Culver City, California 90066
Anne Fishbein Wood-grilled octopus
- Mon.-Thu., 6-10 p.m.; Fri., 6-11 p.m.; Sat., 5:30-11 p.m.; Sun., 5:30-10 p.m.; Old Man Bar, nightly, 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
- Full bar
What people outside of the South rarely understand is that the best Southern cooking these days is thoroughly modern and ingredient-driven. If there's any chef in L.A. who knows how to translate that aesthetic outside of its home region, it's Hatchet Hall's Brian Dunsmoor. Hatchet Hall's menu is long and wide-ranging, and sometimes its Southern-ness is unmistakable: Dunsmoor's collard greens are funky, his grits creamy. Other dishes are slightly more subtle in their Southern-ness: Spoonbread comes heaped with a cornucopia of mushrooms; hunks of yellowtail are sandwiched with thin-sliced habanero and juicy peach, all wrapped up in a sliver of translucent fat shaved from a Johnston Mangalitsa country ham; wood-grilled octopus is kissed with lemon aioli and salsa verde. This is a diverse, ambitious menu, and it is being executed incredibly well. The sprawling building encompasses an appealing series of dining rooms and bars, with a patio that looks like a garden party that's spilled out of the restaurant. And hidden in back is the Old Man Bar, which opens at 8 p.m. nightly and is one of the city's best places to sip bourbon in a dark corner. —Besha Rodell
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