Tucked inside of Palihotel on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles is a new restaurant from Brian Dunsmoor and Kris Tominaga, who first made their mark with pop-up canteen A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing. The two entrepreneurial chefs clearly share an affinity for Aesop's fables: their latest venture gets its name from "The Hart and the Hunter". In the tale, the hart spends his time admiring his antlers and loathing his too-slim legs. When the hunter's arrow causes the hart to snag his antlers on a branch, the hart says, "Alas! alas! We often despise what is most useful to us." The significance of the fable has a secret meaning to the owners, but our guess is it's a reminder to stay humble in the midst of increasing acclaim, and to cook what they know best: California fare tinged with more than a hint of the south. Have a look around.
Photography by Dylan James Ho from Eat, Drink + Be Merry (unless otherwise noted).
Above: With its green and white octagonal floor tiles and family-style table, the restaurant has the vibe of a small southern kitchen smack in the middle of LA. Photograph courtesy of Palihotel. To see more of the hotel, visit our post Where the Brits Are: Palihotel in LA
Above: Seen throughout the restaurant are a collection of vintage portraits, ranging from dapper gentlemen to forest fauna.
Above L: Palihotel aprons hang against the restaurant's glazed tiled wall (for something similar, consider Waterworks' Grove Brickworks Tiles in Hull). Above R: Lemon squares and iced cookies on the bar. Both photographs courtesy of Palihotel.
Above: Visitors from another era—the gentleman's eyes match the blue on the wall.
Above: Cool blue is a theme throughout. The bar is the hub for the restaurant's coffee program, headed up by Christopher Abel Alameda, a barista from Handsome Coffee Roasters and Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea (LA's two main drip coffee haunts). Photograph courtesy of Palihotel.
Above: A portrait of a hart, an homage to the restaurant's namesake.
Above: White-painted Tolix metal chairs are fitted with custom wooden seats, and the Hart and Hunter staff aren't afraid to add a folding chair to the mix. Photograph courtesy of Palihotel.
Above L: Smoked trout toast. Above R: A warm steak bowl with roasted cauliflower and green accompaniments. For more on the food, visit Eat, Drink + Be Merry.
Above: An equine portrait hangs over the dining room's old-fashioned sideboard and window into the kitchen. Book a reservation at The Hart and the Hunter
Location of The Hart and the Hunter in Los Angeles: