Restaurant: Hatchet Hall [1, 2]
Location: 12517 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066. (310) 391-4222
Date: October 3, 2017
Cuisine: New American
Rating: Interesting flavors and presentation
Hatchet Hall took over the “old” Waterloo & City space in Culver City over a year ago. I’ve been before but with a small family group — this time I went with some of my more hardcore wine friends.
The logo hangs over the street in cryptic glory.
Inside they have this whacky new game and “period” decor. If you can see in the back there is an “old south” private room.
They have a great patio too and even a bar like space in the back (not pictured).
Bonus from me: NV Demière-Ansiot Champagne Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs. BH 93. A beautifully yeasty nose reflects notes of apple, pear, white flowers and a hint of citrus peel. The vibrant middle weight flavors possess a positively gorgeous texture, indeed the mid-palate is almost creamy, while offering excellent depth and length on the dry but not austere finale. For my taste this is drinking perfectly now and I very much like both the style and the quality.
Fennel, pear, endive, bleu cheese, pecan, parsley. A variant on that typical “white” waldorfy blue cheese salad.
Watercress, anchovy dressing, fried shallots, parmesan. I liked this one a bit better, it was bright and mildly bitter.
Corn bread, cheddar, shishito, cultured butter, honey sea salt. Dish of the Night, this unctuous corn bread had a bit of a green kick from the shishito pepper.
Amanda brought: 2004 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc De L’Orée. VM 94. Light yellow. A huge, room-filling bouquet includes suggestions of peach, apricot, mango, floral honey, marzipan and dried flowers. Deep in sweet orchard, pit and exotic fruit flavors, with a lush, creamy texture and a late note of tangy minerals. For a wine with such flavor impact and volume this is really elegant. The finish is powerful and sweet, with outstanding persistence.
Octopus, runner beans, treviso, lemon aioli, salsa verde. Decent octopus, except for all that bean — not a bean fan.
Scallops, figs, almonds, brown butter, date vinegar, thyme. This dish continues a trend of light colored soft stuff underneath everything. If you keep looking for it, you’ll see it repeat. There was very much a sweet and savory / soft and crunchy thing going on here. Very much another theme in the Hatchet Hall repertoire.
Erick brought: 1990 Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Rouge. JG 92+. The 1990 Clos des Mouches red is still quite young, but it is beginning to blossom a bit and show much of the character that will make it a superb example of this wine when it is fully mature. The bouquet is a bit wild and brambly at the moment, with scents of baked plums, black cherries, venison, vinesmoke, bitter chocolate, herb tones, earth and a framing of toasty oak. On the palate the wine is quite full-bodied for a Beaune, with excellent focus and balance, a thick core of fruit, and fine length and grip on the moderately tannic finish. This wine has been quite closed for the last few years, but is now beginning to emerge from its period of hibernation. It could prove to be a reference point vintage for the Clos des Mouches, depending on how much of its youthful purity returns to the fold.
Chicken livers, onion jam, grilled bread, pickles, apple vinegar. Pretty good, but very chicken livery.
Chop steak, fried oysters, mustard frill, horseradish. This is a “classic” of the house, but I’m not sure I loved it. A little dry, and the fried oysters were a weird match.
From my cellar: 1990 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape. JG 92+. The 1990 Château Beaucastel is a lovely wine and is just about ready for primetime drinking, but will continue to improve over the coming five or six years and then cruise along for decades from that point forward. The bouquet offers up a fine blend of dried raspberries and red currants, roasted game, incipient autumnal tones (fallen leaves) and a potpourri of spice tones in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and a touch leathery in personality, with a good core, melting tannins and fine length and grip on the complex finish. Having had the good fortune to drink several older vintages of Beaucastel at peak maturity, my gut instinct with the 1990 would be to let it rest in the cellar for just a few more years and allow the last layer of aromatic complexity to emerge here, though it must be said that the wine is really lovely on the palate right now.
agavin: this bottle was a little on the bretty side
Collard greens, pork broth, pepper vinegar, chicken cracklin. Collard greens.
Charred turnips, apple, greens, bacon vinaigrette, pecan. The bacon vinaigrette was great.
Carrots, labneh, honey benne seed, cilantro. Nice carrots too — note the soft white stuff (labneh) underneath!
Beef fat potatoes, roasted garlic aioli, salsa verde. Solid taters.
Yarom brought: 1993 Abreu Cabernet Sauvignon Madrona Ranch. 89 points. This was a sub-par bottle, unfortunately. Slightly disappointing. Less complex, not too much fruit.
Dave brought: 1991 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate. VM 97. What a thrill it is to drink Montelena’s 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that takes hold of all the sense and never lets up. Imposing and intense, the 1991 is simply riveting. The flavors are dark, intense and savory, but it is the wine’s silkiness that stands out above all else. Well-stored bottles will continue to drink beautifully for another decade-plus.
Amanda brought: 1997 Pride Mountain Vineyards Reserve Claret. VM 91+. Full dark ruby. Sappy, bright aromas of blackberry, cassis and violet. Powerfully structured, dense and tightly wrapped. The new oak component contributes to the wine’s impressive tannic clout. Still, this wine’s superb intensity and persistence suggests that the fruit will remain when the tannins begin to soften.
Lamb chops, bagna cauda, anchovy. These were great. Lots of good garlic yum.
The Chris Ringlands return after having spent a WEEK in Yarom’s fridge. Amazingly, they were still in decent shape, particularly the 2001 which was both good and while not as balanced as the previous week, still had tons of fruit! A monster!
Emil brought: 2011 Bryant Family Vineyard Bettina. VM 92+. The 2011 Bettina is a bit closed in on itself. Dark red cherry, plum, licorice, smoke and tobacco emerge over time. Today the 2011 is a bit compact, which is not surprising considering the vintage. With time in the glass, the 2011 starts to find its typical explosive, dark personality, but today some slightly angular contours remain. The blend is 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.
Mushroom crusted pork chop, smoked lard, thyme. I didn’t like the pork at all. Very “piggy” and soft and flaccid. Some others at the table liked it though.
Chicken schnitzel, smoked bacon, mountain tomato gravy, thyme. Awesome dish. Like chicken parm without the parm. The red tomato sauce was great.
Hummingbird cake. Pecan praline, figs in bourbon syrup, creme fraiche whip. Hmmm.
Warm apple crisp. Brown butter oat crumble, salted caramel, vanilla bean ice cream. This was my favorite. An excellent crumble.
Bittersweet chocolate pudding, cocoa nib crunch, cardamon coffee glace.
Overall, Hatchet Hall had some really great flavors going on. The plating and presentation were solid, and the melding of North African/Middle Eastern flavors into the modern American was quite on point. Lots of flavor and interesting. Also fascinating how the Middle Eastern thing is downplayed in everything but the actual flavors.
Service was good tonight. They were quite nice.
Our wines were mostly quite good although we could have used a white or two (that wasn’t flawed).
Because this was across the street the professional gelatician in me just had to try it out.
Various flavors, similar kind of selection to what I do.
Peanut butter and jelly and key lime pie.
Billionaire brownie and brown sugar bourbon.
The ice cream had good flavor but was way too cold and crumbly. (good) Gelato is always better!