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Ingrid | | Jun 12, 2006 04:29 PM

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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