The Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar

26 Jul

Boy, oh, boy. Last night we (my hub, dad, and I) FINALLY ate at the new hot spot on J Street here in Sacramento. The Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar has eluded me for a while because, well, I have no sense of time. I’ve wanted to actually sit down and have a meal there since it opened, but either didn’t have the funds, company, or time to do so. I know, lame. Finally I treated my hub and dad to a meal there and we all left full and satisfied. The sophisticated seasonal menu, welcoming ambiance, and friendly staff made for quite the treat. Note: excuse the dimly lit phone pics – they aren’t perfect, but you’ll get the point.

We arrived around 6 pm and were seated promptly, which is always a huge perk. The simply printed menus were charming and easy to scan – also a perk. Despite my contacts being dry and my dad’s vision strained in the dim lighting (or dim for us) we reviewed the menu well enough to pick out a few choice dishes to sample. The waitress was quick to greet us as well and was more than happy to answer any questions.

I asked if it were possible to hear the gluten free options and I was pleasantly surprised. The menu had four sections: Farm to Plate (salads), Tastes (small plates), Buns (burgers and the like), and Plates and Bowls (entrees). The waitress said all of the salads could be GF, most of the Tastes were GF (she specifically mentioned the Watermelon Three Ways, Summer Rolls, and Portobello Frites), most of the Buns could be made GF (no bun I’m guessing), and a handful (if not most) of the Plates and Bowls could be GF as well. I was suddenly at a loss for what I’d order since I’m used to having maybe two or three options, not an entire menu.

I ended up ordering the Watermelon Three Ways, Summer Rolls, and Portobello Frites because it all sounded so good. You heard me correctly, frites, and that means fried. Word has it the RR has a dedicated GF fryer, or at least a fryer dedicated to dishes that happen to be GF. The frites were absolutely delicious and were coated in a rice flour tempura batter and served with an anaheim chili aioli. Delicious.

The Watermelon Three Ways included the following: red watermelon wrapped in a thin slice of cucumber on a bed of tzatziki sauce topped with feta, mild yellow watermelon (which I had never heard of) topped with a sprig of basil and fresh mozzarella with aged balsamic drizzle, and finally  black watermelon (which I hadn’t heard of either) with manchego cheese on a bed of tomato vinaigrette. Um, YUM. I knew I liked watermelon with all kinds of non-traditional flavors, but goodness. The red watermelon Greek-style was just delicious. I could have enjoyed an entire plate of that alone salad-style. The other two were fabulous as well. Refreshing, innovative, and simple.

The Summer Rolls were also surprisingly good. I don’t say that insinuating I didn’t think they’d be good, but I am not a fan of summer rolls, so I was hesitant. I had heard they were good, though, so I went for it. I wasn’t disappointed. The rolls contained a delicious mix of glass noodles, cucumber, daikon radish, carrot, fresno chiles, mint, cilantro, and thai basil wrapped up in rice paper and served with ponzu and nuoc cham. What I am usually not a fan of is the consistency of the chilled raw rice paper and the chill itself. However, the flavor combination and fresh consistency of the veggies contained within the rice paper was delicious and I found myself wanting to take another bite, and then another. My dad tried one piece, and I devoured the remaining three. My dad is an avid connoisseur of all things well … of all things edible and delicious, and he said the summer rolls were pretty damn good. So there!

My dad ordered the Classic Caesar salad, which the menu describes as, “Romaine Leaves, Croutons, Shaved Granna,” but to my dad’s surprise there were mystery flavors hidden in the tangle of fresh leaves and shaved cheese. It may have been the croutons, but he said it was delicious. I refrained from sticking my fork into the center of his plate, so I’ll take his word for it. He also ordered the Lamb Bocadillas, which were two sliders with “Mini Lamb Patties, Harissa Aioli, Manchego Cheese, Mint Chimichurri, Mache,” and those did not disappoint either. Harissa is a red pepper paste, and mache is a green (lettuce). They were served with a heaping pile of fresh fries and my dad could not get enough of the fries (of all things)! He said they were “killer” and that’s a good thing.

My husband ordered the Fried Egg Burger, which is a “Lucky Dog Ranch Beef Patty, Vega Farm Egg, You Pick the Cheese, Fixins (Yes, you can have it without the egg! It will not offend)” and he chose white cheddar, garlic, and the egg more firm than runny. It was a huge burger. In fact, a few “bites” (or attempts at smashing it in his face) he declared, “I’m going to have to fork-and-knife- this” and so he did. His burger also came with a huge heap of fries, to which he added garlic and they looked and smelled amazing. He devoured the entire plate of food.

For dessert we ordered two specials: a sorbet trio (GF) and Sweet and Salty Candy Bar Pie (NOT GF). My dad inhaled the pretzel/peanut butter/salted caramel/chocolate concoction pie while I enjoyed the sorbet. The hub sat dessert out.

My sorbet trio came with, well, three finds of sorbet (hence “trio,” duh). The flavors were fresh and sophisticated, yet comfortingly simple. The flavors included: watermelon + raspberry, fig + lemon, and vanilla + apricot with honey. Man, oh, man. The fig + lemon sorbet blew my mind. It was as though I was eating straight frozen figs with the scent of lemon, which I’m sure is exactly what it was! The flavor was so pure and rich that I wish I had gotten three scoops of that instead of trying all three flavors (although they were all delicious – don’t get me wrong). The apricot + vanilla with honey didn’t call to me per say, but was unique and pleasing anyway. The honey heavy bites I had were delicious, but I love honey, so maybe I’m a little biased here. The watermelon + raspberry just screams summer and was refreshing and tangy. I inhaled the entire trio in no time.

Aside from the delightful food, I also ordered a Basil Cocktail. I’m a basil lover in general, so of course I’d see it on a menu and have to have it. I’m also a gin lover and this cocktail consisted of “Gin, Fresh Basil, Fresh Lime, Pineapple Gomme, Absinthe” and a perfectly sized ice cube and basil sprig. Yum, yum. It was refreshing, just enough, and complimented what I had ordered really well. One was all I needed.

All of our food, my cocktail, and two sodas cost about 75.00, which at first glance caused me to do a double-take, but it is extremely reasonable considering the quantity and quality of food we enjoyed. I don’t eat out much and/or order more than one thing, so the price got me for a second, but it is well worth it. In fact, there is almost nothing on the menu over 10-15.00 and if it is over that it is an enticing meal like a pork chop with grilled peach salsa and bean cassoulet, or braised lamb shank with all kinds of delicious compliments. Worth it.

The best parts about this place are the ever-changing seasonal menu, laid back vibe, and sophisticated (yet welcoming) decor. They have a beautifully casual back patio and a cozy dinig room in the back that holds just one table for large parties (if I saw it correctly). This place is awesome, accommodating, and refreshing. Anyone in Sac or surrounding areas looking for a GF hot spot to try should check this place out!

The Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar: 2718 J Street, Sac, 95816

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One Response to “The Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Gluten Free Eats in Sacramento « The League of Urban Wifery - October 18, 2012

    […] menu at any given time (they have a seasonal menu). I ate there with no ill effects and wrote up a review about my experience as well. I definitely look forward to eating there again! Share […]

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