The Hake Kitchen & Bar brasserie brings new dining model to La Jolla

Story & Photos By Kelley Carlson

Ricardo Dondisch is hoping the brasserie concept at his new restaurant, The Hake, catches on with locals. Named for a type of fish, the idea behind the establishment is to offer a gathering spot for people to enjoy globally inspired fare (primarily seafood) in a neighborhood-type setting.

“The Hake is based on our passion for simple dishes that showcase the high quality and freshness of ingredients,” said Dondisch, managing partner. Dondisch has opened several restaurants in Mexico City with chefs Federico Rigoletti and Roberto Craig, who oversee the seasonal menu at The Hake.

The Tuna Tostada is topped with ponzu scallion marinade, avocado and fried leeks.

“While these restaurants all embody modern brasseries, each has a distinct feel that caters to its colonia (neighborhood). The Hake will offer the same, serving adaptations of brasserie fare that fits the palates of San Diegans seeking fresh seafood, inventive preparations, sharable plates, and an environment where they can relax and have a good time.”

Located a few steps below street level, in a 3,400-square-foot space on Prospect, The Hake’s décor and atmosphere inspire a feeling of timelessness. The white-and-earth-toned dining room showcases mirrored accents and exposed wood. At one end of the marble-topped bar, fish and other delicacies from the sea are creatively prepared for dishes; at the other end, guests perch on stools or gather at the community tables while imbibing handcrafted cocktails, mezcal and wines from California and locations around the world.
The smoky mescal, which is smoother than its relative, tequila, seems to be a crowd favorite. It can be taken straight or in a specialty cocktail such as the Smoke & Honey, which also incorporates Lillet Blanc and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Another unique libation is the Cozumel Mule, composed of tequila rather than the standard vodka.

Certified Sommelier Sterling Watts is available to advise on wine pairings, with offerings such as The Seeker sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, which has hints of grass and citrus; and a fruity Castaño Monastrell rosé from Spain.

But guests don’t have to stay at the bar or in the dining room to savor their drinks or food. They can dine al fresco on the front patio, framed by greenery. Later this summer, there will be entertainment Thursday through Sunday evenings.

Seared Hamachi and Asparagus with Cajun spices.

While eating olive oil-infused bread from Sadie Rose Baking Co., patrons can pore over “snack” selections such as the mini Tuna Tostada topped with ponzu scallion marinade, avocado and fried leeks; or the lightly dressed, sashimi-style preparations known as “tiraditos,” which include Sea Scallops in a blend of yuzu, olive oil and sea salt, and the spicy Tuna Tartare on sea-salt potato chips.

The larger-portioned appetizers are designed for sharing: There are items such as Seared Hamachi and Asparagus with Cajun spices, and a Seasonal Farm Salad that currently includes a medley of artichoke hearts and goat cheese and is dressed with Champagne vinaigrette.

When it comes to the main courses, there are “sea” and “land” choices, which range from the fresh Catch of the Day to the Steak Frites, a tender 10-ounce portion of Niman Ranch hanger steak with maitre d’ butter and truffle fries. The entrees may be paired with sides, such as Pickled Vegetables — cured carrots, cucumbers and green beans floating in a liquid-filled glass jar.

If there’s room for dessert, guests may indulge in a slice of Caramel Toffee Pound Cake garnished with candied walnuts, in a pool of creme Anglaise dusted with cocoa; or perhaps the Key Lime Pie surrounded by a cloud of basil cream and a dollop of Meyer lemon gelato, while sipping coffee sourced from Pappalecco in Little Italy.
There are quite a few similarities between the lunch and dinner menus, but lunch adds more traditional mid-afternoon foods, from the Five Herb and Burrata salads to the Baja Shrimp Roll, Grilled BLT and the Black Angus Burger.

The Hake Kitchen & Bar
Address: 1250 Prospect St., La Jolla
The Vibe: Upscale, Casual, Relaxed
Signature Dishes: Tuna Tostada, Sea Scallop, Shaved Rib Eye, Seared Tuna Steak, Cayenne Jumbo Shrimp, Steak Frites
Open Since: 2013
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday
Phone: (858) 454-1637
Reservations: Recommended
Patio Seating: Yes
Take Out: Yes
Happy Hour: 3-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
On The Menu Recipe

Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story.

This week: The Hake‘s Cerviche

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Posted by Staff on Jul 9, 2013. Filed under Food, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “The Hake Kitchen & Bar brasserie brings new dining model to La Jolla”

  1. So excited to welcome this GREAT NEW LA JOLLA RESTAURANT! Deal Me In Deb loved the Tuna Tiraditos and husband devoured the Pork Chops with apple and endive. Great decour too! Love the vibe! We wish Hake much success!

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