Feb 10, 2014

Quick Review for My dineLA Restaurant Week Jan 20-31 2014 Experience - The Hungry Cat Hollywood

2014 dineLA event falls between January 20th to January 31st. Restaurants will create prix fixe menu specifically for this event, usually ranging from two to three courses at an attractive price. The goals are to draw in more customers for local communities, generate awareness, and hopefully get people to venture to new dishes and new places. This time, I'm trying out The Hungry Cat - Hollywood branch.

My last dineLA experience was a dinner at Chef Tom Colicchio's steak house Craft almost three and a half years ago. Man..I seriously have to get my butt out of this Orange County bubble more often, can't believe how much delicious food I have been missing all these years. 

The Hungry Cat is located in the courtyard of the sunset and vine building. Valet parking is not available. However, there is a public parking structure on the street right behind the restaurant. You can click on the map on the very bottom of this post, where I have marked the parking location with a green dot. 

Outdoor seating was very spacious but might be too cold at night, especially in January (and yes I'm complaining about the unbearable cold weather in southern California). 

Indoor-wise, there are quite a few bar seats on both left and right sides. Few tables in the middle and along the French windows.

It's a seafood based restaurant, hence the name Hungry Cat. You'll also find many cat related decorative items throughout the place.

Sign for ladies' restroom -

Sign for gentleman's restroom - 

Pardon the grainy pictures. They were all taken with iPhone 5 and the lighting was not too helpful at the restaurant. 

Past event poster - 

Look closer and you'll see some cat related souvenirs from Greece, Japan, and other countries on the shelf -

Regular menu, click to enlarge the view - 

A la carte raw bar menu -

Wine menu -

Other drinks -

Restaurant week menu (dinner) -

Some oyster crackers to munch on -

Front: greyhound proper, made with Plymouth gin, grapefruit, candied grapefruit $13. Back: Anchor Brewing Co. California lager $6 -

Here it comes our seafood platter. Not included in the dineLA menu but this is a must when dining at The Hungry Cat -

This was 1 tier platter $47.5 -

There are also 2 tier for $87.5 and "the hungry cat" luscious tiers for $147.5.

The caviar is not included in the seafood platter. The one we have here is 1/2 ounce hackleback for $27 -

Caviar is one of the common fancy ingredients used as a garnish or to boost a slight umami savory taste for other dishes. However, when caviar is savored on its own in larger amount, the taste is similar to ikura (those Japanese orange colored fish roe) but in a much more concentrated and intense way.

And our caviar comes with blintz, or blini, basically a yeast crepe to be consumed with small spoonful of caviar and other condiments -

Sour cream, chives, cooked egg white, cooked egg yolk, and shallots -

Truly an indulgence. The hackleback caviar is slightly sweet and has a nutty aroma in the end. The blini even just by itself are quite flavorful also.

Sauce for the platter - 

All the shellfish that night were very fresh, crisp, and sweet, especially for the large cherrystone clams and oysters. 

It's nice when you have a jar of caviar around..

Small lobster -

I personally prefer their raw items more than the cooked ones such as this lobster and the crab legs. There is no substitution for the items come with the platter. If you would like to try everything then the seafood platter is definitely the way to go. Otherwise it might be wiser to just order from the raw bar. 

On the side note, it can get pretty messy when trying to dig through the cooked seafood. You can tell that I don't have any pictures holding up crab legs or lobsters, both hands were busy working on those shells. As for the oysters and cherrystone clams, they just slide right down the throat quite easily, and I do have many pictures of them, one hand holding up the food, the other stays clean and still able to take pictures.

Restaurant week menu first course: flash seared albacore tuna, beet puree, fried chickpeas, mint, cerignola olives and almonds -

Despite the western ingredients mentioned on the menu, the flavors and seasonings were actually quite Asian-like. Love the crunch from the almonds.

Restaurant week second course: braised mussels, pork belly, green curry, coconut milk, apple, scallion, cilantro -

Iwasn't expecting this plate full of mussels. I mean it's a good surprise, but based on the description, I thought it meant a big chunk of pork belly that comes with just a few mussels on the side.

Instead it was numerous mussels with pork belly strips throughout. I'm not complaining though. 

The sauce was aromatic and not too salty, especially the restaurants I've been to recently tend to overdose on salt when it comes to mussels. This dish could be better if there were some bread or even rice that goes along with the sauce.

Special menu: lobster roll and fries -

I'm more into the lobster roll from Son of a Gun. However, Mr. K thinks The Hungry Cat version is better because the Son of a Gun lobster roll was too buttery and way too salty. I never have a problem with buttery dishes, but I do agree with him on the overly salty food from Son of a Gun. 

Restaurant week menu dessert: Meyer lemon parfait, whipped cream, sugar cookie -

The dessert was quite a disappointment. It was overly sweet (and I can take very sweet treats) that I couldn't even finish half of the parfait. The other half was gone thanks to the help of whipped cream and sugar cookie. 

Final bill -

You can always count on The Hungry Cat for top notch, fresh-off-the-ocean quality seafood. I wouldn't mind coming back with a few friends sharing a seafood platter and maybe a few entrée. Most likely no more dessert from here though. Hopefully next time I'll get to order "the hungry cat" platter and see how grand it is with my own eyes!

Cindy's Rating: 7

The Hungry Cat (Hollywood Branch)
1535 North Vine Street
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 462-2155

Restaurant website: http://thehungrycat.com/hollywood.html
dineLA website: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/dinela-los-angeles-restaurant-week

*Courtesy of Google Maps (click to enlarge to view)

Red A balloon - The Hungry Cat
Green dot - Public parking structure, enter on Morningside Ct.

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