Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hatchi 8 Series with Walter Manzke

As usual, I completely forgot to book a reservation for Chef Walter Manzke's Hatchi series at Breadbar, which filled up insanely quick.  But luckily, Fiona of Gourmet Pigs had room for me in her reseravation - SCORE! Thanks, Fiona! Joining us for dinner was Kevin of KevinEats and Mike of Right Way to Eat!, but there were so many other bloggers there that night I felt like the whole place was a private event just for bloggers and writers. By the time we sat down at our table, the entire place was packed with people. However, great turnout doesn't always equal to great dining experience. I knew the service was going to be spotty going into dinner, as service is always poor to mediocre for dinner at Breadbar. Our service wasn't as horrible as what others experienced, so with that I feel a little lucky.

We ordered one of everything off the menu, which took us on a culinary trip "around the world." The menu showcaseed eight dishes from eight different countries.

amuse bouche: shrimp cocktail

To start, we were given Chef Walter Manzke's version of a "shrimp cocktail." The shrimp was slightly sweet and perfectly cooked. The "cocktail" was quite perplexing to me. It was tart, but I couldn't figure out what was in it. I still have no clue! Quite mind-boggling, really. Anybody have any idea?

bread & foie gras butter

Hands down, the best butter I have ever had. The butter had a hint of sweetness and finished off with the lovely flavor of the foie gras. Absolutely divine.

Untamed Cherries, freshly squeezed lemon juice, cherries, yellow chili peppers, Crusoe organic rum, served on a  giant Neve rocks ice cube

I read lemon juice, cherries and rum and I knew I had to get this. In the midst of my excitement, it seems I foolishly overlooked the yellow chili peppers. I expected a sweet drink with a hint of acid. But, imagine my surprise after I took a long sip to find my cocktail to be spicy! It was a nice heat, however I don't generally care for spicy drinks.

Evan's Julep, mango, Evan Williams bourbon

Kevin ordered the julep which was, in my opinion, really strong. You can taste the hint of mint, but the overall flavor was almost medicinal.

yellowtail ceviche, jalapeno, tomatillo sorbet

Our first course, which was inspired by Mexico, was the yellowtail ceviche servedwith tomatillo sorbet and avocado mousse. The oiliness of the yellowtail went really well with the saltiness from the avocado mouse and all the citrus notes in the dish. I thought the tomatillo sorbet was refreshing and delicious.

white corn curry soup, mussels, coconut tapioca

With our next dish of the curry soup with mussels, we were visiting Thailand. Immediately, the aroma of the curry and mussels filled my nose and my stomach growled, yearning for that bowl of soup. The mussesls were nicely cooked and I loved the added texture from the tapioca and the nuts. The soup had nice Thai flavors, definitely milder than what I've had, but still quite delicious.

"banh mi" pig's feet sliders

You can tell which country this dish is from just by the name. The Vietnamese sandiwch, "banh mi," has been quite the rave lately. I've always loved this sandwich, so I was excited to see how Chef Walter's version would hold up against the rest. These little sliders were fantastic and full of well-rounded flavor. I adored the richness from the pig's feet and the coolness of the pickled vegetables. I especially enjoyed the slight heat I got from the the Siracha like "ketchup."

English pea ravioli, soft egg, parmesan

We stop over Italy with the chef's English pea ravioli dish. I love soft egg in almost anything, so that alone was a winner for me. The texture of the ravioli was quite nice, while the flavor seemed to have an extra peppery kick. I also love cheese, so I thought there could have been more parmesan. It would have been nice to taste more salt and tart from the cheese to offset the egg.

Hidden Secret, freshly squeezed lemon juice, grape tomatoes, maraschino cordial, true organic Gin, served on Neve Collins cube

Kevin ordered another cocktail, the Hidden Secret, which was easily everyone's favorite of the night (Am I right?). With first sip, I knew I should've ordered this instead of the Untamed Cherries. This cocktail had everything I was looking for! It wasn't too sweet and very smooth to drink with hints of floral notes. Delicious!

tarte flambe, caramelized onion, bacon, gruyere

Next, we visit France with Chef's Walter's signature dish, the tarte flambe. Last time I had this dish was at the Angeleno Magazine and Taste of the Nation's Tasting Event at Snyder Diamond and it was only a bite then. Luckily for me, this time around I had the whole dish to myself. The saltiness from the cheese and bacon was fantatistic, but this time around the onions were a bit on the sweeter side. Still, a great dish.

Santa Barbara spot prawn, garlic, sherry

Our last savory course of the night is a dish that we should have gotten between the mussels dish and the sliders, but in true Breadbar fashion, the less than mediocre service led to our out-of-order meal. My spot prawns were a bit undercooked, but I'd eat these under rather than over. I absolutely love the heads on prawns and shrimps, so I thought the accompaniments in the heads were unnecessary. I would've much prefered the natural head juices still in tact, ready for me to suck.

leche flan, pandan, coconut ice cream

Our first dessert course was a leche flan with pandan and coconut ice cream. Our visit to Philippines was a pleasant one as I enjoyed the nuttiness and tartness from this dish.

chocolate fondant, bing cherries, black sesame ice cream, green tea

Our final destination of the night was Japan. I realy love black sesame ice cream so I tend to order it every time I see it on the menu. But, sadly in this dish, the cherries stood out more than one of my favorite flavors of ice cream. The tartness of the cherries was a nice change to the sweetness and softness of the chocolate fondant. The green tea shot also left me a bit uninspired. Since I am a huge fan of Japanese cuisine, I was hoping more of an inventive or imaginative dish from the chef.  

Aside from the already mentioned spotty service, I thought overall, the meal was great. There were a couple of misses, but generally really enjoyed the food and company. It's always nice eating dinner with fellow "foodies" and bloggers, especially since I'm fairly new to the food scene. Great food and great conversations are my two top drugs.

Hatchi 8 Series @ Breadbar
10250 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310 277 3770


kevinEats said...

Are you planning on attending any more upcoming Hatchis?

bagnatic said...

you're everywhere girrrrrlll. i love that you drink :)

nelehelen said...

kevin - i probably won't be going to anymore until after my trip from Japan. Will you be at the CWK one?

amy - Where are youuuu girl? We gotta do dinner AND drinks!

kevinEats said...

I was actually planning to go to that one, but it turns out that I'll be out of town on business that day. :(

Michel said...

Hello Helen,
Glad you enjoyed the Hidden Secret, it was definitely the more daring of the three.

Thanks so much for coming out and supporting Walter and I.
Hope to see you soon.

Michel Dozois

nelehelen said...

Michel - I had a great time and a wonderful meal! Please update me on ANY of your upcoming events! I'll be there with bells on. haha :)

bagnatic said...

hehe helen. as long as you can fit me in your sched. yous busy, i can tell!

sinosoul.com said...

So they didn't interject 20min+ wait between courses, they didn't futz your order, they didn't skip items and they didn't serve the dessert before the tarte flambe? lucky gal. 3 hatchi's & I'm done for. Fun concept, but there's a reason why these pop-up's aren't full-time restaurants.

nelehelen said...

tony - i agree, the dinner service is spotty and sometimes, downright horrible. But, for this hatchi, it wasn't AS bad as I've previously experienced. Oh well, move on and move forward. Let's hope it'll eventually get better. :)

Yonatan said...

Great foodie post!

It actually made me hungry hahahha :-)
keep up the good work writing more about great food

Yonatan Weic

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