Location: 1119 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica, Ca 90401. 310-393-7050
Date: September 12, 2018
Cuisine: Farmer’s Market Californian
Summary: Excellent Seasonal New American
As a seasonal market driven California restaurant Rustic canyon can be counted on to mix up the menu a bit fairly frequently. It’s a friday night favorite for us, and we return every two months or so. Many of the specific dishes change, but the overall types and categories stay consistent. If you are interested in the previous meals at Rustic Canyon, meal 1 here, meal 2 here, and meal 3 here and meal 4 here. It’s been a long time since I last documented here, 7 or so years!
Across the street from Melisse on Wilshire.
The interior is straightforward.
From my cellar: NV Ruinart Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 92. Pale yellow. Complex, high-pitched aromas of orange zest, lemon pith, iodine, smoky minerals, anise and jasmine. Sappy and tactile on the palate, offering impressive volume to its ripe citrus and orchard fruit flavors accented by smoke and minerals. Finishes tangy and long, with lingering smokiness and an echo of anise.
The current menu.
Radishes and butter. Boy, this is a “simple” dish — some radishes from the farmer’s market.
Kong’s tomatoes on toast. aioli, aaron’s basil & anchovy.
Beets & berries version 2018.3. jj’s avocado, benne seed tahini, pistachio & dukkah.
Garnet yams. garlic butter, aioli, celery, pickled onion & benne za’atar. Nice dish actually. Vague middle eastern influences.
Grass-fed beef tartare. santa barbara uni, sorrel & potato chips. It’s trendy these days to mix beef tartare with uni. Not sure it added too much here, but it was good.
Grist & toll polenta. chicken confit, pudwill’s black mission figs, puslane & agrodolce. Rich chicken and the creamy polenta, quite nice.
Buttered ricotta dumplings. golden chanterelles & neal’s yard coolea cheese. These were soft and buttery. The chanterelles (in butter) were good too, but really it was all about the ricotta and butter.
A no mushroom variant for my son — which he refused even to try.
Kong’s long beans carbonara. pommes puree, house-curedpancetta, pecorino & egg yolk. Really tasted like a carbonara — texture of a giant green bean though. Delicious, if a touch awkward.
From my cellar: 2002 Faiveley Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Clos de la Maréchale. 90 points. Great experience drinking a 16 years old 1er cru. Rather sensual on the nose, still lots of fruit. More strawberry than raspberry. Interestingly very similar old dusty character on the nose as I almost always find in mature Bordeaux. Not unpleasant whatsoever. On the mouth less apparent fruit than on the nose. The most obvious feature on the mouth are the incredibly drying tannins. The wine screams for food. Ideally meat but even cheese smoothended the tannins noticeably. Very enjoyable wine.
Newport beach sand dabs. mcgrath’s shelling beans, the garden of tomatoes & fennel.
Whole roasted autonomy farms chicken. Took forever to come (probably 45 min since the “pastas” and was okay, but not really worth it. A touch dry too.
row 7 potatoes, sweet onions & pink blueberry (came with the chicken).
Overall, Rustic Canyon has continued on the Farmer’s Market California / Farm to Table trend that it helped start — the place is 12 years old, which is an eternity in restaurants. Now nearly every ingredient has a named source. Lol, soon the farmer will be joining us for dinner. Still, the food was good. Fresh and tasty. Although they do rely very heavily on butter.