The spot that La Jolla’s new seafood restaurant occupies isn’t blessed with the best karma. Prior restaurants (Pasquale and Aquamoree, most recently) remained unseen in the location below Prospect Street near Azul. However, The Hake Kitchen & Bar definitely stands a fighting chance with it’s amazing seafood-based menu and it’s just a matter of time before the word gets out.
About The Brasserie-Style Restaurant
La Jollan Ricardo Dondisch, managing partner of The Hake, has helped open several notable restaurants in Mexico City alongside Chefs Federico Rigoletti and Roberto Craig, who conceptualized and oversee the menu at The Hake. Successful restaurants in Mexico City include Puntarena, Marentino, Primos and Sobrinos, among others. Each embody modern incarnations of classic brasseries and has a distinct feel that caters to its colonia, or neighborhood.
The Hake caters to La Jolla, serving adaptations of brasserie fare that fits the palates of San Diegans who seek fresh seafood, inventive preparations, sharable plates and an environment where they can relax, stop by for lunch, linger with friends over a bottle of wine and just have a good time.”
– Ricardo Dondish.
The one similarity that The Hake Kitchen & Bar has to restaurants in Mexico City is that the kitchen is open late and does not siesta between lunch and dinner so La Jollans can cruise in at any time for a relaxing coffee or meal.
The Hake Kitchen & Bar Menu
On a lovely afternoon, I attended a media preview of La Jolla’s most talked about restaurant. The menu is divided into snacks, tiraditos (lightly-dressed sashimi-style preparations), appetizers (larger, sharable portions than snacks), main courses, sides and desserts. Fresh, high-quality seafood with Mediterranean, Latin American and Asian influences dominates the menu.
My table of ten people raved about each dish as it came out. Though, in this case, everything was so delicious that it’s hard to highlight favorites. I’d have to go with the tuna with jalapeno, micro cilantro, ponzu and sesame oil on the tiradito menu. The seasoning compliments the fish which pretty much melted in my mouth. I’d also highly recommend the roasted octopus. I’m not usually one to order octopus due to its chewy texture but this dish dares to challenge the skeptical. It’s tender with a somewhat crispy, roasted skin. The potatoes with spicy mayo are almost as good as the octopus itself. The entire dish is dusted with smoked paprika.
Those not into seafood can nosh on steak frites, shaved rib eye, Berkshire pork chop and more land-based menu items.
I tasted everything in the photo gallery above and it was all incredible. Most of the menu items are gluten-free to begin with, but ask your server about others on the menu as they can accommodate substitutions without sacrifice. The decor is modern, light and airy with an emphasis on whites and earth tones accompanied by slight splashes of color here and there.
The Hake Kitchen & Bar Happy Hour
As a parent, happy hour is a prime time to dine out and The Hake shouldn’t disappoint. Between 4:00pm – 7:00pm (daily) draft beer, well drinks and house wine are just $5. Signature cocktails are $3 off and bottles of wine are 20% off. Snacks including the mini ahi tostadas (pictured above) are also offered on the cheap.
I appreciated that I could have a healthy, delicious lunch and leave feeling completely satisfied sans that tired, carbohydrated-out feeling. Simply put: the food is outstanding and pricing is in line with similar La Jolla restaurants. Happy hour or not, I can’t wait to go back. I would definitely bring my 6-year-old, too.
Have you been to The Hake Kitchen & Bar yet? What did you order?