime Aioli, Chili Salt & Queso Fresco; or Queso Fundido with Pickled Vegetables & Tortillas served with add-ons of Roasted Green Chiles or Chorizo.
After some appetizers slide into Tacos y Mas… and sample Guajillo Braised Beef with Chopped Onions, Cilantro & House Salsa; Puerco Pibil with Pickled Red Onions; Baja Style Fish Tacos with Spicy Slaw, Guacamole & Queso Fresco; Lamb Belly Adobo; Duck Carnitas with Charred Pineapple & Habanero Salsa; Albacore Tuna Tostada with Aji Amarillo, Avocado & Lime-Pickled Cucumber; and Summer Squash Sopes with “Re-Fried” Corn, Anaheim Chiles, Zucchini Flowers and Cumin-Lime Crema.
Larger plates are designed to be shared – Grilled Whole Fish with Yellow Rice, Mojo de Ajo, Grapefruit & Grilled Lime; Pollo de Ladrillo with Chimichurri & Fried Potatoes; and Bistec Adobado – a Marinated Hanger Steak with Charred Onions & Tortillas. A la carte menu pricing ranges from $3 for appetizers – $35 for larger platters.
The bar program led by Bar Manager Dona Bridges will have fresh and modern interpretations of classic cocktails and focus on boutique, high quality brands The Hungry Cat is known for – Arette, 86 Co. Tequila Cabeza, locally imported mezcals and tequilas including Ixa, del Maguey, El Silencio, Ocho, Siete Leguas, Tapatio and Fortaleza. Beers highlight established Mexican beers and Mexican/Baja microbrews. Fresh agua frescas and house-made horchata are featured for the non-alcoholic beverages. In addition to classic, seasonal and spicy Margaritas, Bridges has specially created four cocktails to complement the menu – the Paloma, with Tequila, Lime, Grapefruit, Salt, Black Pepper & Topo Chico; La Luchadora, with Fresh Watermelon, Cilantro, Habanero & Silver Tequila; Sancho, with Tomatillo, Cucumber, Reposado & Lime Salt; and the Barrel-Aged Rosita with Mezcal, Tequila, Campari & Sweet and Dry Vermouths. Other highlights are a signature Michelada prepared with House Hot Sauce, Lime, Tamari &Chili Salt; an abundant Seafood Michelada with Clam Juice & Fresh Shrimp; and a variety of mezcal or tequila oyster shooters. Flights/complets of tequila and mescal make for a festive evening and are served with sangrita on the side.
EL GATO EN LA PLAYA
oysters on the half shell – lime & tequila mignonette – ½ dozen 18.5
littlenecks clams on the half shell – house-made hot sauce – 3 / each
peruvian scallops – aguachile, orange & pickled fresno chiles – 4 / each
crab & shrimp cocktail – avocado, cucumber, gazpacho, house-made hot sauce – 16.5
snapper ceviche – stone fruit, lime, jalapeno – 14.5
harry’s uni shooter – tequila & finger lime – 9.5
house salad – gem lettuce, jicama, cherry tomatoes, avocado, fried masa,
cotija cheese, ranchero dressing – 12.5
mexican street corn – lime aioli, chili salt, queso fresco – 7.5
guacamole & chips – 10.5
add crab – 10
add shrimp – 8
queso fundido – pickled vegetables & tortillas – 10.5
with roasted green chiles – 12.5
with chorizo – 14.5
tacos y mas…..
guajillo braised beef – chopped onions, cilantro, house salsa – 10.5
puerco pibil – pickled red onions – 10.5
baja style fish tacos – spicy slaw, guacamole, queso fresco – 12.5
lamb belly adobo – pickled red onions – 13.5
duck carnitas – charred pineapple and habanero salsa – 14.5
albacore tuna tostada – aji amarillo, avocado, lime-pickled cucumber – 12.5
summer squash sopes “re-fried” corn, anaheim chiles, zucchini flowers, cumin-lime crema – 12.5
grilled whole fish – yellow rice, mojo de ajo, grapefruit, grilled lime – 34.5
pollo de ladrillo – chimichurri, fried potatoes half 17.5 / whole – 26.5
bistec adobado – marinated hanger steak, charred onions, tortillas – 27.5
El Gato Cocktails by Bar Manager Dona Bridges
tequila, lime, grapefruit, salt, black pepper, topo chico
watermelon, cilantro, habanero, silver tequila
tomatillo, cucumber, reposado, lime salt
mezcal, tequila, campari, sweet and dry vermouths
classic, cadillac, frozen, spicy and seasonal market margaritas
fresh agua frescas and house-made horchata
EL GATO EN LA PLAYA POP-UP
All Summer Long
Friday, May 27, 2016 –Monday, September 5, 2016
The Hungry Cat Santa Monica Canyon
Tuesday & Wednesday: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Thursday & Friday: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Saturday: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Happy Hour Every Day
5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
El Gato en la Playa at The Hungry Cat Santa Monica Canyon
100 West Channel Road
Santa Monica, CA 90402
Chef/Owner David Lentz creates a new American Seafood sensibility inspired by his Maryland roots, incorporating sustainable, seasonal fish, shellfish and produce into his weekly changing menus. Consistently named among the LA Weekly’s 99 Essential Restaurants, critic Besha Rodell states, ”The Hungry Cat has…not only stood the test of time, in fact, is far better than much of what now qualifies as the new hotness. Lentz delivers menus of beautiful seafood dishes that aren’t built on nostalgia but rather a foundation of creativity and old-school technique.” The Santa Monica Canyon location brings it all together, complete with signature raw bar, perfectly mixed artisanal cocktails and camaraderie at the bar and tables.
For further information and full menus for El Gato en la Playa at The Hungry Cat, visit www.thehungrycat.com
El Gato en la Playa and David Lentz are Social!
Follow El Gato en la Playa on Twitter at @elgatoplaya and on Instagram at @elgatosmc
Follow David Lentz at @ChefDavidLentz on Twitter and @dclentz3 on Instagram