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Oct 29, 2007 05:05 PM

Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica

Anyone else have a so-so time? We got a great rec but either things were off that night or it's just not right. I ordered the chicken (which I never do when I go out but it came highly reccommended) and it was delicious! But the fried green tomatoes appetizer was terrible- so bad we had to sent it back! Which I also NEVER do. My boyfriend ordered the skirt steak and it was cold. They did have good champagne cocktails and a good wine list, but what did anyone else think?

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  1. The times I've been have been just okay as well. Too bad because I would love to have a great restaurant so close by, but I just haven't had good experiences. Plus, it gets insanely loud in there.

    1. I did not enjoy my one meal there. The fish we had was so dry I felt like I needed an entire magnum (or two) of wine to wash it down with.

      1. I've only gone for lunch, my hamburger sucked (overcooked and just wasn't very good), so I haven't bothered coming back.

        1. Au contraire--I just had lunch at Rustic Canyon today with my husband and a friend. We had a delicious lunch. I had the vegetable pot pie. I have been disappointed in the past by so-called pot pies that were mere assemblages of vegetables, sauce and crust, so I inquired with the waitress ahead of time and she confirmed it was a "real" deep-dish pie, and so it was. It had a gorgeous puff pastry crust and a teeny herb salad sitting atop it. I thought the cream sauce inside was a tad undersalted but I like more salt than most people so that may not be a valid criticism. The pie was full of veggies and really tasty, although about twice as large as a person should eat; in fact, I took half home for my lunch tomorrow. My husband had the Niman Ranch flat iron steak with shoestring potatoes, and he liked it very much. The friend had the "hamburger salad," which is basically a hamburger patty with salad, like a low-carb alternative to a burger with bun. He liked the burger a lot and said the salad was fine, nothing special.

          The best part was dessert--we ordered a piece of pistachio-lemon cake with creme fraiche whipped cream and it was sheer heaven. It was served warm, and the cake is made with ground pistachios as well as whole ones on top, and is lightly tart with lemon. It was just spectacular and tasted so buttery and homemade. If they sold whole pistachio-lemon cakes I'd line up to buy one for the holidays. There is definitely someone talented making those desserts.

          The place is noisy, but so many places are. Our lunch cost $77 for three before tip, including two $6 bottles of sparkling water but no booze. It was less expensive than i thought it would be. I'd definitely go back. So don't write off Rustic Canyon just yet.

          4 Replies
          1. re: barham turner

            I did like their service. And I do remember their iced tea for some reason.

            1. re: Xericx

              Loved the iced tea as well. Served in a carafe with mint - no waiting for refills - no flavored tea as well which is a big plus.

            2. re: barham turner

              I was all set to go there tomorrow for lunch until I read about the noise. I will write it off... Thank you for including that essential detail.

              1. re: epop

                Drove by last night about 7.30 and there was a line around the block to get in - young crowd (= noise) - they must be doing something right - either in the noise department or the food.

            3. I agree with these posts at the time they were written but it should be noted that Rustic Canyon has a new Chef de Cuisine and the food quality has taken a noticable leap in quality and seasoning.

              It can get distractingly loud in that space but if you hang out in the bar area then the noise isn't nearly as bad.

              I used to be a little down on the place because I thought the food was rather pedestrian but things have been improving over there and the place could have some staying power. I'm glad since I've always loved the wine selection there and the pastry chef is great.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Frommtron

                Has anyone been since the new chef took over the menu? I'm going this Saturday...

                1. re: vinosnob

                  Here's a link to my review of brunch which was written after the new chef took over. To me, the food was still very underseasoned but maybe chalk that up to the fact it was their first day serving brunch?

                  1. re: mollyomormon

                    Thanks, I think :)

                    It's probably better going in with low expectations anyway. I haven't been to RC in a few years, but I remember loving the burger.

                    1. re: vinosnob

                      Ha! You're welcome.

                      Please report back because I'm always hopeful that it will improve. If nothing else, the desserts are consistently great.

                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        Six of us ate dinner at RC this past Saturday night. Our friends were waiting for us at the small bar and our table was ready so we had no wait. Place was almost full at a quarter to 8pm; yes we diner early, we have kids.

                        We started with:

                        - Cheese plate: midnigt moon goat cheese, Shaft's blue from Sierra Nevada and a Mt. tam triple cream from cowgirl creamery. All very good and came with a sprinkling of marcona almonds, walnuts, dates, a marmalade and two kinds of bread

                        - Mussels: traditional prep in a tasty broth with bread to sop it up. Fresh, plump mussels, no complaints.

                        - Squash blossoms: this was the favorite. Crispy and sweet blossom filled with tart goat ricotta.


                        - Sweet corn agnolotti - summer fresh corn filled the al dente agnolotti. Delicous, but small portion; we each got a tiny bite and this was described as "mid-sized" portion

                        - Tagliatelle with Ragu - another good pasta course with a properly prepared ragu i.e. the meat took center stage, not the sauce.

                        Overall, we liked both pastas. We recently ordered a few pastas at Fraiche and in comparison to RC, Fraiche's pastas are superior.


                        Flat iron steak and frites - 2 people ordered this dish. Flavor-wise, the steak was delicious. However, the temperature was near cold. Our server should have mentioned that it came pre-sliced so medium rare will cool down quickly. Good fries with an excellent aioli and catsup.

                        - Duck breast: perfecetly cooked duck with morels and fennel. Awesome flavor combos.

                        - Cast-iron Burger: I ordered this the first time I ate at RC and after talking with the server, I had to order it again. It's a killer burger.
                        A soft buttered bun is stacked with quality beef, onion rings, Pt. Reyes blue cheese and arugula. Not as decadent as Father's Office. One of my favorite burgers in LA.

                        -Seafood risotto: entree portion. Luxuriously creamy risotto with a variety of fresh seafood; what's not to like?

                        Desserts: this is where the dinner fell apart

                        - Ice cream: Vanilla and almond. Neither were good and we had to ask the server about the weird taste in the vanilla. Turns out the pastry chef thinks corn is a good partner with ice cream, yuck! The almond ice cream was better, but sorely lacking in salt and sugar

                        - Chocolate peanut butter tart: another bland dish. I don't know how chocolate and peanut butter failed to mesh well, but they did not in this dish

                        - French Doughnuts: thankfully, at least one dessert hit the sweet spot. These rocked!

                        Overall, despite the misses with dessert, we enjoyed our dinner. Service was very attentive and the room allowed us to carry on a conversation.

                        In the future, I think I would go back and sit at the bar and order small plates, the burger and a glass of wine.