Sunday, July 17, 2016


Rustic Canyon
1119 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tel: 310.393.7050
$$$ ($30-$45)
Wed, 07/13/2016, 9:15pm reservation
   (3.5 Piglets)

Rustic Canyon is Josh Loeb's first restaurant out of the many restaurants he now is a part of (i.e. Cassia, Sweet Rose Creamery, Milo and Olive, etc). The name stems from the mountains of Santa Monica where his family's house is situated. It is a place where the decor is rustic and the food is seasonal with plates meant to be shared. 

The former executive chef of Ubuntu Jeremy Fox is now the executive chef of Rustic Canyon. His perception for Rustic Canyon is to bring simplicity and freshness while encompassing seasonal ingredients. 

The restaurant can be bustling at all hours of the day. The menu seems innovative enough. Unfortunately, many of the dishes lacked robustness and refinement. 

HOMEMADE FOCACCIA, BURRATA, AND BEET MOLASSES ($15.00): The bread was good and tasted fairly fresh. The burrata was nice and creamy and the molasses offered a bit of sweetness to the dish. Overall, it was good but nothing special. 

RICOTTA DUMPLINGS, BUTTERBEANS, SORREL "CACIO E PEPE," AND EGG YOLK BOTTARGA ($18.00): The texture of the ricotta dumplings were definitely light and airy. The butterbeans added a bit of texture. There was a bit of earthiness to the dish. The dumplings were nestled in a broth where the cacio e pepe shined through. It was good but not amazing. 
LOCAL RICE CONGEE, DUCK CONFIT, PRESERVED CHERRIES, AND THAO'S BASIL ($19.00): Interesting dish this is. The congee didn't have the right texture that I'm so used to, but then again, the rice is local. The duck confit was good and the cherries added a nice sweetness. Together, it meshed well but lacked a bit of acidity that I needed. 
POLENTA THAT COMES WITH THE PORK CHOP: Absolutely delicious and creamy
MY FAVORITE DISH. 16 OZ. STONE VALLEY FARM PORK CHOP, POLENTA, STRAWBERRY SOFRITO, AND CHIMICHURRI ($44.00): I'm very particular when it comes to pork chop. Most of the time, it's dry. This time at Rustic Canyon, it wasn't too bad. The chop was fairly moist. The strawberry sofrito did nothing for me as well as the chimichurri. I expect good acidity and freshness when it comes to chimichurri and unfortunately, it lacked that and seasoning. I wouldn't say it was amazing but it was the best dish out of everything I've tried that night. 
Overall, Rustic Canyon offers a variety of dishes that appeal to the palate, but unfortunately, it didn't deliver on flavor. The food is decent but not amazing. The restaurant gets quite busy, especially on the weekends. I've been to the restaurant a few times prior to this visit and I feel as though the food hasn't been as good. They also charge a 3% addition to your bill for the healthcare of their employees, which I'm not the biggest fan of these days. 

Notable dishes: Pork Chop

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