For people who crave seafood as much as our feline friends, Hungry Cat in Hollywood satisfies deeply with generous portions of East Coast classics, in season ingredients and bold flavors.
Clams, oyster stew, steamed Alaskan king crab and lobster roll are perfectly cooked and presented. Chef interpretations of swordfish, branzino and arctic char extend the menu beyond typical seafood shack. The atmosphere is comfortable and unpretentious–inside booths next to an open kitchen with catch of the day on ice and a counter with fresh flowers. Outside seating is tucked into a courtyard with hedges, umbrellas and space heaters.
Open since 2005, Chef/owner David Lentz cooks nightly at Hungry Cat. He and wife Chef Suzanne Goin opened a second location in Santa Barbara in 2007. His wife owns three of Los Angeles’ most popular restaurants–Lucques, A.O.C. and Tavern with partner Caroline Styne. They also have 3 children and a cat.
What are your favorite ingredients?
What’s in season, squash at the moment. We start with produce and choose protein from there.
We visit the Santa Monica farmers market every Wednesday or the one here on Sundays. On our last vacation on Kauai we found baby ginger. It’s less astringent and I was able to source it here also.
What are the next food trends?
Gravitating to farmers markets is a good thing, but it’s more expensive. Most don’t deliver so you have to pay labor and gas to get there.
What kitchen tool do you value most?
A sharp knife
Do you watch food TV?
My guilty pleasure is Top Chef. I don’t know any of the current ones (Season 6) but have met several from past seasons.
Is your seafood sustainable?
We’re working really hard to be sustainable. I trust my fish purveyor and look at the Monterey Bay Aquarium website for guidance. I’ve made it my focus this year. I found a sustainably farm-raised shrimp from Belize. We use barramundi–also farm raised. I get fish from Hawaii. We do not serve skate or monkfish. It gets harder every year.
Which dishes always sell?
Peel and eat shrimp, chorizo and clams are always on the menu, but appetizers and entrees change often, every month at least.
When you travel where do you like to go?
We love traveling to Asia. Singapore has a chili crab we’ve done a version of here. Malaysian food is good.
One great trip we did was to Pantelleria, an Italian island off Sicily where all the capers are grown. They had amazing sea urchin pasta.
What are your hobbies?
We mostly take care of the kids, but I ride a bike and we like the outdoors.
How do you develop new menu items?
Travel, talk to other chefs, visit the farmers market.
Do you have any plans for the future?
We’re planning a bar in downtown LA. There will be some food but cocktails will be the focus. Our cocktails are treated like food–juices squeezed to order.
house cured ocean trout, horseradish, beets,
hazelnuts and toast = $14
oyster stew, croutons, fried herbs and paprika oil = $14
steamed Alaskan king crab leg, grain mustard butter and toast = $21
pan roasted arctic char, kabocha squash puree, roasted apples, brussel sprouts and sage brown butter = $25
persimmon pudding, candied walnuts & spiced crème fraiche = $6
root beer float
boomsma gin, lemon, cream, egg white w/a float of margo’s bark root beer = $11
1535 North Vine (Sunset & Vine)
323. 462. 2155
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