Restaurant: The Hungry Cat
Location: 100 w. channel road. santa monica, ca 90402. (310) 459-3337
Date: September 11 & 25, 2011 & January 1, 2012
Rating: Can never get enough seafood
I’ve been trying for months to find a convenient time to go to the new opening in our neighborhood, the Westside branch of The Hungry Cat. This particular spot, on the corner of PCH and Channel Road is a bit cursed. Years ago it was the Beach House, which got destroyed in the middle of the night by a crazy driver (who literally crashed into the dining room). Then it was the Brass Cap, a lousy and ill-fated brasserie. After 3-4 years empty it’s now reopened as The Hungry Cat. This is a very raw bar and seafood oriented joint.
I started with a “Dark and Stormy,” the classic Bermuda cocktail. Excellent.
The interior doesn’t look too different than it did in it’s previous incarnations, but it was always a pretty looking place.
Oyster crackers substitute for bread. I’ve always had a weak spot for these puppies, shades of my Eastern Shore of Maryland upbringing. The menu can be found here.
The cat has one of those reasonable corkage policies where they waive the corkage for each bottle you buy off the list. This almost always makes me buy a bottle.
“hawaiian albacore / cherry tomato / cucumber / opal basil / tomato water.” Lots of bright vinegar/citrus flavor hear. Plenty tasty.
“marinated hamachi / stone fruit / shisho / togarashi / lime.” Another nice sashimi dish, although none-too-much fish.
A special. Raw scallop, uni (sea urchin), various salad bits. The combo is great. The scallops tasty. The sea urchin was a little “fishy.” Maybe it’s the Sunday factor, I don’t know. Overall I enjoyed it, but slightly better Uni would have sold it.
“heirloom tomato / watermelon / red onion / persian mint / french feta.”
“heirloom tomato / opal basil / red onion / arugula / burrata / red wine vinaigrette.”
This is the two tier “medium” seafood tower. It was certainly good, although not quite as tasty as the Mastro’s one, but more reasonable also.
On top are shrimp (two types), a bit of trout caviar, Alaskan crab legs, and a half lobster.
Beneath are oysters, muscles, and two types of clams (littleneck and cherrystone).
A seperate order of peel and eat shrimp (already peeled). These are good meaty steamed shrimp.
Off the kids menu. Basic pasta with parmesan.
Fish and chips, also from the kids menu.
A softshell crab in a sort of thai chilli sauce. According to its killer, delicious.
Another special, lobster roll with fries. This was SOLID. As good as a lobster roll gets — and I’ve had plenty. On par with this one I had back east last year.
A seared scallop special. Really quite good.
The dessert menu. But we were too full.
We didn’t try too many things. And I seriously have to come back with some crustacean lovers and get a huge raw bar tower, but I enjoyed this little feline foray. So I’ll return soon enough.