The Hungry Cat

David Lentz grew up sailing the Chesapeake, and his cooking has an unstudied exactitude that comes from dealing with impeccable seafood. Bay scallop ceviche needs only a flash of sriracha; merguez sausage and clams benefit from a piece of bread still warm from the grill. There’s a right way to do things; that—and no more—is what a fish cook must do.

Best Speciality Margarita, August 2006

Fruity margaritas are rarely an improvement on the original recipe of tequila, Cointreau, and a splash of lime juice (our local favorite, by the way, being the house version served up at El Carmen). Add frozen fruit and sweet syrup, and the result is as much an adult taste sensation as a 7-Eleven Slurpee, with an alcohol content that’s just slightly less negligible. The strawberry margarita at theHungry Cat, in Hollywood, is a brilliant exception. The strawberries—selected from local farmers’ markets, then chilled, mashed, and bathed in a house-distilled sugar syrup—make the first strong impression, which is tempered by the freshly squeezed juice of an entire lime and stabilized at the end by the kick of two ounces of Orendain tequila. Presented in an old-fashioned tumbler, the citrus, sugar, and alcohol together possess a complex and colorful glow that might interest art photographers.