After a nearly 10-month overhaul, The Hake's Managing Partner Ricardo Dondisch, along with his local and Mexico City based team, are proud to unveil the results of an extensive renovation intended to reinvent the restaurant from a tucked away neighborhood gathering spot into an oceanfront dining destination. Located within the recently remodeled 1250 Prospect St. building in the heart of La Jolla Village, the new nearly 5,400-square-foot space presents locals and visitors alike with an internationally inspired menu, handcrafted cocktails and a thoughtfully curated wine list, all delivered with an unparalleled level of sophisticated service in an elevated, yet welcoming atmosphere boasting panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.
In the kitchen, newly appointed Executive Chef Aarti Sanghavi (previously of Puesto and Searsucker) brings her finely tuned culinary acumen, along with her passion for honest dishes marked with an unmasked use of high quality local and sustainable ingredients, all meant to be enjoyed in their freshest form. Sanghavi has crafted a menu drawing inspiration from both her heritage and her recent travels through Mexico City and beyond. Mediterranean, Latin American, Asian, Baja Med and Indian techniques and nuanced flavors flow throughout Sanghavi's fare, all while remaining true to the restaurant's commitment to supporting local purveyors.
A handful of signature dishes from the restaurant's previous offerings remain, including the Seasonal White Fish Ceviche and Shaved Ribeye, but Sanghavi has given the rest of the menu her own fresh new take. She's mindfully divided the menu's offerings into several categories - Signature Raw Preparations, a selection of Small Plates, Shareable Plates, Salads and Sides along with a variety of Land and Sea options. A few highlights from the Signature Raw Preparations and Small Plates section include the Lobster Aguachile with chili-pear granita, scallion and cucumber, the Shrimp and Pork Tamale with salsa cruda and crispy pork skin, and the Opah Chorizo and Eggs composed of a 63-degree egg, miso, celery and grilled naan. Additional culinary standouts include the namesake Smoked Hake prepared with bone marrow, red onion, daikon and grilled bread, the Tuna Carnitas made with shallot, ponzu and serrano, the Seasonal White Fish with cilantro chutney, peanut salad and Chioggia beets, and the Spiced Colorado Lamb Loin complete with masa dumplings, leeks and watercress. Complementing the savory side of the menu, the culinary team has created several desserts representative of the global nature of the menu as a whole, with standouts including the Lemon Cake prepared with goat cheese mousse, meringue and blackberry.
Behind the bar, notable beverage curator Joan Villanueva returns to the team with an innovative stream of craft libations each with complex, yet balanced flavor profiles. With each cocktail purposely created to complement the inventive, chef-driven menu, Villanueva has divided his list into distinct categories, including Agave featuring the Naima with Tequila Cabeza, Aperol, Grand Marnier, Cynar, Sweet Vermouth and a dash of Fernet Branca, Dark Grain featuring the Japanese Spell with Nikka Coffey Grain, Luxardo and Green Tea Tincture, Clear Grain featuring The Bitter Truese with Vodka, Aperol, Yellow Chartreuse, Lemon Juice and Racer 5 IPA, Cane featuring the Heart Opener with Pitú Cachaça, Luxardo and Pistachio Fallernum, Grape featuring the Flying Over Jerez featuring Amontillado Sherry, Grand Marnier, Luxardo, Bitter Truth Violet, lemon juice, and finally Sweet Ends featuring the A Shot In The Dark with Cointreau, Crème de Cocoa, Ancho Reyes and Fernet Branca. Another notable addition to Villanueva's well-rounded beverage program is the offering of a digestivo, or after-dinner drink, which guests can select from a moveable tableside drink cart, conjuring up decades of cocktail nostalgia.
Rounding out the beverage program is The Hake's thoughtfully curated and versatile wine program. The impressive wine collection is comprised of nearly 250 red, white, rosé and sparkling wines from both Old and New World vineyards - "Old World," representing the traditional winegrowing regions of Europe and "New World," featuring varietals and blends from vineyards that are relatively new to wine production. In addition to the substantial bottle list, The Hake's extensive selection of 25 wines by the glass includes a variety of premium red and white wines including two library pours - one, a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley's Freemark Abbey Bosché Vineyard priced at $78 a glass. While at The Hake, guests can also take advantage of the restaurant's retail wine component giving them the opportunity to purchase their libations for home.
In its design approach, The Hake enlisted famed Mexico City architect Jorge Campos to breathe new life into the additional 2,000 square feet of dining space. Campos and his team of skillful designers reimagined the restaurant and bar to not only enhance the dining experience but to become an integral part of it. Whether opting to spend their visit at the custom-made, all copper bar, the 115-seat main dining room, the spacious patio terrace, or the 12-seat intimate private dining room, guests will notice that while each designated vantage point is unique and allows for a customized experience, all are unified by a timeless design aesthetic intended to transcend trends and provide longevity.
Much like Sanghavi's culinary approach, Campos drew from global inspiration to incorporate design elements from such destinations as Spain and the Mediterranean. With no design aspect overlooked, Campos sourced elements from all across Mexico, working with some of the country's most well-respected local artisans to create a space unique to San Diego and entirely handcrafted. Campos' clean, upscale design elements were thoughtfully intended to elevate the dining experience, encouraging guests to linger and enjoy not only the post card-esque ocean views but the restaurant's comfortable surroundings as well. Open and airy, The Hake's expansive new dining room is accentuated by wood-flooring to match the polished wood tables and seating while floor-to-ceiling windows offer a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean from nearly every seat.
The Hake is located at 1250 Prospect St. in La Jolla. For complete information, visit thehake.com.