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Dishes from Hippo, Highland Park
The full Hippo spread
Wonho Frank Lee

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James Beard Winner Matt Molina Wants to Redefine Approachable American at Hippo

It won’t cost an arm and a leg either

Highland Park has a new dining secret to know and love. It’s James Beard Foundation Award-winner Matt Molina’s Hippo, and he and partners Joe Capella and Randy Clement (Silverlake Wine) have officially turned on the open sign.

The semi-hidden Hippo rests right behind Triple Beam Pizza on Figueroa, but doesn’t skimp on the surprises once inside. The tall bow-truss ceiling has been completely peeled back to its original wooden layers, while banquette seating and a wide, open kitchen tie the entire room together.

As nice as the place is to sit in, though, everyone’s coming to eat Molina’s food and drink David Rosoff’s wine. Clare Ward is tending to the full bar, turning out summer-appropriate cocktails while the kitchen does fresh oysters, grilled pork ribs, and light tortellini. Surprisingly nothing on the menu reaches over $25 and portions are modest, meaning diners can mix-and-match a meal that may also include clam pastas, a bread course, grilled vegetables, and a delicate lemon cheesetart for dessert. The opening menu is below.

Hippo is officially open now, keeping hours from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. weeknights, with a jump to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Hippo is closed on Monday.

Hippo. 5916 12 Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA

Flower Mountain: Rum, Amaro, Lime, Cherry, Pineapple

Old Man Brunk: Rye, Poblano, Cynar, Vermouth, Pickle Brine

Grilled cauliflower
Corzetti Stampati with clams
Ricotta tortellini with mozzarella
Country pork ribs
Meyer lemon cheesetart
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