Culver City: That Chicken Liver at Hatchet Hall + Old Man Bar
Hatchet Hall in Culver City is now open. When chefs Brian Dunsmoor and Kris Tominaga left The Hart and The Hunter, I was rather devastated. I loved their cooking. I was happy when Kris popped up at Cadet but where was Brian? Soon there was word he was taking over the old Waterloo and City space and all was well… except the anticipation was killing me.
I finally made it out to check out the space and food. And cocktails, of course. I started with the Strawberry Daiquiri. Don’t let the name fool you, this stunner from bar manager Cappy Sorentino has a couple of different aspects. First you get the punch of two rums as well as the smoked strawberry. I like drinks that also use interesting vermouths and liqueurs. The Strawberry Daiquiri has Byrrh which gives it an elegant bitterness.
Strawberry Daiquiri – Mount Gay Rum Black Barrel, Rhum JM Gold, smoked strawberry, Byrrh
My dining partner and I tried a few plates. Summer is my favorite season with all the wonderful produce. We couldn’t pass up the sliced tomatoes with pigeon peas. It’s simply finished with aged cheddar and herbs. This could be a complete meal in itself.
The other drink I debated starting with was the Coconut Mojito so I knew I should get that for my second drink. Like the daiquiri, it’s not as simple as you think. Also made with two different rums, it goes to the next level with the overproof Wray and Nephew rum. But it’s tamed with mint and citrus. Plus tiki bitters. I’d call this a neo-tiki drink then. I’m glad it wasn’t too sweet. Very refreshing and went well with food.
Coconut Mojito – Angostura white rum, Wray and Nephew rum, mint, coconut, lime, tiki bitters
I almost have given up ordering chicken liver since it’s everywhere but somehow we threw this into the mix and I’m so glad we did. It turned out to be my favorite dish with hearty chunks of chicken liver on wonderful toast. I’m getting this again. And again.
Much has been said about Hatchet Hall’s Root Beer Gin and Tonic. It is very interesting with house made tonic water that’s been infused with root beer spices. Try it for a fun spin on a gin and tonic. While not as glam as the Spanish gin and tonics (gin y tonicas), I like this American version– which is made with the American gin Aviation.
Root Beer Gin and Tonic – Aviation gin, housemade tonic water with root beer spices
The grilled squid from Santa Barbara was simply prepared which is how I like my seafood. No need for thick cream sauces when the squid is so fresh, all you need is just a little salt to bring out the flavors. There is lemon aioli and salsa verde which complements the dish. I also enjoyed the beans in the dish.
I have my vegetable weaknesses including okra. My friend initially suggested carrots which I hate so okra it is! These were grilled with a bit of Calabrian chile which gave it a tiny bit of a kick. I thought the pickled garlic was so interesting.
In lieu of dessert, I had another drink. Cappy sent out the New Eastside which is a take on the neo-classic Eastside (which was a take on the Southside, gin and mint and adding cucumber). At Hatchet Hall, they go one step further and added a cucumber elderflower foam. It smelled so good and it is quite delicate and lovely.
New Eastside – Martin Miller’s gin, lime, cucumber elderflower foam
After dinner we headed into the side bar called Old Man Bar. It’s boozier here. I absolutely had to order their homage to The Corner Door’s Beau du Bois. The drink is a take on his Taco Truck and it’s absolutely delicious. I’m a big fan of brown, bitter, stirred cocktails and this is the one to get. Of course, it’s not actually “brown” whiskey but tequila but you get the gist.
Beau du Bois – Tequila Ocho blanco, cinnamon and hibiscus-infused Gran Classico, Alessio Vermouth di Torino Rosso, Argentine blend of Fernets, lime, coca cola reduction, barrel aged bitters
I’m looking forward to spending more nights in the Old Man Bar and eating the delicious food at Hatchet Hall.(310) 391-4222 © The Minty 2015