Quinn and Karen Hatfield have had a busy few months since closing Hatfield's–their previous location is now the home of Eva Restaurant–and taking over the former Red Pearl Kitchen space on Melrose Avenue near Highland. Yes, they're painting over the garish red paint this week. The new Hatfield's will be a nice off-white in a few days. The restaurant is set to open in about six weeks, most likely New Year's Day. “Literally January 1st,” said Quinn Hatfield the other day as he stepped over construction materials while giving us a quick tour.
The heavy wooden doors will be replaced with glass (no more dragons, sorry) and the floors of the main dining room have been torn up and will soon be hardwood. When the restaurant housed Meson G, there were pebble floors, which were painted gold when the space became Red Pearl Kitchen. “We pulled it all up,” said Hatfield. “There was a heated floor underneath; it took two weeks to strip it.” Hatfield says that the bar and lounge area will stay the same, absent the Oriental decor, and that they'll restore some of the windows that were there in the old days when the space was home to Michel Richard's Citrus.
It was the kitchen that sold Hatfield on the location, which will seat about 110. That's almost three times the capacity of the old Hatfield's, but about exactly the same as Cortez, the restaurant that the Hatfields ran in San Francisco. “It's a very familiar size for us,” said Hatfield. The kitchen is huge, with the hood and ranges in the center and a large glass window that divides it from the main dining room. “We have Michel Richard to thank for this kitchen. He insisted on a window over the pastry station.” (Richard trained as a pastry chef.)
In addition to new ranges and redone banquettes, the Hatfields are putting in a temperature-controlled wine room and a wall of herbs in the front room, which has a retractable ceiling. No lanterns, no dragons, no red paint. “If you're one of our customers from before,” said Hatfield, “it'll still make sense.” And if the food is anything like the seasonal, beautifully orchestrated, technically masterful cooking that both Hatfields accomplished on Beverly Blvd., it will make a lot of sense.