The Hake is a new restaurant that opened a few months ago in La Jolla. It is located on Prospect next to George’s. Even though it is located downstairs, there is plenty of light and they did a good job decorating the space, which looks like a European bistro. The menu is heavy on local seafood with Latin American influences. We had a chance to go there for a late lunch recently. It was very quiet and there were only 2 or 3 other tables due to the late hour.
We sampled from the appetizers which come in extremely generous portions. The ceviche was well seasoned and tart from the lime juice, with large bite-size pieces of fish (only miss – the homemade chip was cardboard-like). The tiradito, or Peruvian-style sashimi, was seabass with a delicate ginger and sesame dressing. The quality of the fish was outstanding, which is probably the most important element for this type of dish to be successful.
The cocktail menu has an emphasis on mezcal. I tried the Smoke and Honey which was a refreshing blend of mezcal, honey, Lillet, lemon, and honey. It came in an oversized martini glass which was a little odd – I am so used to coupe or smaller cocktail glasses these days – but except for this little detail, it was an approachable and well-balanced cocktail.
For the main course, we went with the special which was seabass prepared with kalamata olives, baby tomatoes, and capers. The tangy dressing was wonderful. In retrospect one appetizer would have been plenty for two, and it would have been nice to have a vegetable dish with our main course instead.
It’s really great to have a new seafood-oriented restaurant in San Diego. This one has a very pleasant casual vibe, and dishes that are refined without being pretentious.
Restaurant week starts this weekend in San Diego unfortunately. Am I the only one to avoid going to restaurants during that time? I am not a fan of special menus, ad hoc staff, and crowds of diners looking for a bargain. I much prefer experiencing restaurants under normal circumstances.