Tried Hatfields for the first time Saturday. Add me to the list of fans.
The space is small, but cute in a simple, unadorned way. Before 8 p.m. I would not necessarily want to be seated at any of the outdoor tables, and I don't know what the noise on the front porch might be like - Beverly Blvd. can get pretty busy. We sat inside, and it was very comfortable.
Service is solid and unobtrusive. Refreshingly, when you ask someone other than your waiter for something (e.g. another cocktail, bottle of wine, etc.) they handle it rather that the cop out of "let me get your server for you."
The menu is small, with 5-6 choices for starters, entrees and desserts. The focus is rewarded by uniformly excellent execution. Not a sigle item of ours missed, although your preferences for various flavors and textures will obvously determine how much you like any one thing.
For starters, we tried the Octopus and vanilla infused hearts of palm salad, the Croque Madam (with hamachi), the Summer Salad (really more of a summer vegetables and raviolini) and the Market Salad (more of a true salad). All were exellent in very different ways. The Octopus and the Croque were the most complicated/composed and rich - very nicely balanced with just enough of a flavor twist to intrigue. The summer salad and market saled were more of a showcase for the inherent beaty of their ingredients. Outstanding in a more direct, fresh way.
For entrees, we had the olive poached halibut, the rack of lamb and the hanger steak and short ribs with mashed smoked potatoes. Definiely the halibut is the most subtle, relying on the flavors of the ingredients, with the asparagus and japanese mushrooms in the fore with the fish. The lamb is more "spiced" with a clever crust of fig and mint that delivers proustian moments of mint jelly sauce memories. The hangar steak was inhaled by my greedy brother, so I can't say how good it was, other than by inference. The short ribs were delicious, especially with the very smoky potatoes. But I'd prefer this dish in the winter.
Desserts were very good, imho, too. The german chocolate bomb had nice coconut flavor with the variety of chocolate textures, but the peanut butter and dark chocolate concoction with the salt and caramel ice cream was the best. If you like fresh donuts, the beignets were delicious.
The wine list, like the menu, is well chosen with some interesting and value priced bottles. A 12 year old Chenin Blanc from the Loire for $40 in a restaurant? A $27 Cotes du Rhone that was excellent? The cocktail list was quite interesting too. Three of us seriously overindulged for about $100 each with tax and tip, but a more normal meal would likely run closer to about $70 per person with tax and tip.
Well done Hatfields, well done.
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