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Apr 29, 2007 01:49 PM

Rustic Canyon report

We tried this place twice when it first opened and had service issues both times and the food wasn't quite right either. We decided to give them time to iron out the kinks and so we headed back on Friday night. We had 10:30 reservations (that's one thing I love about this is open so late!) and were seated immediately. The place was probably half full at that point which was good as I could tell immediately that they haven't done anything about the sound yet. It's so loud! Even with the restaurant half-full, I still had a hard time hearing my boyfriend some of the time.

Anyway, they completely had the service kinks ironed out this time and we had fantastic service throughout the meal. Sarted with a bottle of Argentinian Malbec which tasted good to my very untrained wine palette. We decided to just order a bunch of appetizers so we could share and try lots of dishes and they did a very good job of pacing these so that we only had two plates on the table at a time. I should also mention that I very much like the flatbread with butter and maybe harrissa (I really can't tell what it is) that they bring instead of a bread basket. So, we started with the goat cheese, morel, and prosciutto pizetta, which was very good, albeit a little difficult to eat because the crust was kind of hard to tear. We also had the asparagus soup, definitely our least favorite dish of the night. It tasted very strongly of asparagus, but nothing else. It's hard to describe, but it just had an unpleasant, one-note flavor that tasted if it needed some seasoning, even if just a little salt. This lack of seasoning continued in some of the other dishes, like the sliced filet with horseradish cream over lightly creamed spinach. Again, the spinach was almost completely flavorless, I couldn't detect the flavor of horseradish at all, and the filet had the texture of good steak, but almost no flavor (I guess this is fairly typical of filet, though?). The other app we had at the same time was awesome, though. Mussels in some sort of garlicy broth that came with grilled dipping bread. We had to ask for more bread to sop all the juice...I breifly considered drinking it from the bowl because it was so tasty!
To finish we shared the cheese plate, which I also enjoyed. The waiter didn't tell what the cheeses were when he brought the plate, but I believe there was a goat cheese, manchego and epoisses. Came with plenty of toasted raisin nut bread, some walnuts and dried fruit.

All this was, I believe, somewhere around a hundred before tip. Even though it's within walking distance, it's still not somewhere I'll probably go regularly just because it's so damn loud and the food isn't seasoned well enough for me to enjoy it. I for sure will be back for those mussels, though.

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  1. the problem is that there aren't many great places around there to walk to, no?

    i haven't gone to Rustic b/c it is loud. thx for the report

    1 Reply
    1. re: epop

      no, there really aren't, which is sad considering how many people have lots of disposable income right around there. I mean, there's Melisse for rich, celebratory meals, but the places we walk to most often for regular dinners are Musha, Warszawa, and Father's Office (although that's usually a weekend afternoon thing so we don't have to deal with jockeying for a table).

    2. I will always go to Rustic Canyon for casual affairs - I just love their burger so much. If I get there on the early side, I can snag a spot at the lounge area of the bar, order up a bottle of wine, and get my burger or other apps - tasty fries, and there's an artisanal cheese plate my friends love. It's definitely not a place I would recommend for a really nice dining experience. I don't think I'd ever sit anywhere but the bar because I would just be too far away from my friends to hear them!

      1. I agree with you. My husband and i shared mix morrocan salad plate and it was fine, but nothing that exciting. My husband thought it was rather bland. I had the Halibut for entree and he had the roasted chicken since the waitress swore that it was good. Both were okay. The bill came too over $120 after tip. It was definitelye expensive for what it was. I woudl prefer Nook over RC anytime of the week!

        1. There are only three seating at Rustic and we arrived exactly on time for our 9:15 seating. We got a drink at the small bar as we were told our table was just paying it's check. Thirty minutes later our table was still paying it's check. By, 9:55 a man offered us three free appetizers when we sat down to apologize for the delay. We were finally seated in a cramped booth at 10:15, exactly an hour later. We had the soft shell crab, short ribs, and cheese plate which were all well done despite the short ribs being extremely rich. For our entrees we had a halibut, a corn risotto, and their burger. All three had to be sent back! The halibut was so salty a cow would not eat it, we were brought a corn soup instead of a corn risotto, and our burger was rare and cold instead of medium rare. When we got the risotto it was very good, the next piece of fish turned out better, and despite most of the cheese being cooked off my burger, it was still fine. I honestly began to feel I was on the latest episode of Hells Kitchen. By the time we were done with our entrees, our waitress had been replaced by either a new waiter or a busboy. It was hard to tell which. We ordered the cookie plate and we were very much enjoying it until we found a hair baked into one of our cookies. At this time we called it a night, almost. We first had to have them remove the extra bottle of wine from our check that we did not have. They also did not take our cookies off the check, but we were too tired to care at this point. Donkeys! We just wanted out. On the way out we did see our original waitress having dinner at the bar. I warned her to skip the cookies. I’m sure our experience was the exception to the rule, but with so many great new places to eat, we will never go back there again.