The Hart and the Hunter
"We often despise what is most useful to us" is the moral that comes from Aesop's fable, The Hart and the Hunter. Although I didn't exactly know what this has to do with a fantastic restaurant and coffee shop located inside the Pali Hotel, I had to call and ask. Apparently, chefs Kris Tominaga and Brian Dunsmoor loved the fable's message in that we must appreciate what is ours and not covet that which we don't have, so they went ahead and named their restaurant after it. Yet, in this whimsical southern country kitchen it is hard not to appreciate what you have. Every single detail is delightfully quirky and well thought out. The hand-drawn chalkboard menu is short and simple for breakfast and coffee and every single item that I have tried is crazy good. I'm talkin' the best of the best-- granola and yogurt, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits (I seriously can't do these biscuits justice with words), smoked trout and avocado toast, and even their cookies! Everything! Their healthy salads at lunch! Not to mention, if you are feelin' more eggs for breakfast, then go get some from the EggSlut truck usually outside. And I haven't even gotten to the espresso. The Hart and the Hunter uses Handsome Coffee and does a damn good handsome job of it. Yes, I go back and forth whether I actually like Handsome coffee and that's because I have had some lovely espresso and some terribly mediocre espresso. From what I've had at the Hart and the Hunter, 4 times out of 5 the espresso will be fantastic--usually depending on the barista. They vary in using Handsome's Adventure or Comfort blend, so the taste varies each time. Usually their Dandy Adventure espresso is very lemon-y and quite a high note--not something I could drink everyday, but if its not too extreme it can be enjoyable. All in all, something about The Hart and the Hunter has kept me coming back. Or probably many things--it's right off Melrose and Fairfax, has some of the best food in town (right up there with my absolute favorite, Sqirl), and most of the time will have a good espresso. It's quite the unique spot that I would recommend for anytime, any meal of the day.
Note: It's only open Monday 7-12, although I usually forget and try to go for lunch (it's like cravin' Chick-Fil-A on Sunday!).
Recommend: Gah! It's almost too hard to recommend one thing. If you're feeling decadent, go for the biscuits for breakfast. If you want something more savory, go for the smoked trout and avocado toast. It's better than it sounds. Also, the dinner is supposed to be out of this world--and people know-- because it gets quite crowded.
Price: $$ (actually quite a good price for the freshest and best ingredients for their food)
Vibe: Whimsical, cute
Espresso Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating: 9/10
Hours: Mon. Breakfast 7-12 Tues. Breakfast 7-3 / Lunch 11:30 / Dinner 5:30-10 Wed. Breakfast 7-3 / Lunch 11:30 / Dinner 5:30-10 Thur. Breakfast 7-3 / Lunch 11:30 / Dinner 5:30-10 Fri. Breakfast 7-3 / Lunch 11:30 / Dinner 5:30-11 Sat. Breakfast 7-3 / Lunch 11:30 / Dinner 5:30-11 Sun. Breakfast 7-10 / Brunch 11-2 / Dinner 5:30-9
Website: http://www.thehartandthehunter.com/-- you can read the fable here!