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Mark Dedrick

Hazel, Modern American on 9th and V Street in Shaw - Chef Rob Rubba Comes from Tallula

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I find it hard to believe that this topic hadn't already been created, so if so please move this. I looked and couldn't find anything. 

We had dinner last night at Hazel and absolutely loved it. We arrived around 7 pm and were able to grab seats at the bar. The bartender provided fantastic service, and was extremely knowledgeable about the entire menu, cocktails, wine and food. The cocktail, wine and beer lists all show a great deal of care, with very interesting choices available. Both my wife and I enjoyed our cocktails very much. I went with the Power Play, which featured a barrel aged gin, montenegro amaro, paw paw vinegar and lime juice. Delicious and interesting. 

We initially ordered the Barbecue Carrots (fennel kraut, hazelnuts, buttermilk); the Hamachi Crudo (crispy rice, black lime, radish, hibuscus, smoked yogurt); the Octopus a la Plancha (roof top basil, shaved carrot & fennel salad, nuoc cham); and the Gnocchi Bokki (pork kimchi ragu, sesame seeds, smoked pecorino). Our bartender suggested that we probably needed one additional dish, and at his suggestion we ordered the Steak Tartare (tater tots, egg yolk, pepper cress, carmelized onion dip). He was 100% correct, and this was the exact right amount of food. 

First off, we loved everything, and will absolutely return. It's location directly across the street from the 930 Club immediately makes this our pre-show destination for the foreseeable future. Our two favorites, by far, were the Barbecued Carrots and the Gnocchi Bokki. The carrots were incredible. They cold smoke them, and then roast them with cumin, smoked paprika and a bunch of other spices I can't remember. The hazelnuts provide a great textural element, and the fennel kraut gives it some fantastic acidity. It was wonderful. And the gnocchi was just delicious. 

We will be back. 

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My wife and I had a wonderful anniversary dinner here last night, and like Mark above, I'm surprised there's not more action in this thread.

The space and the vibe and staff were all very cool and it reminded me of one of those cool little places, in one of those cool little neighborhoods in Portland, OR.  Sort of funky and eclectic.

The beer/wine/cocktails list was also funky and eclectic, both in the selection and arrangement.  Instead of being listed as white and reds and geographical regions, it was organized under flavor profiles (I guess that's the right term).  There were categories like, "fruit and spice", "roast, toast and nutty", "tart and funky" and "crisp, saline and mineral".  Under each category they listed sparkling, white, orange, and red wines along with beer.   The wines were from all over the place:  Finger Lakes, NY, Italy, Greece, Canada, France, Hungary, Germany, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Portugal, Croatia, etc, etc.  You get the picture.  The beer list was equally eclectic and slightly mysterious.  I'm not craft beer expert or even a drinker, but some of the 22oz bottles were going for $25 to $50 each with all sorts of interesting descriptions like "aged in the Solera method; blending anniversary ales up to 8 years old".  So if you're a beer connoisseur, you may want to check out their menu.

As we looked over the drinks menu, we thought about starting with a glass of champagne for our anniversary and before we could make a choice, two complementary glasses arrived at our table.  (My wife was asked if it was a special occasion when making the reservation.).  A very nice, and unexpected touch.

The food menu was also funky and eclectic with just about every dish in contention for being ordered.  We had a hard time narrowing down our choices and ended up ordering a bit too much, but we have a nice bag of leftovers so it all ended well. 

Here's what we ordered in the order they appear on the menu.  The number in parenthesis at the end is the order in which they arrived.  Our server said they bring out the dishes in a way that makes sense and flows well based on what you ordered.  So one of the last things we ordered, the Steak Tartare, from the Meat and Potatoes section of the menu came very early in the meal.  I liked how it worked out in the end and it was nice surprise as we never knew what was coming next. 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER, fragrant herbs, spicy cashews, maple-nuoc cham (5)

CISPY CHICKPEA TOFU, pickled cucumber, mint, with Szechuan lamb sauce (not sure where this one came, somewhere near the end)

SEAFOOD PANCAKE, scallop, calamari, green onion, bonito flakes, garlic aioli (4)

GRANDMA'S ZUCCHINI BREAD, foie gras mousse, chamomile gelee, bee pollen (1)

 HIBISUCS CURED FLUKE CRUDO, cucumber, shiso, olive oil, radish, puffed rice (3)

STEAK TARTARE, tater tots, egg yolk, pepper cress, caramelized onion dip (2)

STICKY-CRUNCHY RIBS, roasted peanuts, cilantro, citrus glaze (6)

Each dish had lots of layers and lots of complexity but was also unified and coherent, and they were all winners.  We absolutely loved the zucchini bread with foie gras mousse, but when we had a couple more dishes, it didn't seem quite as special.  That sounds like a slam, but it's meant to be a complement to the other dishes, because we'd get the zucchini bread again in a heartbeat.

The Steak Tartare was also great, with a lot of interesting flavors mixed in with the steak itself as well as supporting players like the caramelized onions and something else that we thought was a yellow cherry tomato.  It was only after I tasted it that I realized it was the egg yolk mentioned on the menu.  They somehow reduced the yolk to semi-solid blob that you could smear onto the tater tot "crackers".  It wasn't like a hard boiled egg yolk though, it was something different.

The Fluke was as beautiful as it was tasty, adorned with pink flowers that actually turned out to be Asian(?) radishes cut into the shape of flowers.

The Seafood Pancake was great on it's own, and was even better with the spicy Panda Sauce supplied with the dish.  The bonito flakes gave it wonderfully salty taste without being overly salty.  The other thing the bonito flakes did was provide an amazing and slightly bizarre visual effect.  When they put the plate down, the flakes were sort of popping up off the surface and moving back and forth.  It sort of looked like you were looking down on a field of tall grass blowing in the wind.  The little blades of bonito "grass" kept moving this way and that for quite a while which was very trippy and cool.  Our server told us it was the heat of the pancake  that caused the movement.

The Roasted Cauliflower was bright and vibrant and a pleasant surprise.  It reminded me of the explosion of interesting flavors that you used to get from the Lao menu at Bangkok Golden. I could be a happy and satisfied vegetarian eating dishes like this daily.

It was this point in the meal that it became obvious we ordered way too much because we were both pretty much stuffed and still had two more dishes to go.  We both just picked at the tofu and only took one bite of one rib just because they were warm and looked good but it was all we could muster. Fortunately they boxed up the uneaten food and our waiter even removed the charge for the ribs from the bill which was another nice and unexpected surprise.  I think he may have felt a little guilty because when we asked if we ordered too much he hesitated a little and said he thought we could eat it all, but it was our choice not his, so certainly didn't need to feel guilty about it.  (We tipped on the price of the comp'd items plus a little more because the service was great).

The only complaint I have (about this place and damn near every other restaurant) is the lighting, or lack there of.  We arrived at 6 and it was pretty dim in there, but at 7, they turned the lights down lower.  I know they're trying to create ambience, but it seems criminal to serve beautiful looking food in a setting where you can't see it!! It also seems ridiculous to have to bust out the flashlight on your phone to truly appreciate the chef's creation in front of you.  Maybe restaurants should start having a "well lit" section?

That one complaint aside, we loved this place and can't wait to go back.

 

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We've now been here three times, and we are huge fans. One thing Bart mentions, and that I really enjoy, is that while you are ordering small plates, they actually course out your meal for you, they don't just throw plates at you as soon as they're done. That's a complaint of mine at many places, including some that I really love, like Maketto and Bar Pilar. 

Over-ordering has been an issue for us on two of the three times we've eaten here as well. But so much of the menu looks so good I have trouble editing it down. 

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This is Rose's-lite, and I mean that in the best way.  Larger menu, slightly more upscale (but still comfortable) feel, but definitely going for that same sweet spot of conviviality and seasonal, flavorful, well-executed comfort food (as Bart says, "funky and eclectic").  And not so hyped (yet) that you can't easily grab a bar seat on a weekday or snag a day-of reservation.  Plus a really interesting cocktail and wine list, and -- best of all -- everything is pretty reasonably priced, especially for a new place in a new space in a hot neighborhood.  (Contrast with Tail Up Goat, which -- and I am a giant fan and have been there probably two dozen times -- is certainly not cheap, especially its drinks.)

I might actually try to hit the bar here tonight.  If only it was a little more convenient to me, I think I'd be here a lot.

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I agree with all of the above. This place deserves more attention. In addition to the food, I found the service to be outstanding -- from everyone we interacted with -- on my first visit this week. They should be proud of the operation they're running.

And fans of a certain television series will appreciate the naming scheme for their cocktails. (See the pic below; I'm guessing Don will get it without having to look it up.)

What we have below is:

  • Koji Texas toast, smoked scallop, garlic butter, parsley, furikake
  • Steamed little neck clams, spicy pork sausage, bok choy, fermented black beans
  • Roasted cauliflower, fragrant herbs, spicy cashews, maple nuoc-cham
  • Crispy chickpea tofu, pickled cucumber, mint, szechuan mushroom sauce
  • Rabbit nuggets, Thai flavors, curry mustard condiment
  • Gnocchi bokki, pork-kimchi ragu, sesame seeds, smoked pecorino
  • Steak tartare, tater tots, egg yolk, pepper cress, carmelized onion dip

The tartare and scallop toast were standouts for me. The clams and cauliflower were strong runners-up.

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cocktails.jpg

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Tried Hazel last night before seeing the excellent Seu Jorge sings David Bowie in Portuguese concert at the Howard.  A friend and I shared:

The chickpea tofu, the sweet potatoes, the English muffins, and a dessert that was basically chocolate and nougat.  (See menu above for more details on the dishes).  I loved the tofu dish - it reminded me of a lighter, crispier ma po tofu (we got the mushroom version).  It had a nice heat, and complex flavor that was enhanced by the nuttiness of the tofu (made of chickpeas) and fried chickpeas.  The potatoes were also very good with a nice mix of textures - crispy chips, soft roasted potatoes, nice heat from the peri peri.  The English muffins I thought were just ok - a little too sweet and with not enough truffle flavor for me, but my friend loved them.  The dessert was fine - I have had better but it was perfectly decent as a chocolate/peanut dish.

We sat at the bar and the service was delightful.  The bartender offered me a taste of the Orange wine when I asked about it which was a nice touch.  I had a glass of it after tasting as it was pleasantly funky, just the way I like Orange wine.  My friend had a semi-sweet cocktail, and I had one that involved gin and Montenegro that was fantastic.  I loved the Star Trek TNG episode names as the names of the drinks.

All told we each spent about $50, which I that was a good deal for a tasty, relatively healthy meal in nice surroundings.  I can't wait to go back.

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I've stressed for years that I don't review restaurants; I review meals, and you all know by now that I have to call things as I see them, without any external influences. With that in mind ...

Last week, I walked into an empty bar at Hazel, just as they were opening, and had a really nice, wonderful bartender who took good care of me all evening long. I *love* Hazel's wine list, because it's divided up in plain English - in a way that the non-wine connoisseur can figure it out without having to fear making the wrong choice. Having perused their menu, I knew I wanted a white with high acidity to stand up to their food, and so from the "Tart & Funky" section, I ordered one of Hazel's two-most inexpensive wines on the entire list: a bottle of the recently-falling-out-of-fashion "Orange Wine" (which I happen to love) - a 2015 Meinklang, "Graupert" Pinot Gris from Burgenland, Austria ($40). I fell in love with this winery the first time I had it, because it's not only a Vienna exurb (yet in an extremely rural area, mere miles away from the Czech Republic), but it also employs biodynamic practices - a philosophy which I embrace, not because of its wacky adjuncts, such as "harvesting by moon cycles," but because they do so much else that makes so much scientific sense, so if you can swallow the kooky aspects of biodynamic viticulture, there's an awful lot of logically sound methods at play. For a more detailed discussion about Burgenland, Graupert, and biodynamic agriculture, I would refer you to one of these experts, who are just out of my league when it comes to anything more than cheeseburgers: They're the cream of the crop, and they'll be able to help you sort through any questions you may have.

The wine was just as I thought it would be: tangy, acidic, Pinot Gris - barely recognizable as such, and smartly classified under "Orange Wines" (not to mention "Tart & Funky"). I don't know who the F&B Director is at Hazel, but whoever it is, you have all my respect for fashioning such a smart, legible wine list, with good bottles starting at $40. Thank you for your hard work on this. I obviously can't vouch for the list as a whole, but if this one wine is an example, it is *exactly* where I would place it, and even though it costs double-retail, I have *no problem* paying you for your expertise. Please write me and let me know who you are, as I wish to keep tabs on you going forward.

Hazel-Bottle-Book-12.9.16.compressed.pdf

Hazel's food menu, divided into four sections (Vegetables, Bread & Batters (cf: Tail Up Goat), Fish & Shellfish, and Meat & Poultry), is also well-organized, and makes the diner's life easy when it comes to decision making:

Dinner-12.10.16.compressed.pdf

I think I had Rob Rubba's cuisine when he was (briefly) Chef de Cuisine at Tallula, but I'm not sure - there was a brief period of time at Tallula when chefs were going in-and-out like fruit flies (and I knew that losing Andrew Market was a huge mistake - arguably the best meal I had at Tallula came under his supervision). Anyway, this meal at Hazel may, or may not, have been my first experience with Rubba as Chef de Cuisine - I just can't remember.

My meal here was a decidedly mixed bag, and I realize that I'm in a minority of just about "one" by saying so, as Hazel is receiving near-consensus raves and plaudits. Was my experience a one-off? Or, was it because I hadn't eaten all day long, and my biology was just hangry-weird by this point? Or, was it just bad timing, possibly due to a miscommunication which may have been partly my fault? Read on ...

The bartender who waited on me was positively delightful, and I'm kicking myself for not being able to find my receipt so I can praise her by name - she was a young, gregarious, woman of color who was working on a Tuesday evening, and I hope this review finds its way back to her, as she deserves recognition for her excellent work, both at understanding the restaurant, and also at making the customer feel like a welcome friend.

I ordered three courses, and she made it a point of telling me that the kitchen will course things out for the diner - my first course was very obvious, but there was (looking back) some confusion about my next two courses - I mentioned something about her picking which should be second and third (since, depending on the prep, either could have been second or third), and I don't think I made myself clear, in which case, this is absolutely diner error, and no one's to blame other than myself.

Course number one was the Atlantic Fluke Crudo ($15) with avocado, radish, shiso, and grapefruit ponzu. An absolutely delightful dish, both in terms of visual appeal, and also on the palate, the only possible nitpick I can find - well, there are two - is that the fluke *might* have been a little less spanking fresh than I'd normally want. Fluke is a very mild fish, and this particular fluke had a touch of the sea which caught my attention - nothing major, and it might even have been the grapefruit ponzu or shiso which imparted a slight aftertaste that deceived me; texturally, it was magnificent, and the only thing it could have been was "a little bigger." At $15, this dish wasn't cheap, but boy it sure was delicious, and I'd get it again in a heartbeat. In fact, I urge people - if they don't mind paying $15 for a small-to-medium plate of crudo - to get this as their first course at Hazel (preferably with a bottle of the exact same wine I had). I took a picture of my second and third courses, and I really wish I had a picture of this, because it was the absolute star of the show.

My second course arrived right when it should have: Rabbit Nuggets ($14) with "Thai Flavors", and curry mustard condiment. These were six "rabbit-tots" served in a paper bag (hopefully in order to keep them warm, and not just to look trendy - it served the purposes of being both). These were extremely rich, fairly heavy nuggets, and the "curry mustard condiment" came across to me as being from Southern Thailand - in fact, it came across as very much of a Massaman curry (peanut-based), even though I have no idea whether or not there were peanuts in the sauce - it sure tasted like there were. I enjoyed my first two tots at a leisurely pace, and began to notice they were getting quite heavy on the palate - not necessarily a bad thing, but "a thing" nevertheless. My bartender advised me that 2-3 courses are enough for an average person: I had ordered three, and I could already tell I wouldn't have room for dessert, even though I wasn't halfway through my meal. 

Up until this point - this exact point - I was very much enjoying my meal, but then things just went downhill. My third course arrived less than five minutes after my second course had been served - I had only eaten two tots out of six - and I was in the unfortunate situation of having both in front of me, both needing to be eaten while they're hot. The third course was the Gnocchi Bokki ($15), with pork-kimchi ragù, sesame seeds, and smoked pecorino. "Bokki" (and the related term "Bokkeum," which you'll also see on this menu) is Korean for "stir-fried."

In front of me now were two courses that clashed as much as two courses could possibly clash, and I didn't know what to do: Should I finish my rabbit tots, and let my stir-fried gnocchi get cold? No, that didn't make much sense. But neither did anything else that I could think of. I want to stress that, looking back, I sincerely believe that I had mistakenly conveyed to my bartender that I wanted the courses together, even though that was the last thing I wanted. 

Anyway, as you might imagine, "rabbit with peanut sauce" does not go with "gnocchi with kimchi," and when I say "does not go," I mean "pizza doesn't go with hot fudge" - that's how awful the combination was. To rub salt in the wound, kimchi does not go with pecorino: not in any way, shape, or form, and even within that single dish, the clash in flavors was almost too much to bear: It was quite literally disgusting. Why did I order it when it was clearly spelled out on the menu? Because I'm an idiot, that's why.

Here's a picture of what I had in front of me, and yes, that "white stuff" on top of the gnocchi in kimchi and Korean red-chili sauce is indeed pecorino cheese, to go along with my rabbit tots in what was seemingly a Massaman curry sauce (I got more peanut than mustard):

Hazel.JPG

(Both dishes looked almost exactly like the pictures in a previous post, so it's not an issue of consistency. There's a very good reason that Koreans don't eat cheese with their Kimchi Jaeyook Bokkum: They don't enjoy vomiting.)

I had about 2/3 of my dinner remaining, and it had instantly become something very close to inedible. I went back-and-forth - concentrating on one, then the other, then trying to mix the two, and was almost literally choking down both items - especially the Gnocchi Bokki, which was one of the most poorly conceived dishes I've had in a long, long time - there was nothing that could have saved this dish: It was horrible. Not quality-wise, mind you; just the complete, total clash in flavors - I went from being so happy, to being so miserable, all in a matter of minutes. But I was starving because I hadn't eaten all day, and knew I wouldn't eat again that night, so I just choked it down, and left in a state of something not far from nauseated. I took the rest of the wine home with me, and enjoyed it later that evening, left my kindly bartender a good tip, and headed on home, wondering what in the hell had just happened.

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My meal here was a decidedly mixed bag, and I realize that I'm in a minority of just about "one" by saying so, as Hazel is receiving near-consensus raves and plaudits. Was my experience a one-off? Or, was it because I hadn't eaten all day long, and my biology was just hangry-weird by this point? Or, was it just bad timing, possibly due to a miscommunication which may have been partly my fault? Read on ...

I don't have notes from my dinner so I can't offer a detailed review, but I will chime in to say that my companion and I left the restaurant wondering what all the fuss was about.  

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11 hours ago, DonRocks said:

The third course was the Gnocchi Bokki ($15), with pork-kimchi ragù, sesame seeds, and smoked pecorino. "Bokki" (and the related term "Bokkeum," which you'll also see on this menu) is Korean for "stir-fried."

Anyway, as you might imagine, "rabbit with peanut sauce" does not go with "gnocchi with kimchi," and when I say "does not go," I mean "pizza doesn't go with hot fudge" - that's how awful the combination was. To rub salt in the wound, kimchi does not go with pecorino: not in any way, shape, or form, and even within that single dish, the clash in flavors was almost too much to bear: It was quite literally disgusting. Why did I order it when it was clearly spelled out on the menu? Because I'm an idiot, that's why.

I had about 2/3 of my dinner remaining, and it had instantly become something very close to inedible. I went back-and-forth - concentrating on one, then the other, then trying to mix the two, and was almost literally choking down both items - especially the Gnocchi Bokki, which was one of the most poorly conceived dishes I've had in a long, long time - there was nothing that could have saved this dish: It was horrible. Not quality-wise, mind you; just the complete, total clash in flavors - I went from being so happy, to being so miserable, all in a matter of minutes. But I was starving because I hadn't eaten all day, and knew I wouldn't eat again that night, so I just choked it down, and left in a state of something not far from nauseated. I took the rest of the wine home with me, and enjoyed it later that evening, left my kindly bartender a good tip, and headed on home, wondering what in the hell had just happened.

I wasn't fond of the Gnocchi Bokki on my visit there this past August, and couldn't understand the raves for the dish--I agree with the clash of flavors. And I found the lighting to be awkward, partly because I was facing the setting sun with inadequate shading on the west side. But overall I liked Hazel, largely because of its commitment, similar to Convivial, to medium-size dishes at reasonable prices. I think Convivial does it better, but Hazel has some strengths and is on the right track.

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Has anyone tried something from the "Breads and Batters" section of the menu? Perhaps I am missing something, but there's nothing there to my eye that would seem to be worth close to what they are charging.

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44 minutes ago, Bob Wells said:

Has anyone tried something from the "Breads and Batters" section of the menu? Perhaps I am missing something, but there's nothing there to my eye that would seem to be worth close to what they are charging.

I saw one - it reminded me (in concept, if not in execution) of what they're doing at Tail Up Goat. The Doctor has a picture of what is essentially an open-faced scallop sandwich up above, and there are a reasonable number of scallops on it. Note that it was one of his favorite two items.

Note also that there is nothing about that sandwich which violates my sense of aesthetics - everything sounds like it would go together (with the *possible* exception of "scallops and toast" - I don't think I've ever had that combination before, but it doesn't seem offensive to me (I happen to love Shrimp Toast in Chinese restaurants).

My guess - and it's just a guess - is that a medium-heavy eater can probably pick almost any three items off the menu, and have a full meal for about $45+++ (+++ means +drinks, +tip, and +tax), and a medium-light eater can probably pick two items and have the same for about $30+++.

Related to this, I liked what Tujague had to say about being on the right track with medium-sized dishes at reasonable prices.

To be honest, this was the first review I've written in a long time that I was actually afraid to publish - nobody has yet to criticize this restaurant that I'm aware of, and I thought I was going to be run out of town by sundown - people are saying, in all seriousness, that Hazel is their *favorite restaurant*. Also, to be clear, I *do* think Hazel has potential - note that The Doctor listed neither the Rabbit Tots nor the Gnocchi Bokki among his favorite dishes, so it's quite possible I ordered the worst-possible things (and if so, it was entirely by chance, as I was intrigued at the descriptions of the dishes). I purposefully did not read any reviews before going to Hazel.

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50 minutes ago, Bob Wells said:

Has anyone tried something from the "Breads and Batters" section of the menu? Perhaps I am missing something, but there's nothing there to my eye that would seem to be worth close to what they are charging.

I had, and enjoyed "Grandma's Zucchini Bread".  (review posted above).  My wife and l loved it at the time, but when we had some later dishes, this one didn't seem so special.  But that was only in comparison to better and more interesting dishes.

Don - you should have ordered what I did!!!

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17 minutes ago, Bart said:

I had, and enjoyed "Grandma's Zucchini Bread".  (review posted above).  My wife and l loved it at the time, but when we had some later dishes, this one didn't seem so special.  But that was only in comparison to better and more interesting dishes.

Don - you should have ordered what I did!!!

Grandma's Zucchini Bread was my #4 choice - I was oscillating back-and-forth between that, and the Rabbit Tots. I heard someone at the bar (and I can't remember if it was an employee, or a customer) say it was really good.

Believe me, I'm not writing off Hazel; I just tried to be as truthful in reporting my experience as I could possibly be. Hell there are a couple of items I've had at Kinship (which may be my favorite "non-special-occasion" restaurant) that I felt were substantially flawed. I'd rather a chef take a good, honest cut, and whiff, than not to take any chances at all - and I mean that.

Let me make an analogy: I take piano lessons, and I tell my teacher that the single most difficult thing for me to do (other than sight read) is to "hear myself play." I'm so busy trying not to make mistakes that I can't hear how bad my tone is, and it's something that I'm struggling to overcome. It's more important to produce a beautiful sound, even if you make mistakes.

"Master your instrument, master the music, and then forget all that bullshit and just play."
-- Charlie Parker

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On 12/15/2016 at 11:37 AM, DonRocks said:

Also, to be clear, I *do* think Hazel has potential - note that The Doctor listed neither the Rabbit Tots nor the Gnocchi Bokki among his favorite dishes, so it's quite possible I ordered the worst-possible things (and if so, it was entirely by chance, as I was intrigued at the descriptions of the dishes). I purposefully did not read any reviews before going to Hazel.

I decided not to talk about my dislikes because I was so impressed by the positives. Your intuition was spot on -- I didn't mention those two dishes because they weren't standouts. The crispy chickpea tofu didn't wow me, either. But I was with a group and didn't have control over everything we ordered. The dishes I was happiest with were the ones I picked. If I had just been exposed to the aforementioned three, my review probably would have been quite different. (To make a further Rose's Luxury comparison, I had similar feelings about a few dishes there, particularly a carrot dish.) And if you do the math, those three dishes were not an insignificant portion of my meal at Hazel.

But when thinking about my overall experience, the excellent service, drinks, atmosphere, and other superlative dishes were the reasons I wanted to write about it. Upon further reflection, I might even elevate the clams/sausage and cauliflower above the scallop toast. The toast stood out because it was rich and garlic buttery, but the smoked aspect of the scallops took a bit of getting used to. Also on the topic of breads, a friend of mine raved about the zucchini bread. (It's something I avoided because I'm not a foie gras person.)

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Sorry about the coursing at Hazel - we've usually been pretty upfront that we don't want a table full of plates, and they've accommodated. You'll have to get back and try some of Chef Rubba's other dishes. I was also not a huge fan of the gnocchi...which is weird because I love gnocchi and I love Korean flavors. Just not together, apparently.

16 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I would refer you to one of these experts, who are just out of my league when it comes to anything more than cheeseburgers: They're the cream of the crop, and they'll be able to help you sort through any questions you may have.

Kind of an unnecessary shot for a site that preaches civility, but fair enough. FWIW, I've never once referred to myself as (or claimed to be) a "food writer," nor do I consider myself an "expert." I just love talking about food and writing about it every now and then.

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5 hours ago, lhollers said:

Kind of an unnecessary shot for a site that preaches civility, but fair enough. FWIW, I've never once referred to myself as (or claimed to be) a "food writer," nor do I consider myself an "expert." I just love talking about food and writing about it every now and then.

Logan, I had no idea you worked at Hazel. Regardless, you might have missed this - I have *always* appreciated the kind things that you've had to say about this website and our members..

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3 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Logan, I had no idea you worked at Hazel. Regardless, you might have missed this - I have *always* appreciated the kind things that you've had to say about this website and our members.

@DonRocks, sorry - poor writing on my part in the original response. I'm not in the food service industry; I just meant that when we've *dined at Hazel, we've been pretty clear that we want the plates coursed out. They've usually responded well to that, and we haven't had the trouble that you ran into with too many dishes piling up at once.

And I do appreciate the thanks, though it's unnecessary - I think that everyone on this site recognizes the sacrifices you've made (and continue to make) to make this such an enjoyable and well-read forum. I'll continue to trumpet it as often as I can. I was more just giving you shit for the snide remark about the BYT Round-Up (of which I was a part). Not a big deal. I readily admit that, at least at BYT, we aren't exactly professional critics...just trying to keep the target demographic informed.

Cheers!

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4 hours ago, lhollers said:

I readily admit that, at least at BYT, we aren't exactly professional critics...just trying to keep the target demographic informed.

Well, I've always been interested in what you have to say, and I remember every single time someone says something nice about me, this website, or our members, and that's exactly why I singled you out last night - it wasn't the first time you've said something like that.

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My brothers were in town early this month and we spent 3.5 days eating and drinking our way around town. The highlight of the weekend was the Ducked Up! dinner at Hazel on a very cold Thursday night. We had several drinks before making our way to the restaurant as well as two bottles of wine during dinner so my memory is a little fuzzy. My favorite dishes were the crispy drumsticks (wings on the menu), the kimchi confit fried rice, and the roasted cauliflower that we ordered to get our veggies in. My older brother really liked the dumplings and kept talking about them all weekend. The duck breast was served Peking Duck style. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I wasn't so full by that point. Well worth the $50 per person as we had leftovers to take home. Look forward to going back and ordering dishes off the regular menu. 

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On February 24, 2017, I enjoyed an extraordinary dining experience by Chef Rob Rubba and General Manager Chris Metts.  Rosé all evening!  Exceptional food, wine pairing and hospitality!

  1. 2013 Ameztoi “Hijo de Rubentis” Extra Brut, Txakolina Rose, Spain with Hawaiian Kanpachi Crudo, Fresh Shaved Horseradish, Perrilla, Ume Sauce!

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  2. 2015 Domaine D’E Croce “Ile de beaute” Niellucciu Rose, Corsica, France with Konro Grilled Spanish Mackeral, Smoked Cucumber, Chermoula, Roasted Cashew Milk

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  3. 2015 Innocent Bystander, Moscato Rose, Victoria, Australia with Szechuan Lamb Noodles, pickled cucumber, crispy shallots, mint

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  4. 2015 Domaine Comte Abbatucci - Rose "Cuvee Faustine" Corsica, France with Crazy Rice, Smoked Eel, Fried Egg, Pickled Bok Choy, Ikura, Dashi Aioli

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  5. Campbells Rutherglen Tokay with Hong Kong Bubble Waffle, spice roasted pineapple, coconut!

    16806917_10210737674949823_4088423411205580763_n.jpg16996237_10210737675149828_5445868354274435563_n.jpg
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On February 22, 2017, I enjoyed another exceptional dining experience by Chef Rob Rubba and General Manager Chris Metts.  The Hong Kong Bubble Waffle is one of the best desserts ever!  There is so much to this dessert...I am still trying to deconstruct all the components in the coconut cream foam.  Complexity in composition, so creative yet simply delicious, fun and without all the pretentiousness!  AMAZING!  I love Rob Rubba's cooking style!

  1. 2015 Old Westminster Pét-Nat Grüner Veltliner with Salad of winter Greens, shaved root vegetables, pickled kohlrabi, hazelnut Caesar!

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  2. 2015 Old Westminster Pét-Nat Grüner Veltliner with Charcoal Grilled arctic char, coconut collards, rainbow carrots, chili glaze

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  3. 2015 Old Westminster Pét-Nat Grüner Veltliner with Crazy rice, smoked eel, fried egg, pickled bok choy, ikura, dashi aioli

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  4. 2015 Old Westminster Pét-Nat Grüner Veltliner with Brioche donuts, stracciatella cheese, ‘nduja sausage, olive oil jam!

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  5. Marie Duffau Napoleon Bas Armagnac with Hong Kong Bubble Waffle, spice roasted pineapple, coconut!

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On August 26, 2016, "Summer Table" was featured on the Lazy Susan Dinner Menu along with "Ducked Up".  In my opinion, while I enjoyed both so much, I really think the "Summer Table" did not get the love and accolades it truly deserves.  I hope Rob Rubba will feature "Summer Table" in 2017!  It was one of my top favorite dishes of 2016 and I just wanted to share with you! Crazy, crazy delicious!!

SUMMER TABLE: trio of summer salads {Marinated toy box tomatoes, cucumber, basil, furikake, salted plum vinaigrette; Summer Corn Donburi, cilantro, togarashi, lime aioli , cotija cheese; Purple potato salad}

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SUMMER TABLE: grilled pastrami’d short ribs, bib lettuce, shaved radish, assorted pickles and sauces

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On March 8, 2017, I enjoyed another exceptional dining experience by Chef Rob Rubba and General Manager Chris Metts  This is my sixth visit over the past month.  The current menu is CRAZY delicious!  

  • Begin with a beautiful Nebbiolo-based Rosé!

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  • Salad of winter Greens, shaved root vegetables, pickled kohlrabi, hazelnut Caesar!

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  • Marinated Beets, baba ganoush, puffed amaranth, smoked yogurt, lemon vinaigrette! 

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  • Off menu item:  Rob Rubba's Short Rib "Taco"!

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  • Konro Grilled Spanish Mackeral, Smoked Cucumber, Chermoula, Roasted Cashew Milk!

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  • Szechuan Lamb Noodles, pickled cucumber, crispy shallots, mint!

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  • Kat Hamidi"s Capitoline White Vermouth Cocktail!

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  • Hong Kong Bubble Waffle, spice roasted pineapple, coconut!

    17265103_10210864354396730_2944273550758201501_n.jpg
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As of Sunday, March 12, 2017, below is the current menu for Hazel's Dim Sunday Brunch!

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The following are new additions:

  • Beet Cured Gravlax, English Muffins, Yogurt, Pickled Red Onion!
  • Smoked Short Rib Steam Bun, Salsa Verde, Red Onion!
  • Breakfast Donburi, Pork Belly, Pickles, Fried Egg, Fire Panda, Rice!
  • Donuts, Black Sesame Buttercream, Matcha Glaze!
  • Cauliflower, Red Onion, Maple Nuoc-Cham, Peanuts!

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On Sunday, March 19, 2017, I enjoyed a delicious brunch at Hazel.  Below are the highlights!  It appears that the menu updates often.

Begin with Bubbles...the way the Brits do it!

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Joi Choy, Red Onion, Maple Nuoc-Cham, Peanuts!  Delicious!

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Beet Cured Gravlax, Rye English Muffins, Yogurt, Pickled Red Onion, Fresh Dill!  So delicious!  I enjoyed a second order to end the meal!  Yes, I did!

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Grandma's Zucchini Bread, Foie Gras Mousse, Chamomile Gelee, Bee Pollen! Absolutely delightful every time, anytime!

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Duck Muffin, English Muffin, Duck Sausage, Baked Egg, Fire Panda Mayo! Delicious!

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Dim Sunday Menu! Take two or three companions with you to experience "The Whole Shebang"

17434740_10210938367607014_841068104876331835_o.jpg

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