Kris Tominaga and Brian Dunsmoor left their respective chef positions at Joe's and Axe in late 2011 to garner quick and deserved acclaim for their country-slanted, market-fixated pop-up Wolf in Sheep's Clothing on Abbot Kinney, probably inspiring more than a few fine-dining chefs to consider going AWOL for their own indie runs. After putting Wolf to sleep last summer, the chefs will start serving brunch and lunch tomorrow at PaliHotel in their new permanent restaurant, The Hart & The Hunter, named for a tale from Aesop's Fables, with plans to introduce dinner to the public this Thursday night. Besides a gift for bestowing cool names on restaurants, what else do these guys have up their sleeves?
As at Wolf, the menu begins with a slip of the guys' pickles, potted spreadables with rustic bread, and vittles like boiled peanuts and chicken cracklings. The spreads and charcuterie buck what's usual, with offerings like pimento cheese, ham hock rillette, La Quercia country ham, and collard green marmalade.
Shareable small plate prices hover in the early to mid-teens, both the duo both inventing and reprising dishes in options like sand dabs meunier with almonds and brown butter, venison carpaccio with horseradish creme fraiche, fried green tomatoes with chow chow relish and goats milk and buttermilk dressing, Wolf's well-liked smoked trout with boiled egg and its kale salad, and heartier plates like a seafood boil with shrimp, crab, and andouille sausage.
Sides include traditionals like chive and cheddar grits, pole beans and bacon, and black eyed peas and ham hocks. Desserts bring back Hook's cheddar with apple pie, house-made ice cream, and brown butter polenta cake. We loved our fresh eating experiences at Wolf's in Sheep's Clothing, which felt like it dashed at the height of its potential, making us howl at the news that Tominaga and Dunsmoor now have a permanent den at PaliHotel. See the full menu now online.
The Hart & The Hunter, at PaliHotel 7950 Melrose Ave. West Hollywood; 323-327-9702.