Photos here: http://tokyoastrogirl.blogspot.com/20...
I'd long heard wonderful things about Hatfield's, a small, cozy yet elegant restaurant on Beverly Blvd and had waited for a special occasion to finally try it. When my promotion at work came through, J and I jumped at the chance to go ahead and have dinner at the much-lauded restaurant and made reservations for last Friday night.
We arrived just in time for our 6:30 PM reservation (I couldn't get any later) and walked into the charming space. When our hostess seemed like she was going to sit us on the patio (in the 99 degree heat?!) I quickly asked for a table inside and she obliged, no problem. Phew. I hadn't planned on sweating through the meal that I'd looked so forward to trying, not to mention the traffic on Beverly isn't exactly subtle. Sitting on the front porch would have been a deal breaker for sure. Anyway, we were seated at a nice two-top, given menus and left to figure out what to order.
J quickly decided on the three-course "Daily Market Menu" which, at $42, is a real bargain. I figured out my appetizer and entree, then we ordered a bottle of French rosé and sat back, eager to start our very first Hatfield's experience. Instead of the usual bread basket, Hatfield's serves big, round gougeres- basically a savory cream puff shell with no filling but topped with cheese. Wowza. These were totally addictive and quite frankly, dangerous!!! Soft, tender and bright with cheese, the gougeres were just perfect with the rosé. Next came our amuse bouche- a small shot glass of sweet pea and tarragon and a tiny deviled quail egg with smoked trout. Both were absolutely excellent and a great pairing- I would actually love to order both as an appetizer if they were on the menu.
J's first course was a fresh, clean salad of summer corn, tomatoes, beautiful baby purple fingerling potatoes, avocado and frisee all mound on creamy dressing. Simple yet delicious, the quality of the produce really was the star of the dish. Everything tasted wonderfully fresh and sweet. My Warm crab and buckwheat crepe, marinated breakfast radish, pickled beets, fines herbs was also delicious- tiny cubes of sweet beets sat next to a crepe blanketed over a mound of crab meat seasoned with a bit of lemon and folded in a light creamy dressing.
For our main courses we both had fish- J's black cod with warm summer beans, vegetables and crunchy breadcrumbs was tasty, but we both felt the fish wasn't sturdy enough to stand up to the other ingredients on the plate. Maybe a firmer fish would have worked better? (coz um, we know better than seasoned chefs, right?! not.....but that's just how we felt!). It tasted good, regardless, and the beans were a real treat. My Olive oil poached halibut, herbed asparagus, hedgehog mushrooms with pickled ramp vinaigrette was pretty perfect- the firm fish was cooked perfectly and all of the flavors melded together so well.
We decided to share J's dessert of a ricotta cheesecake with strawberries........oooooo, I was in heaven. It was so light, airy, refreshing and the strawberries were so lovely with the creaminess of the cheesecake.....it reminded me so much of the "rare cheesecakes" that are popular in Japan. No thuddingly dense New York cheesecake here. I would order this in large batches if it was available. The perfect summer dessert. Yes, I'm officially gushing.
Along with our bill we got two, homemade chocolate bars which were similar to Kit Kats but the base was a crunchy and dense hazelnut crust. Another "wow" item. Even with the two sweet things at the end, we walked out of Hatfield's feeling great. It's nice to eat a three-course meal and not feel like you need to be carried out by a forklift, you know?! So many places can be heavy-handed with the oils and fats (which isn't always a bad thing, of course!) but Hatfield's really uses a lighter touch. The service was also friendly yet subtle.
We'll definitely be back!
7458 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, California