A good place to hide out

One of the benefits of bloggery is that people come up to tell me about new restaurants, places that haven’t even started advertising yet.  I was fortunate that Eva Hyman told me about Hidout in Lafayette this week, and we had to try it out.

Hideout is in the space formerly occupied by il Giardino, tucked away off Mt. Diablo Blvd. It’s a tiny spot, with seating for 26 indoors plus a 10 person banquet table in a lovely side room.  Four more tables outside will be delightful in clement weather.  The tables were all taken, so Gail and I sat at the bar, gaining a view of the busy small kitchen.

We quickly made the acquaintance of JB Balingit, the youthful owner and chef.  He started out in his family’s  restaurant in the Philipines at the age of 10, and just never stopped learning and growing until now he gets to run the show.

Mike the minion and JB the boss

Mike the minion and JB the boss

The menu is California modern, with an empasis on pastas, just the sort of thing I like.

We planned on splitting the pear and feta salad, but the kitchen sent out a Lafayette salad, so that’s what we had. The house offered to bring us the correct dish, but that seemed wasteful, and we appreciated that they had properly divided the dish and brought us two plates.  In any event, the salad was mixed greens with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and cheese–you can hardly complain about that.  I cleaned my plate and snagged Gails blueberries.

Originally, I wanted the salmon, but when the waitress told me it was farmed I opted for the pasta putanesca.  The owner later told us the salmon that particular day was wild, but it was too late.  Fortunately, the pasta was great:

“Whore’s pasta”–tomatoes, capers, onions, kalmata olives, anchovies and garlic

It takes talent to take what is basically a dish popular because it is cheap to make and turn it into a feast, but talent is apparently in abundance here.  I loved it.

The wine list is well chosen.  Gail chose a chardonnay with which she was unfamiliar and liked it so much we got the bottle back to take a photo:

A chardonnay to remember

A chardonnay to remember

The Napa valley isn’t the only place to get really good wine. The next time there is a girls weekend at Ed and Sheryl’s house in Cayucos I think there will be a field trip to Babcock winery.

Gail had the mac and cheese, and once again Hideout made pedestrian comfort food into a delight.  The dish is exceptionally heavy, so she was simply forced to bring half of it home for lunch the next day.  Darn.

The food is good, the wine is good, the service is friendly and helpful.  Hideout is too small to successfully handle reservations, so seating is first come first served.  The owner says you can call before you come down to be put on the wait list, which I’d seriously recommend.  They are open for lunch and dinner and Saturday & Sunday brunch, closed Mondays.  We’ll be going there again.

 
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