Yes, Hal’s, in the heart of Venice, is a busily humming house of eating, and a hugely popular historical haven of high times. It features a forty-foot wooden and stainless steel bar, some splendid rotating artwork, Sunday night jazz, and, oh yes, some very cool dishes from a menu that features options for all three squares.
I recently spent an evening with my friend Lisa. As the moon floated higher in the sky, pangs of hunger popped up we found ourselves on Abbot Kinney, conveniently right outside Hal’s, so we decided to satiate ourselves at this popular chophouse.
Hal’s was bustling that night, and we were welcomed with a short stride to our table that was roomy and comfortable. It also gave us a good vantage point from which to people watch, and enjoy the stunning artwork, that included pieces from such world-renowned artists such as Ed Moses, Judy Stabile, Peter Alexander, Luc Leestemaker, Cameron Gray, Joni Mitchell, and Laddie John Dill. A feast for the eyes for sure!
The dinner menu features a “something for everyone” style list that includes such tempters as pan roasted breast of duck (spicy strawberry glaze, stir fry of black rice, purple cabbage, watermelon, crispy peanut, cilantro, Thai chile, $24.00), pan roasted breast of chicken (farro, spring vegetable ragout, $23.00), potato- crusted chilean sea bass (with spring vegetable rabout $23.00), and a delicious sounding, mixed seafood grill (shrimp, ahi, scallops, salmon, creamed garlic spinach, crispy onion rings, $24.00).
But, on this occasion it was burgers that beckoned our beady-eyed attention. Lisa went with the Hal’s hamburger ($13.00), opting for a “carb deprived” (personal choice) version, sans bun, that featured a side of sweet potato fries and all of the usual trimmings. Lisa also ordered their small green salad (artichokes, sweet baby tomato, blue lake beans and herbs, champagne vinaigrette, $7.00). I went for the turkey burger, ($14.00) as it comes. With a whole-wheat bun, chipotle chile tartar sauce, arugula, tomato, red onion, but I must confess that I swapped the Caesar salad for Hal’s famous fries, all for fourteen bucks.
Service was brisk and fun tinted, with our dishes arriving within ten minutes or so, hot, and presented, and equally attractively aromatic. This was no optical illusion either, because my turkey burger was super tasty and juicy. All of accompanying guests on my plate played the perfect supporting role, without detracting at all from the lead’s admirable performance. Lisa’s enjoyment of her red meat meet was self-evident, a guilt-free smile displaying a moment of deserved hedonism, for sure!
Hal’s really is a fun place, not kitschy at all, and with the visual appendages, the very human atmosphere, and of course, a pair of perfect burgers, offered us a most delightful evening.
1349 Abbot Kinney Blvd., (310) 396-3105
Mirror Contributing Writertim@smmirror.com