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Jul 30, 2009 07:35 PM

New Management at Rats

I would like to know from those of you who have dined at Rats recently, whether the recent management changes have made a positive impact on the experience. I am looking to go back there after avoiding it in the past few years.

For those who did not know about the management change, I am posting a passage from
"Stephen Starr has taken over management at the très posh Rat's Restaurant, the contemporary French destination in Hamilton Township, N.J. Chef is Kevin Sbraga, who won multiple bells at the Ritz-Carlton a few years back, was culinary director of Jose Garces' empire until earlier this year, and represented the United States in the Bocuse d'Or culinary competition last year. He spent five minutes consulting at Union Trust a few months ago."

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  1. Thanks for the heads up George. I may want to give Rats a try.

    1. The new chef certanly is a big deal but Stephen Starr's restaurants are not all that, certanly not Daniel Boloud or Le Bec Fin. I would wait on this one. Word is the rest of the front and back management will go as well and be replaced by Starr's own.

      1. The really important question is whether they will continue to have poutine on the menu! :-))

        The web site still lists poutines (sic) but I'm thinking the new chef may change things. The poutine at Rats has always been average at best but it's one of the few places in NJ that even serves this French-Canadian "delicacy".

        1. I have been to Rats quite a few times because it was a friend's favorite place to dine. I can only hope that they get rid of the over-bearing to the point of obnoxious server we always seemed to get stuck with (despite our requests NOT to be seated in his station).

          I also hope that they fix their smoking technique. My husband I went there on an anniversary, and he ordered a steak. The smoke overpowered the beef so horridly, it was inedible. Although we mentioned this to our server, nothing was done to correct it. We are not cheap, but when a dish is inedible, the least they could have done was offer another entree, or delete that portion from the check.

          I'll be watching the board for a review of Rats now that it is under new management and chef.

          1. How can a positive impact ever be made when the name is "RATS"...

            2 Replies
            1. re: HelloNewman

              Hello Newman :-)) :-))

              The correct name of the restaurant is Rat's, not Rats, and of course this changes the meaning entirely. So who is Rat? Well, you might as well ask who is Pooh, or Alice, or Harry Potter! Rat, or Ratty as many of us know him, is a major character in the classic children's book, The Wind in the Willows. Others are Mole, Toad and my favorite, Badger.

              Here's what it says on the Rat's Restaurant web site:

              "Why the name Rat's? In Kenneth Grahame's classic, The Wind in the Willows, one of J. Seward Johnson, Jr.' favorite books, the character Ratty represented everything a host should be. As founder of Rat's and Grounds For Sculpture, Johnson likens himself to Ratty who threw the best parties with the best wine. Likewise, the two share delightful imaginations and far-reaching dreams."