Thursday, March 1, 2007

Oh, Hungry Cat, Why Do You Torment Me?

I want to like the Hungry Cat, I really do. The location is perfect post-Arclight, and a seafood spot that's open late-night is an undeniably great concept. Add the fact that you can pretty much eat outside year-round at the ol' kitty and you've got a place that should make the husband and me all a-twitter. Especially since Steve loves to get his oysters and chablis on. But although the Hungry Cat's oysters are terrific, little else manages to hit the spot.

A fan of Pearl Oyster Bar's sublime lobster roll, I was thrilled when the Hungry Cat opened in 2005 so that we Angelenos could have a lobster roll to call our very own -- and one that was Suzanne Goin-approved, at that. Turns out, the lobster itself is quite good but the portion is disappointingly puny for the bloated price ($23). Meanwhile, the golden little brioche in which the lobster comes perched is too buttery. With the VERY salty accompaniment of the fries, there's no way to order that dish and leave feeling human. It's at once underwhelming and overwhelming, if that makes any sense.

The Hungry Cat is also known for its signature "Pug Burger." The burger's flavors are tasty (mainly by virtue of overkill; I mean, for crying out loud, bacon, blue cheese, avocado, mayo, and onion -- are you kidding me?) but, as you can infer from my parenthetical aside, it's just a big ol' sloppy mess and the proportions are way off. The burger is one of those thick numbers, like Eddie Murphy's mother used to make on white bread while all the other kids got McDonald's.

A few months ago, I decided that I would not leave another meal at the Hungry Cat feeling violated by my dinner, so I ordered the relatively virtuous peel and eat shrimp. Sadly, they were beyond repulsive -- overseasoned to the point of being inedible. And I LOVE salt; in fact, that's my picture up at the top of this post. Anyway, the first time I ordered the shrimp, I had to send them back (which I never do). I gave those shrimpers a second chance on a different occasion, but that only served to prove the "fool me once, fool me twice..." adage. And there was shame.

But the worst part? We keep going back because, sometimes, it's still the best possible choice.

The Hungry Cat

1535 North Vine Street

Hollywood, CA 90028

(323) 462-2155


Bon Vivant said...

The first time that I went to Hungy Cat I ordered the Lobster Roll and was slighly offended about paying that much for something that was half the size of a twinkie.

Marisa said...

Amen to that, Bon Vivant. The brioche does appear rather twinkie-like.

Anonymous said...

Pearl Oyster Bar!

TonyC said...

there's something so offensive about a $23 lobster roll... can't put my finger on it...