Hendrix has launched its new seasonal menu showcasing the best of what the season has to offer. The new dishes are a collaboration between Executive Chef Rainer Schwarz and Chef de Cuisine Allan Aguinaga, focusing on the season’s most flavorful produce, much of which is sourced from local and regional farms. I’ve known Chef Allan since his days at Farmhouse at Roger’s Garden, so I’m well acquainted with his knowledge when it comes to using local sustainable produce.
I’m obsessed with octopus, and will almost always order it if I see it on a menu. Spanish Octopus Ceviche ($13) does not disappoint. The octopus is executed to perfection, possessing a great chew, without being the least bit rubbery. The addition of garbanzo beans lend another level of texture, while aromas of anise from the shaved fennel wafts a light wondrous fragrance without overpowering. The crispy tortilla chips add a welcoming crunch to the dish.
Hamachi Crudo ($15) uses the freshest Japanese amberjack, and pairs it with Fuji apples, avocado, blood oranges, in a bath of tangerine-yuzu dressing. The balance of sweetness with citrus from the tangerine makes for a very pleasant bite.
The Fried Calamari ($12) was perhaps one of my favorite items of the evening. Tender calamari strips are enveloped in a crispy batter, but never greasy. The accompanying dill-infused cucumber salad is fantastic and I loved the bright lemon aioli, served on the side. I couldn’t stop dipping my calamari strips into it.
In recent months, I have found myself steering away from Brussels sprouts whenever I see them on the menu. The reason is I’ve been finding am experiencing palate fatigue as it has been whenever it is more of the same everywhere. The Fried Brussels Sprouts ($11) at Hendrix incorporated Marcona almonds, dried cranberries, and a dollop of mint yogurt labneh — the best surprise ingredient, ever.
Roasted Cauliflower Steak ($9) is another stellar item which I enjoyed tremendously. The cauliflower sits on a spread of bright salsa verde. Beautiful Moroccan seasonings such as cardamom, ginger, and turmeric coats the tender cauliflower, giving it a wondrous aromatic finish in my mouth.
The Grilled Mexican Shrimp ($24) was flavorful and well-prepared. I loved the snap of the shrimp and the sweet roasted garlic nage but didn’t care for the white bean puree. I would have preferred the white beans served whole, for a better textural contrast in the dish. The crispy shallots were a lovely touch, but I wanted more of it.
A new addition to the menu is a section entitled “From the Rotisserie” featuring a myriad of meats straight off the rotisserie. Hendrix Meat Platter ($26 per person/minimum two people) is a great way to share a sampling of chicken, leg of lamb, and pork chop. The Weiser Farms potatoes which accompany are stunning, having been cooked with the drippings from the meat. Pour some au jus over everything and enjoy!
Hendrix is one of the few stand-out restaurants in south county which I highly recommend. It’s great for any night of the week, as well as celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and special events. Go try these dishes out soon before the season is over.
32431 Golden Lantern
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677