Welcome to this upscale hearth. The Red Rabbit Kitchen + Bar. The hip name that suggests friendly conversation over good grub and delicious drinks, all joined by an unassuming plus sign.
The host greets you with a welcome smile and checks your reservation before leading you to a comfortable black booth lit by a small votive candle surrounded by tiny jars of baby succulents. Your waitress approaches and introduces herself, endearing herself to you instantly as she guides you through the menu. A full carafe of ice water is at your table to quench your thirst as you politely discuss your surroundings with your table mate.
Imagine the confluence of warmth from the fire’s glow, the scintillating conversation, and the tantalizing dishes set before you. The stresses of the day fade into the candle’s flicker as you enjoy your favorite hand-crafted cocktail or a glass of your preferred wine. The Army Navy, a crafting of gin, lemon, and orgeat, an almond liqueur, delivers the bright and tart flavors the menu promised, complete with a decorative lemon rind in the glass. A cozy clamor of conversation surrounds you but is not so loud as to be distracting. The urban vibe is cool and meets the hearthy warmth just where it is supposed to. Reds and blacks bounce from the furniture in the candle lights’ twinkling glow.
The menu offers a plethora of delectable, globally influenced options, locally and sustainably sourced. The Farm Animal Lollipops catch your eye, a trio of meatballs in their own special sauces – a Natural Beef Meatball in Marinara, a Lamb Meatball in a Chimichurri sauce and a Chicken in Bacon Meatball in a Beer Onion Aioli. To accompany that, you choose a vegetable option, the Portobello Frites that arrive piping hot, tempura fried, and accompanied with a slightly spicy Anaheim Chili Aioli.
The tasting begins and you find that it is true – everything is better with bacon, the chicken meatball the obvious favorite. The marinara sauce is bright and well seasoned and the hand-muddled herbs in the chimichurri are the perfect compliment to the lamb. These are no kiddie lollipops. The portobello mushroom is perfectly tender inside its warm, crisp, tempura fried batter and the spicy aioli is the ideal compliment to this appetizer.
While it is hard to choose from all the delicious options on the menu, for the main course, you and your dining companion choose the Loco Moco, a natural beef patty topped with a fried egg and gravy, atop a bowl of local brown rice, and the Achiote Salmon, a flaky, tender pink filet atop sauteed spinach and delicately seasoned black beans. While you forget whether you are having brunch or dinner, you decide that the Loco Moco is a dish you would revisit at any meal, and the salmon is divine in its texture and flavor.
There is little room left for dessert but the waitress’s description manages to entice you to at least sample what they are offering. A Brioche Doughnut with Maple Glaze and Candied Bacon. Does bacon indeed make everything better? While it would be hard to improve on the pillowy essence of the brioche doughnut, the maple glaze and high quality smoked and candied bacon make a mouthful that pleases all the senses. Crispy, chewy, salty, sweet. The doughnut, you are informed, is made in-house by the pastry chef. Mmmmmm, not even at a local bakery do they make doughnuts this good.
Of course, there are the German Chocolate Croquettes – a dark chocolate ganache inside a deep fried, crunchy, coconutty croquette shell, served atop a homemade german chocolate frosting, replete with walnuts and more coconut. As your fork slides through the croquette, the dark chocolate ganache oozes out and melds with the frosting. It is indeed the best german chocolate cake you never had.
Midtown diners, beware. As word spreads of the first class patio offerings of the Red Rabbit Kitchen + Bar, you might have to fight for your turf. Well worth the fifty mile round trip from South Placer county, this dining destination is an experience to behold. Located On J Street between 27th and 28th streets, it is bound to be a hot spot for those who live near and those who come from afar, even those passing through the red rabbit portal of the Sacramento International Airport.
Mark your calendars. To make this culinary dream come true, watch for the Red Rabbit Kitchen +Bar’s Grand Opening on February 10, 2012. Now accepting reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 916.706.2275. Follow on Facebook at SacRabbit!
by Michele Jennae: Editor-in-Chief, The Indie Times; Owner, influenSPHERE