Is It Any Good?

Coastal cooking in Santa Monica.

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I swear to God, I was in a mood to punch Santa Claus…

Overreaction? A tad too much hostility on your humble author’s part? Well, just you imagine sitting in a car, behind the wheel for an hour and a half traversing the entire length of the city of Los Angeles. Glendale to Santa Monica. Not fun.

This is a forty minute trip tops in real life…that is, if you were to get into your car and just start driving you’d get to where I was going in about that time. That’s assuming no traffic, and no idiocy…which is just not happening in Los Angeles. Sorry.

So, I get there, and…I’m looking at my Waze App, and I’m thinking I’m decently close, let me jump the first parking spot I see. I see a Public Lot to my right, right next to the Victorian, I swing in, pay my $10 bucks, and…

…and I’m still three blocks away.

Not…fun.

Okay, get my Backpack and gotta huff it the rest of the way. Past a lot of crowded restaurants that…really aren’t necessarily doing it for me, until I arrive at the door at Hinterland.

Now, from what I am told, Hinterland has only been open for a few weeks, so it’s brand spanking new. It supposedly serves Coastal Cuisine, which to me means the Southern Cuisine of the Carolinas. (I mean, they got Shrimp and Grits on the menu. How South Carolina is that?)

It’s a narrow space. Submarines have more elbow room, but what it doesn’t have in room, it makes up for in depth. Fortunately, this sucker stretches back a ways. There are not a lot of tables, but enough, if you know what I mean. The bar stretches away from the Wine and Beer Service (no Cocktails, just wine and beer) for about twelve seats. They got a mad about of Waitstaff. No one is left waiting for long, but it’s tough sledding in trying to dance in between the Booths to the right, and the bar stools to the left. There wasn’t an accident the night I was there, so…kudos to the Waitstaff.  They put in a good night’s work.

Oh, and Hinterland is dark. Romantic, cool dark, but dark, dangit. You want to take and share pictures of your food, best do it at lunchtime.

So I roll up. Three blocks walking in the L.A. summertime early evening, you know when it’s still hot and it’s going to take another couple of hours to get cold? Yeah, by the time I got up to the bar I wanted only one thing…

Water.

Sweet, sweet, rare California tap water (there’s a drought on you know). Bartender took the time to drop in some ice, and that sucker was gone in milliseconds.

Little did I know it was the last hint of Ice I’d see.

Yeah, for some reason…and I’m going to list this out because…I’m not sure why it happened, but Hinterland, the restaurant itself? A bit on the warm side. Yeah. It’s like whatever Air Conditioning they had, was down to like a quarter power. No explanation from the Waitstaff, no reason given. It was also packed as hell…on a Thursday no less. And then when we asked for water (which is what you have to do now in California. It won’t just arrive), the H20 arrived…sans ice.

On a hot summer’s day…

Not…fun.

Yeah, my esteem drops a little bit.

But we got our food. We had a reasonably good time, and it only took about 50 minutes to get back home.

Tol’ ya. Traffic and Idiocy. It is L.A.

 

WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, you know me and my Seafood Allergy. So, I’m a bit restricted on the Hinterland Menu. I’m basically down to the Chicken and the Pork Chop for my menu options.

C’mon. It’s me. I went for the Pork Chop, or rather the Grilled Country Cut Niman Pork Chop.

My Dining companions got themselves a tray of Oysters. From Prince Edward Island, Canada.

The Oysters at Hinterland.

Look, I don’t know from Oysters. They’re experts. They rate their dining experiences on how good the Oysters are at times.

These? Okay.

Granted, I’m going by the word of my Dining Companions, and not my own taste buds. But they know from Oysters, and they said…quite emphatically, because they know what I do with the Food Blog…that they were good, they were okay, just not the best.

Finally, my Pork Chop arrived. I will not share the picture with you, because it was so dark, so little light at this point, that any picture taken would have to be done with flash, and flash washes out colors and makes the whole affair look so unappetizing. Trust me, it’s better you not seeing what I tried to take.

The Grilled Country Cut Niman Pork Chop at Hinterland.

As for the dish itself. It was all right. Again, kinda like the Oysters. Okay, not great. I’ve had thicker cuts of Pork in a Pork Chop, but that’s not the issue. It was served on a bed of Pepper and Corn, and served drenched in an overall tasty sauce, and still made the whole affair feel much much heavier than it was. The Corn was a good idea. The Peppers…well, at least to me, didn’t add much, so I skipped them. Overall a pretty decent Pork Chop. Still, I’d probably get the Chicken the next time.

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Well, I’m writing this assuming that the Air Conditioning situation hasn’t changed from my visit, so, my first tip is that you sit as close to the front of the restaurant. If you want to stay cool, the closer you are to the street the better you’ll be.

And mind the fact that it’s a narrow as hell space. Getting to the way, way back to the Bathrooms, will present a slight challenge. Not impossible, just tricky. Time things well.

Also, as a side note. You read the hours right. Apparently, the close for 15 minute at 3pm, and for 15 minutes at 5:45pm.

Go figure.

 

PARKING: Okay, if you read the first part of the review, you know that I majorly screwed up in the parking. I parked too far away. You may not have to…or you may find yourself in the exact same situation I was in.

Basically, traveling along Main Street, where the restaurant is, along the side closest to the ocean, no matter what direction you’re moving along, there are a number of public parking lots hidden behind all the businesses of Main Street. Now, as much as I griped about parking so far away, as I moved closer and closer to the restaurant, those Public Lots were all locked up.

So maybe it was a good thing I got to that space when I did.

Talking to the Bartender at Hinterland, he said that the staff either parked behind the restaurant on either 2nd or 3rd Street (He had a hard time remembering which), and walked down the hill to the restaurant. That may be a good way to go.

 

MAP DIRECTIONS:
Hinterland
2917 Main St.
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Tel: (310) 399-0805

Hours:
Monday-Friday: 6:00 – 11:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, 3:15 – 5:45 pm, 6:00 – 11:00 pm