R.I.P. HUNGRY CAT, Santa Monica

I really believe that some locations are just cursed. Hungry Cat just closed its doors forever today at PCH and Channel Road. I am trying to remember how many restaurants have opened and closed at that location. Two doors away, Giorgio Baldi forges on. Sams, same thing. That corner location is just jinxed. Baldi and the other restaurant(s) have same issues re: parking. Something inherently wrong at that corner. Wonder if it is the expectation of an ocean view.

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In no small part because GB gets so much celeb love (and from the paps stationed outside).

I wish they had done lunch on weekdays! Even just a friday lunch!

For me it was the food - not very good, IMHO. Hollywood branch was always better (and Hollywood isn’t all that great, either). I love what Lentz and Goin do as far as Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and I think her restaurants are top notch, but I think the husband is riding her coattails (he’s her arm candy, a Himbo in a chef’s outfit).

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I think your opinion of David Lentz is a bit harsh. I have had some very fine dishes at the Hungry Cat, Santa Monica. One of the most memorable was a scallop pot pie, another was a beautifully prepared barramundi. Oysters were uniformly excellent. That being said, the last time I was there, about 8 months ago, there were few customers and a very spartan selection of oysters and the service was abysmal. I think part of the problem with that space, as was also the issue with the restaurant which preceded it (was it Brass Cap) is the space is just too damn big and cavernous. Perhaps if the restaurant designers had broken it up in to cozy sections it would not have appeared as empty when the restaurant wasn’t busy. There was no warmth there. Really unfair to call David a “Himbo.” He does have a nice touch with seafood, having grown up in the Maryland area. However, David LeFevre of Fishing with Dynamite is the one who hits a home run each time. Note, how small FWD is. A good seafood house should (IMHO) always appear to be packed.

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Regardless of one’s personal taste about the food (and I liked many, if not most, of the dishes at HC Hollywood, when it opened but it has been going downhill in my book for years) I think the market/evidence speaks for itself:
Goin: 100% Success
Lentz: 66% Failure.
She’s opened 3 places (4 if you count the reopening of AOC) - 3 (or 4) continue to thrive and be packed nightly.
He’s opened 3 places - 1 remains.

I never (maybe once) saw him on premises whereas I saw her almost all the time at Luques or AOC (I don’t do Tavern much, so can’t say). Seems clear to me. He doesn’t have it. She does.

You didn’t even mention the Goin/Styne 10 year contract catering the Hollywood Bowl. Indeed, Suzanne is a Star, even winning Chef of the Year Beard Award David is a really good guy and nice Dad to their 3 young children. . He never did have Suzanne’s brilliance as a chef, nor has he ever written a fine cookbook. Sunday Supper at Lucques is a wonderful book. Suzanne has always had a vision. David, possibly a vision for creating a seafood joint. LeFevre got it just right. David Lentz did not.

I had a drink here one time, before dinner from Giorgina Baldi.

Not bad nothing special.

I have to agree with @CiaoBob. I don’t know the chefs or their history. But the last time we ate at Hungry Cat Hollywood - with the exception of the belgian-style fries - it was pretty bad and the service worse. Chowseeker had some really good meals there this year. And I would be willing to give it another try. But the service really turned us off. They do have good oysters. But they’re no longer the only restaurant that does.

[quote=“maudies5, post:5, topic:4692”]
There was no warmth there
[/quote]I’ve never been to the S.M. location, but have always found Hollywood to lack atmosphere, except for the cat pictures (shameless cat lover). This wouldn’t matter if the food and the service were exceptional but…