Hatchet Hall, the “rustic, wood-fired American” restaurant from chef Brian Dunsmoor, Jonathan Strader, Louie Ryan and Netty Ryan, is off to a hot start in Culver City. The name refers to the home of Carrie Nation, a long-gone Southerner who wielded a hatchet in violent fits against alcohol and the people who sold it. You won’t get your glass hacked in half when wine pro Maxwell Leer is pouring Chenin Blanc, but the team does bring a renegade spirit to the sprawling restaurant.
I really enjoyed Dunsmoor’s cooking at Hart & The Hunter and Ladies’ Gunboat Society at Flores, with Southern influences, California ingredients, and a strong commitment to seasonality. At Hatchet Hall, he also benefits from a massive wood grill that burns white oak and imparts a beautiful smoky quality to any ingredient it touches. At dinner, I was a big fan of his Wood Grilled Peads & Barnetts Pork Chop ($38) with pork sourced from Oliver Woolley, who raises woolly, fat-rich Mangalitsa pigs. This bone-in chop sports a considerable fat cap, a winning sear, and comes with a sweet burnt peach and luscious sauce crafted from pork jus and sorghum, a grassy, caramel-like sweetener that Edward Lee praised on Season 3 of Mind of a Chef.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.