I lived in the Hollywood area for 9 years, but somehow never made it to The Hungry Cat. Being a seafood lover, I was holding out for a special occasion, putting it on a pedestal, even when it was the only true seafood spot in town. (BP Oysterette, Connie And Ted's, and Son of a Gun weren't born yet.)
Fast forward to living in OC with lots of trips to Malibu, and the gray Hungry Cat perched on PCH beckoned my name each time I drove by.
Last weekend, I finally made it. (I'm sure, the 7 mile, 4 hour hike from zero to 1750ft up Nicholas Trail had something to do with it.)
I'd read online that the brunch here was loud, overcrowded, and overwhelming. So the hand model & I planned for dinner on a whim. We got lucky on a Saturday night with a small table for two that had just canceled, and only waited 5 minutes.
The interior, recently redone by Jeffrey Alan Marks on Bravo TV's Million Dollar Decorators, boasts masculine gray tones with cheeky posters like "Shuck Me, Suck Me, Eat Me Raw".
Chef/Owner David Lentz serves up sustainable seafood with a Maryland-inspired menu that changes seasonally.
- stringy texture, genius pickled 'n spicy Jicama to balance the fried dough and meaty crab, Tempura Squash Blossoms stuffed with Crab, Peppercress & Jicama Aji Amarillo $14
- sweet, smokey 'n tender with heavenly Mushrooms that almost made me turn vegetarian, Prosciutto wrapped Trout, Sun Choke Puree, halved Fingerling Potatoes, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Spigarello & Salsa Rustica $27
- not as bountiful as King Crab, but Mustard Aioli is simply fresh 'n homemade, Alaskan Snow Crab Legs 1/2 lb $25
After 9 years of waiting, I had some mixed feelings.
The staff was friendly, accommodating, and gave great suggestions.
The dishes were inventive, but very rich. And the menu was small and expensive. (After the big hike, the hand model and I were really craving some Linguini & Clams, but sadly no pasta was to be found on the menu or specials.)
Since it's limited, I'd suggest going with a group of friends to try additional bites like the Lamb 'n Clams, Big Eye Tuna Crudo, and Lobster Roll.
100 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402. 310-459-3337
P.S. After dinner, carry on the nautical theme with a Dark N Stormy at the Shorebar next door.