FEED ME: Hatch has a catch or two

By on January 27, 2015

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Billed as a taqueria, the new restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Mountain High Pizza Pie does boast tasty tacos. PHOTO: GERALDINE MISHEV

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Hatch is a sexy new downtown restaurant. To whit, clear light bulbs, their filaments showing, hang above the main bar; tables are communal and of a beautiful, thick dark wood; there are metal accent pieces; the stools are comfortable; and the artwork is fun with block prints of Mexican wrestlers. Not even those most familiar with Mountain High Pizza Pie, the restaurant that for many years occupied this space on Broadway a block west of Town Square, will recognize a thing.

However, while the details might be different, Hatch is just another fancy downtown restaurant with too-loud acoustics. Five nachos topped with braised grass-fed beef, chipotle chili slaw, citrus crema, queso fresca, pickled jalapeno and chipotle chili salsa cost $14.

Making this situation worse, if you don’t want to make an ass of yourself with strips of beef hanging out of your mouth and citrus crema dribbling down your chin, you have to eat these nachos with a fork. Cutting my second nacho in half, I couldn’t help but think of the Seinfeld episode where the crew marveled at the pretension of someone who ate a Snickers Bar with a knife and fork. Nachos, like Snickers, should not require cutlery unless you’re scooping up the dregs at the very end.

Since I went to Hatch shortly after it opened, I’m not holding service kinks against it. I’m going to assume that with Betsy and Emily at the front, service will soon be shipshape. Calico regulars will doubtless recognize Betsy, one of Jackson Hole’s best restaurant managers and the woman in the valley who very well might have the highest wattage positive energy around. These wonder twins might be Hatch’s greatest strength.

012815feedme.tacoEating at Hatch shortly before starting chemotherapy (for those wondering, I pushed back my original start date of New Year’s Eve to January 13), my taste buds were not yet rendered insensitive. But knowing what I had coming did prevent me from sampling what looked to be a delightful and inventive cocktail menu, and what has to be the valley’s — and perhaps the state’s — best selection of 100 percent blue agave tequilas. When a cocktail called A Mule Named Mescal ($13) was set in front of the diner next to me, the aromas of fresh lime and ginger made my mouth water.

Although there are entrees — platos fuertos — ranging in price from $15 to $36, since Hatch bills itself as a taqueria, tacos are what we tried. My boyfriend went for the carnitas ($10). I opted for the pescado (using dorado, $12).

Each order of tacos includes two, on house-made, GMO- and gluten-free corn tortillas. There are no sides.

The pescado tacos were tasty with big hunks of dorado. They’re worth $12.

The carnitas, too, were tasty, but tiny. A man would need about six of them to leave feeling full. I’d want three of them for $10, or more meat on the two.

The tortillas are delicious and have great structural integrity, which you might laugh at, but which is not to be overlooked when judging the awesomeness of a taco. Lacking structural integrity, a taco will collapse in your hand, pooping its innards all over your plate (if you’re lucky) or your lap (if you’re not).

Hatch has their tortillas dialed. Even with the excessive saucing I did to my second pescado taco, it wasn’t until the very final bite that the floor of the tortilla cracked. At that point, there was no danger of serious damage. The innards fell into my mouth, exactly where they belonged.

If Hatch comes up with some great après ski specials, and does something about acoustics, I can see myself becoming a fan. Until then though, I’ll take the bar in Local.

Hatch, 120 W. Broadway, (307) 203-2780, hatchjh.com, Open nightly from 5:30 to 11 p.m., reservations recommended.

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About Geraldine Mishev

One Comment

  1. Jackson Holer

    February 2, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Yahooo, they filled the niche that we are missing! Just what Jackson truly needed… tiny tacos @ $6 a piece!!! Affordable food at last!! Hopefully we can get a Ramen noodle bar with $23 Ramen noodle bowls next!

    On a more serious note: what if, (I know… dare dream… what if someone opened a kick-ass and affordable restaurant in jackson…? what if…?

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