HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >

Discussion

No Salt at Rustic Canyon?

Rustic Canyon promised so much greatness... farmer's market produce, attention to detail, organics, local farms, seasonality, a menu full of potential. And then failed to salt the food? I was shocked at my $120 bill of unseasoned soup, unseasoned ratatouille and my friend's unseasoned mussels and unseasoned steak. Dish after dish I kept sipping water and trying to "clear" my tastebuds, mentally checking myself for why I must be missing the salt shaker, trying to figure out why this seemingly good food is underseasoned... I was also looking forward to dessert! But when I only ate 1/3 of the soup and barely any of the ratatouille, I expected the waiter to say something, maybe "How was everything?" or "Was it to your liking?" Or, "Can I get you anything else?" Or any of the million phrases that might suggest that they CARE if anyone likes the food, but nope, nothing. Bus boys cleared the plates and the waiters never stopped by the table to check, so aloof, seemingly smug in the fact that their organic-farmer's market-menu-experiment with marketing and good press- would satisfy any of the 10 people that were seated in the dining room. My companion asked one of the servers if they used salt. He said that he would have to check with the kitchen (??) and came back saying they used a special kind - kosher (!!). When the server innocently brought the bill and said "thank you" instead of "how was everything?", I asked, "So, does the kitchen make a special point of not using enough seasoning so as to highlight the flavors of the produce and organic meats?" He looked insulted and said, "No,... I'm sorry if you felt that way, but they don't make a point of that at all." OH, duh. I left and drove straight to Vito's pizza to satisfy my hunger.

Any Rustic Canyon fans out there? I seriously doubt that I should give them another chance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I had a similar experience, except I wasn't snide to the server.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dave and Stuff

      Actually, I was really sincere when I said it... it perhaps doesn't come across that way in writing. I really convinced myself that I wasn't appreciating the flavor of the eggplant or the natural brine of the mussels and that I must try to understand Rustic Canyon's perspective -though, they had made no claim to this point- so I asked, out of curiosity, not sarcasm.

    2. You could always try adding some salt to your food after you taste it.

      1. Wild to read this. Went last night for dinner with my mother. It wasn't 6 people in the room, every table was full. While the food was very good, we all enjoyed what we ordered (zuchini pasta, steak, burger, rabbit...), we had the WORST service!!

        We waited 10 (!) minutes to see our waitress for the first time, when she asked if we wanted water (!). When we started ordering drinks, she suddenly disappeared, thinking we were maybe having a conversation with each other about wine? Comes back about 5 minutes later for a wine order - or maybe for another reason but we immediately start ordering wine to trap her there (she never focussed on us, kept looking around the room).

        One of us asks for bread, another notes that there's no fork and asks for one. She never brings either, never sends anyone to bring either. In fact, both come after asking several times, and finally arrive, with dinner.

        We never saw her again after ordering our meal. Never. She disappeared completely. After dinner, someone new shows up asking if we'd like dessert, a guy. No one ever asked how our meal was, if we needed anything (we flagged down a busboy to get ground pepper for all). But this new waiter did ask us how desert was. He was great, but would have been great on this "special occasion" night, Mother's Day, to have had great, even good, service, throughout our meal.

        1. Perhaps you should have asked for salt at the beginning of your meal, instead of being sarcastic at the end. I bring my own salt, because I like a certain kind.

          1. Lack of salt seems to be a consistent problem at Rustic Canyon. Here's my review noting that it was hard to even flag down a server to ask for a salt shaker the last time I went. Too bad, because I love the idea of the place:
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/510986

            4 Replies
            1. re: mollyomormon

              This is one of those items that I have much greater success getting from one of the bus boys, who don't seem to have invested as much attitude in the seasoning of the food as the servers sometimes do..

              1. re: Servorg

                If there would have been any busboys around I would have had no problem asking for a salt shaker. Sadly, no luck. I'll give them a pass that time because, like I said, it was the first day serving brunch and I don't think they had all the service issues totally figured out. But I just find it so strange that even though there's a new chef in the kitchen, the food is still undersalted.

                1. re: mollyomormon

                  I don't mind, (actually much prefer) under salting as it is much easier to add than take out. They just need to put salt and pepper on the table for ease of use.

                  1. re: Servorg

                    This is almost like there was no seasoning used at all in the cooking process to the point where salting at the end helps, but it still doesn't taste quite right. It actually might be a great place for those on low sodium diets, though.

            2. I ate there last night - we were a party of 4. I had been before, but only for appetizers and drinks at the bar, never dinner. The service overall was fine - not outstanding but not nearly as bad as some in this chain have described. Our server had basic competence in terms of the wine list and suggested just the right wines for what we ordered. My only criticism about the service, if I had to make one, was that I thought the lag time between finishing our appetizers and the arrival of our mains was longer than I prefer.

              Everyone enjoyed their food and there were no complaints about seasoning, salt or lack thereof. For apps, we shared the burrata panzanella (just slightly overboard on the fresh oregano for my palate, but overall quite nice) and the stuffed fried squash blossoms. For mains my group ordered the jidori chicken, the halibut, the burger and the raviolo with short ribs and ramps. Also someone ordered a side of asparagus. I was the one who ordered that raviolo - and absolutely loved it.

              While I and my group certainly enjoyed our food and wine, I think my real issue with this place (and what will likely prevent me from being a frequent diner there) are the prices. To me, all the apps seemed like they're $2-3 higher than what feels right, given what you get on the plate. Same story with the mains and the wines-by-the-glass list, for the most part. The most offensive thing price wise to me was charging $8 for a TINY (albeit excellent tasting) side of asparagus. I live in Santa Monica and walk to the Saturday farmers market every week on Arizona and I see what the vendors charge for a bunch of asparagus ... and for the restaurant to charge $8 for the portion we got is just ridiculous.

              1. I had lunch at Rustic Canyon today and had a fantastic experience - all of the food was seasoned perfectly - service was excellent - maybe lunch is different from dinner - My shortrib tartine was fabulous as was my friend's skirt steak salad. I read your post and went with a container of Hawaiian red sea salt in my pocket and never used it. The desserts we had were delicious as well - a warm strawberry blueberry crostada with house made ice cream - a sampling of sorbets with a tiny pastry to make invidual sorbet profiteroles - it was a great experience from start to finish. Give them another try.