Crashing waves, sun-washed cliffs and glistening blue ocean stretching to the horizon form a dazzling scene on display at The Hake, which recently reopened in La Jolla after an extensive renovation. Executive chef Aarti Sanghavi (formerly with Puesto and Searsucker) has crafted a California coastal menu fused with global influences. Flavors of Mexico, Eastern Asia and India are cleverly combined with locally and responsibly sourced ingredients, creating a unique dining experience filled with intriguing and thoughtful bites.
Designed by Mexico City’s Jorge Campos, the restaurant and bar also embrace that coastal theme. Tabletops of light wood and marble cozy up with mixed leather seating partially dressed with patterned burlap. Reclaimed wood, vintage mirrors and recycled glass accents keep the space comfortable yet refined. The dining room is open and airy, allowing clear views of the La Jolla Cove from nearly every seat.
Small and shareable plates make up the bulk of The Hake’s menu, so it’s recommended that you order a selection for the table, starting with chilled preparations. Chef Sanghavi’s hamachi tiradito features sashimilike pieces of raw yellowtail dressed in an umami-rich white miso sauce; thin slices of jalapeno provide moments of fresh heat while bits of golden garlic sprinkled about the dish add a haunting depth of flavor. The chilled seared scallop dish is equally exciting, with shreds of daikon radish draped over halves of plump, sweet scallop. Creme fraiche and gochujang balance the plate out with heat and tang while Tajín-dusted chickpeas add some nice crunch.
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