Yes, it was a special occasion.
It was our beloved friend Francine's birthday and after discussing the best dining option for her birthday dinner she decided on Hatfield's. Fran and I first fell in love with Hatfield's at their original location, now home to Eva Restaurant. While we do miss the days of the unassuming and cozy atmosphere of their previous home, we still very much enjoy the fabulous food Chef Quinn continuously puts out night after night at their beautiful and not-so-new location.
There were six of that night and we had an early reservation. Newly made parents, F & T, left their adorable baby daughter with F's mom, so early dinner reservations was a must.
I sipped on a cocktail (can't remember which one), while we nibbled on warm sourdough-like bread and bread and waited for the rest of our party to show up. Once they did, the amuse bouche of smoked salmon came out to tease our appetites.
course 1a: chilled poached Maine scallop, toasted bulgur salad, horseradish creme fraiche, muddled citrus
All of us decided to go with the seasonal prix fixe ($59) which comes with four courses you get to pick from the prix fixe menu. Since there were two options for each course, J and I decided to order each item for variety. For the first course, there were two options: poached scallop or crab buckwheat crepe. I really liked the texture of the scallop dish and the fact that it was chilled, but I enjoyed the flavor combination of the crap crepe with pickled beets a bit more. The sweetness of the creamy crab with the pickled beets, my favorite part of the dish, worked well together in balancing out the flavors.
In addition to the prix fixe courses, we added on two courses that we couldn't ignore. First off, we knew couldn't dine at Hatfield's without ordering Quinn's signature dish, the croque madame. Unfortunately, the usually fantastic croque madame wasn't as great as our previous experiences. The bottom brioche on mine was a bit burnt and tough to eat. Other than that, the flavors were still wonderful and delicious. The other dish we couldn't pass up on was the foie gras. The tartness of the grapes did a lovely job of cutting the fattiness of the liver, while the mushrooms and lentils provided a heartiness to the dish.
course 2a: charred octopus, caramelized fennel, saffron vanilla braised hearts of palm, red wine olive puree
By the time our second course came out, I was already getting full. But still determined to eat everything, I dove into my octopus dish. The octopus was beautifully cooked and the smokiness from the char with the sweetness of the caramelized fennel provided a very balanced dish. The slight sour and tart flavor to the olive puree added a brightness as well. J's cod was also fork tender and delicious. I thought the curry flavor overwhelmed the fish slightly, but I really enjoyed the eggplant puree with it.
course 3a: pan roasted duck breast, caramelized endive and cherries, pistachio pistou, celery root puree
course 3b: slow cooked beef short rib, blue lake beans, braised radish, horseradish potato puree
Moving on, I chose the duck breast for my third course while J chose the short rib. The duck was perfectly cooked and the tart cherries which were a nice complement to fatty duck. I had a few bites of J's short rib and I have to admit, while the duck was delicious, the short rib was superb. It was not only super tender, but had a lot of flavor. The key component that had me hooked was the silky horseradish potato puree. It had a subtle kick and perfect with the short ribs.
course 4f: caramelized goat's milk cheesecake, hazelnut shortbread, citrus compote, grapefruit Lillet sorbet
Since there were a total of six of us, we each gor a different dessert and shared. The beignets were good, but passable. I really enjoyed the chocolate semifreddo with the salted peanut crunch and the chocolate "nutella" ganache cake. Being a lover of chocolate and peanut butter, this was a no brainer. Another favorite of mine was the goat's milk cheesecake with the citrus compote and grapefruit Lillet sorbet. While I love sweets, I also love citrus. The grapefruit sorbet with the citrus compote was a refreshing way to end the meal.
Our meal game to an end with a petit four of some kind of berry gelee. I don't know what it was because frankly, by this point, I was in a coma.
I haven't been back to Hatfield's since their soft opening last year which was around the same time. Yes, it's been a year since my last visit and the only thing that seemed to have changed is their volume of customers. Since I went on their soft opening night, the restaurant wasn't as full and lively. But on this particular night, there were many couples and parties celebrating an early Valentine's Day dinner. You could tell which ones they were by the color of attire.. red dress, anyone? Regardless of the crowd size, there weren't any hiccups with service or the food. They have been at this location for a year so everything is pretty much nailed down. Service was attentive and friendly while the food was delicious as usual. The food being on point is expected as you can clearly see Quinn putting his hands on every dish in the kitchen through the large windows.
Hatfield's is a restaurant you would go for a special occassion, but wouldn't be limited to just that. While it is not as cozy as their previous space, the wife and husband duo did a great job of transcending the friendly and unpretentious atmosphere into a classy and elegant space. I wouldn't feel initimated to drop by for a drink or quick lunch, a key compoment to its success. Great meal with great company. Happy Birthday, Fran! <3
6703 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
6703 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038