Chefs Quinn and Karen Hatfield can do no wrong in my book. Their restaurant Hatfield’s in Hollywood is one of the loveliest spots in town, serving desserts that dazzle and a Croque Madame worthy of being my deathbed meal.
The two Hatfields debuted The Sycamore Kitchen, a fast-casual bakery and sandwich concept, last summer, and I’ve been eager to check it out ever since.
The Astronomer and I made our way to The Sycamore Kitchen late one Saturday afternoon. The daily special, a Vietnamese steak salad, was unfortunately sold out at this hour, as were the famous Salted Caramel Pecan Babka Rolls, but most everything else was still available.
We placed our order at the counter, grabbed a seat nearby, and awaited our spread.
I couldn’t help but adore the open-faced sandwich slathered with house-made ricotta and prettied with stewed citrus, fennel, mint, and hazelnuts ($9). The thin and toasty base balanced the toppings perfectly, providing a sturdy surface without detracting from the luscious cheese and fruits. I’d certainly order this one again.
The Chinoix Salad ($12) was well-portioned with plenty of moist, shredded chicken and a bevy of cabbage and greenery. Adding tang, spice, and crunch to the mix were apple slices, almonds, puffed rice, and a muddled ginger vinaigrette.
While each individual ingredient was quite nice, their cohesive flavors were too understated for The Astronomer and my tastes. Our favorite Chinese chicken salad remains the one served in the buffet lines at Souplantation, though it’s most likely less virtuous.
For dessert, we shared a flourless lemon cake topped with a dainty sprig of thyme. The curd filling was superbly well-balanced, while the cake had a pleasant heft to it.
I also couldn’t resist snagging a Berries & Cream Cookie ($2) on the way out since all of the baked goods were marked half off 30 minutes prior to closing. The white chocolate sweetened, while the berries provided tartness—it was an excellent cookie.
The folks living and working around this stretch of La Brea are damn lucky to have The Sycamore Kitchen around. The space is chill and sleek, while the food hits the mark. I’ll be back soon enough for a taste of the elusive Salted Caramel Pecan Babka Roll, or maybe I should save myself a trip and attempt to make them at home. We’ll see!
The Sycamore Kitchen
143 S La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
One year ago: Twohey’s Restaurant – Alhambra
Two years ago: Full of Life Flatbread – Los Alamos
Three years ago: Petrossian – Los Angeles (West Hollywood)
Four years ago: Sprinkles Cupcakes – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)
Five years ago: Au Parc – Ho Chi Minh City
Six years ago: Ferry Building Marketplace – San Francisco