Things are heating up in sunny Huntington Beach: Pacific Hideaway has just opened its doors. We managed to steal a minute with Executive Chef JT Walker to chat about the flavorful cuisine he’s created. Deeply familiar with the local food scene and its growth over recent years, JT also highlighted his favorite food haunts for us.
Behind the Mouthwatering Menu
The menu at Pacific Hideaway is a vibrant spread of crudos, ceviches, tacos, bao buns and other globally inspired delights. But the philosophy behind the menu is perfectly simple. JT says, “We embrace the Latin and Asian influences Socal locals all love, and let the locally sourced ingredients shine on their own.” To produce big, exciting flavors, JT relies heavily on ingredients like chiles, lemongrass, ginger and fish sauce.
For a glimpse behind the deliciousness, take the show-stopping Crispy Fish. It’s a whole Tai Snapper with the meat separated from the bones and fried until crispy. JT adds, “We serve it with the skeleton fried, too, for those in the know looking for the tender cheek meat.” The fish is gorgeously presented with lettuce cups, green apple kimchi, bang bang cucumbers and fresh herbs like shiso, cilantro, Thai basil and mint; the dish creates a truly interactive experience.
And that’s the goal. JT explains, “I grew up in a family that cooks—not professionally, but well. We all believe we should live to eat, not eat to live. I’ve always striven to push that feeling in places I’ve worked—to create intimate spaces where people can hang out and feel like family.”
JT’s Chef-Approved Huntington Beach Eats
JT’s own parents and many relatives grew up right in Huntington Beach; he’s witnessed the city’s revitalization and is eager to offer his own contributions. “There’s a great mix of small, intimate spots and worthwhile splurges popping up,” he says.
Want the full scoop? Here’s JT’s guide to the fresh, tasty cuisine of this coastal city.
- Best Cheap Eats: The $1 carnitas or asada tacos at George’s Grill
- Best Splurge: Sunday brunch at Watertable
- Best Guilty Pleasure: The pizookie (yup, that’s a massive cookie in a pizza pan) at BJ’s Restaurant
- Best Tacos: Anything at Solita Tacos & Margaritas
- Best Other Mexican: The machaca burrito at Las Barcas
- Best beer: The Citraholic IPA at Beachwood Taproom
- Best Seafood: Bear Flag Fish Company
- Best Sushi: The bento box lunch at Sushi on Fire
- Best Pizza: ZeroZero39 Pizzeria
- Best Chinese: New Ruby Palace
- Best cocktails: Indian Summer (bourbon, sage and apricot) at SeaSalt