Feb 2012

Hungry Cat – Los Angeles (Hollywood)

The Hungry Cat Restaurant - Hollywood

Weekend brunches and seafood shacks are two of my favorite things, so it was only a matter of time before I made my way to Hungry Cat. A collaboration between Maryland native Chef David Lentz and his wife Chef Suzanne Goin, the restaurant is famous for impeccably fresh seafood, served without fuss, just like they do back east.

The concept has been so well received that the restaurant has opened outlets in Santa Barbara and Santa Monica in addition to its original Hollywood location where I dined.

The Hungry Cat Restaurant - Hollywood

With the restaurant located on an uber-touristy stretch in Hollywood, I found it impossible to channel the seaside spirit. Still, the restaurant tried its best to evoke that eastern seaboard ambiance with fresh lobsters and oysters on display over ice and pictures of cats eating the day’s catch.

The Hungry Cat Restaurant - Hollywood

My friend Amy and I shared a selection of oysters to start. With three varieties on deck this afternoon, I decided to go for one of each—Kumiai from Mexico, Chincoteague from Virginia, and Malpeque from Prince Edward Island, Canada.

The oysters were shucked to order and served with lemon wedges, a red wine vinegar, a rice wine vinegar with ginger, and cocktail sauce. Slurping these briny bivalves instantly transported me somewhere beachy.

The Hungry Cat Restaurant - Hollywood

While Amy and I indulged in oysters, Diana and Laurie shared a seasonal salad with roasted persimmons, apples, walnuts, radicchio, and dates in an aged sherry vinaigrette ($12).

The Hungry Cat Restaurant - Hollywood

To supplement their plate of greens, Laurie and Diana also ordered the steamed mussels ($16), which arrived bathing in a Pernod and saffron broth with fennel, kale, and fingerling potatoes. The grilled bread was essential for soaking up the broth once the mussels were long gone.

Laurie was sweet enough to share a mussel with me. While it wasn’t as meaty as the mutants The Astronomer and I ate in Seattle, the flavors were a delight, especially the saffron essence.

The Hungry Cat Restaurant - Hollywood

Nastassia, Amy, and I dropped 25 bucks each to sample Hungry Cat’s famous Maine Lobster Roll. While that might seem like a pretty penny to spend on a sandwich, it’s the going rate from coast to coast.

The Hungry Cat Restaurant - Hollywood

The roll consisted of small chunks of lobster meat lightly dressed in mayonnaise in between a buttered and toasted roll. While each bite was rich and luxurious, there were far too few of them to make us full. A couple more inches of bun and meat would’ve satisfied us just a bit more. Served on the side were limp ass fries that broke our hearts. We ate them anyway to quell our hunger pangs. Wah wah.

The food and mood at Hungry Cat were swell enough, but steep prices and small portions are deal breakers for me. In related news, for the best lobster roll in the world, head to Neptune Oyster in Boston.

The Hungry Cat Restaurant
1535 Vine Street
Los Angeles, CA 90028-7304
Phone: 323-462-2155

There’s more to eat in Hollywood:

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6 thoughts on “Hungry Cat – Los Angeles (Hollywood)

  1. Neptune Oyster has been on my list of places to eat for at least three years now (and counting). I shouldn’t have clicked on the link. Yummy food, but so far away… wah. 🙁

  2. “Limp ass fries.” That’s some serious poetry, my friend. 🙂 I mean that in the best way possible! I was actually a bit hungry after lunch even after the mussels and salad! You think that’s why it’s called the Hungry Cat?

  3. Row – I am heading back to Boston in May. I will eat a lobster roll at Neptune in your honor, my friend.

    Diana – Why yes, I think that is why they call it Hungry Cat. I was totally Hungry Cat(hy) after that meal!

  4. “A couple more inches of bun….” haha classic. every inch counts.

    thanks for the oyster support. i haven’t tried one since my bad experience eons ago so i needed that push.

  5. Cathy, as a born and bred die hard New Englander transplanted to Hawaii I’m sorry to say that is not a true New England Lobster roll. New England lobster rolls are buttered grilled “top-split” New England hot dog buns (Chef Jasper White published the recipe for home-made New England “Top-Split” hot dog rolls in his book “Lobster At Home”). A “hot” lobster roll has the lobster meat in large chunks and whole claw meat quickly sautéed in clarified butter and then stuffed into the buttered grilled both sides “top-split” New England hot dog bun. It is the ratio of toasted bun to fresh sweet lobster meat that really works. Best over stuffed hot lobster roll I’ve ever tasted is at Two Little Fish, 138 Granite Street, Westerly, and RI 02891 Phone: (401) 348-9941 on the Rhode Island/Connecticut boarder and the best cold lobster roll I’ve ever tasted and get every time I return back to New England is at Belle Isle Seafood, 1267 Saratoga Street, East Boston, MA, Telephone: (617) 567-1619 located at the east end of runway 22L of Boston Logan International Airport which most all the top chefs in Boston visit for their seafood fixes. This is an overstuffed monster of fresh lobster meat lightly dressed with no lettuce that provides you with at least two meals unless you are very very hungry and finally you were on the right track trying to order Ipswich Fried Clams at Neptune Oyster – Boston but Yankee Magazine and many gourmet food and travel magazines concur the best fried clams in New England are found at The Clam Box of Ipswich, 246 High St. (RT-1A), Ipswich, MA 01938, Telephone: (978) 356-9707 and yes I drive the 1 hour to North Shore Boston near New Hampshire boarder just to eat these succulent very sweet morsels every time I am back in New England. No fried clam I’ve tasted even comes close and one day I drove the Boston North Shore fried clam highway stopping at each clam shack to sample to try their fried clams!I’ve tried Rhode Island, Cape Cod,Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Maryland fried clams and not even close!

  6. KenW – HOT DAMN! Thank you so much for the New England good eats tips. I cannot wait to try the rolls at Belle Isle when I visit Boston this spring. One day, I will make a trek to Ipswich…

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