It took the Hopper family two years to completely renovate and restructure the La Cienega Boulevard space left vacant by the demise of the Spanish Kitchen, located on Restaurant Row in the West Hollywood section of Los Angeles.
But it was worth the wait, as Ian and Justin Hopper have created Hutchinson Cocktails and Grill, a chic eatery with a focus on the Indonesian flavors and dishes that their mother and grandmother have been cooking at home for generations.
The crispy prawn lettuce cups at Hutchinson explode in your mouth with spicy flavor — Photo courtesy of Ryan Tanaka / Hutchinson Cocktails and Grill
Chef James Trees brings those family recipes to life, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, a wood-fired grill and plenty of sriracha, spices and curries.
It's easy to make a meal of the "Firsts," an array of appetizers ranging from chicken or filet-mignon beef satays (served up with "Mom's peanut sauce") to mushroom spring rolls to grilled pork ribs glazed in ginger and pineapple.
Be sure to try the melt-in-your-mouth crispy prawn lettuce cups, with their spicy tamarind-coconut sambal: you just might need two orders of that!
Dark wood and family treasures make Hutchinson Cocktails and Grill a very inviting place to dine — Photo courtesy of Jenny Peters
But don't stop at the appetizers, for there's much goodness left to sample on Hutchinson's varied menu. Superior "Salads" include seared tuna paired with spicy lettuces; a vegetable summer roll with a satisfying crunch and a tasty ginger vinaigrette; and a charred skirt-steak salad made with glass noodles and a potent red curry vinaigrette.i
The charred skirt steak salad at Hutchinson — Photo courtesy of Ryan Tanaka / Hutchinson Cocktails and Grill
Signature entrees include Beef Rendang, Green Curry Fried Chicken and Crispy Tai Snapper; all have an Indonesian twist to them, with varying levels of heat and spice. And if too much spice is too much for you, then the chef is willing to scale back the heat as required.
The Crispy Tai Snapper is one of the delicious signature dishes at Hutchinson — Photo courtesy of Jenny Peters
Choices made on the wood-fired grill are varied, ranging from Wagyu skirt steak to Colorado lamb chops, as well as salmon or tuna or even a whole lobster; all are presented with a variety of sauces, both traditional (Bearnaise) and with an Indo influence (Curry Hollandaise).
There's plenty of specialty cocktails, wines and beers to wash it all down, as well as decadent desserts to end the meal on a sugar high.
The dark-wood surroundings, cozy padded leather booths and soft yellow lighting are incredibly inviting and also make Hutchinson a perfect spot for a late-night tête-à-tête with that special someone. And since they serve food and beverages right up to last call at 1:30 a.m. (with a 2:00 a.m. closing time) every night, it's easy to settle in and make the place your own.
Be sure to check out the beautiful Indonesian treasures and artifacts placed throughout the restaurant, mostly collected by Grandpa Richard Hutchinson Hopper (that's a photo of him behind the bar), whose lifelong love of Indonesia was passed along to his family, resulting in the creation of this marvelous new eatery.