true grit: the hart and the hunter

welcome the hart and the hunter. no, it’s not a revival play of aesop’s fable (because i am SURE that’s what you were thinking), but rather the clever moniker of brian dunsmoor and kris tominaga’s first permanent eatery.

gaining true acclaim with their venice pop-up sensation wolf in sheep’s clothing (clearly these guys have a real knack for titles), the two decided to take the show off the road and hang up their aprons within the swanky hipsterness of the palihotel.

with a clear southern flair, the space is bright, very turquoise, very tiled, and boasts a 1950’s-style countertop perfect for a slice of pie and some fresh brewed handsome coffee. the equally southern hipster staff mills about in casual conversation, which intended or not, only adds to the space’s incredibly “down-home” aesthetic.

that cozy sensation is equally matched in the food. especially the biscuits.

mmmm, the biscuits.

melted butter, pastry dough and pure magic (yup, magic) come together in fluffy, this-is-my-one-island-food-of-choice awesomeness. while the accompaniments are nice (persimmon jam, honey butter, etc.), the biscuit alone has you at hello (and by hello, i mean scent…that i would like to bottle). the fact that there were only 4 to a serving was perhaps the biggest issue… so we had to order another helping…and then another. gluttony is clearly lost on us.

reading the menu, one quickly comes to imagine the dishes are inspired by a taste-fueled civil war. true southern fare is deliciously muddled with experimental yankee panache – fried green tomatoes with chow chow, collared green marmalade, and fried chicken livers with apple/onion jam and hazelnut.  ya know, just like what the soldiers munched on in 1862.

with our forked bayonets at the ready, my party and i attacked the menu with valor and determination: venison carpaccio with horseradish crème fraiche, chopped steak with bone marrow, melted raclette with butterball potatoes and cornichon, hanger steak with snail and herb butter, cheddar and chive grits, and roasted brussel sprouts to seal the deal. dessert was slightly more humble (for us) in the form of chocolate and peanut crunch cake, apple dumpling with hooks cheddar and a polenta pound cake of sorts.

the fact that we were able to walk out without waddling came as a surprise to not only us, but the watchful staff.

delicious, scrumptious and truly comforting, the hart and the hunter was a perfect treat, and the best news of all? their weekend brunch is coming soon.

(photos by palihotel)

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