We’re happy to welcome Kristen Larson from Wag Work Wine as a guest blogger for The Downtown Lowdown in honor of Dine Downtown:
As The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar approaches its first anniversary on February 6, the J Street establishment demonstrates with its’ Dine Downtown menu that it can hang with the longstanding restaurants of Sacramento.
My husband and I joined a few friends at The Red Rabbit on Sunday and I was pleased to see that most of the guests in the restaurant were ordering off of the Dine Downtown menu.
Dine Downtown week has been one of my favorite events in Sacramento since I moved here almost six years ago from Los Angeles. The restaurants and food in Sacramento are part of the reason why I love this city and Dine Downtown week is the perfect way to sample and explore options that I normally would try.
The Red Rabbit has become one of our go-to restaurants, however, and I often recommend it for vegetarian and vegans looking for a restaurant with more than one option for their dietary needs.
Although the Dine Downtown menu at Red Rabbit was more limited than some of the other restaurants participating, the food did not disappoint.
My husband started with the Del Rio Botanicals mixed green salad (sans blue cheese). It was tasty but nothing special, unlike the beet caprese, which I chose.
The beet caprese (pictured) was not only beautiful to look at but delicious as well. The arugula and marinated onions added a little kick and the citrus gastric did not overwhelm the salad. As much as I love beets though, the highlight of this dish was the warm goat cheese squares which were either lightly fried or baked with breadcrumbs and complimented the other ingredients perfectly. Plus, it was fun to break apart and smash open the tasty squares with my fork.
The Red Rabbit is as well known for its rotating cocktail menu as it is for seasonally appropriate food. After starting with the Krakow Salt Mine (Zubrowka, Apple Cider, Lemon, Ginger Beer, Salt), bar manager Matt Nurge’s signature cocktail, I moved on to the Buck Hunter (Bourbon, Lemon, House-Made Seasonal Jam, Vanilla Bitters, Ginger Beer), which the waitress recommended to compliment my Osso Bucco entreé.
The cocktail was delicious but didn’t necessarily add or take away from the main course. My husband’s glass of the Berryessa Gap Tempranillo, however, drew out the flavors of the meat and sauce layered on top of the creamy polenta so I recommend sticking to red wine if you want to pair with the Osso Bucco.
The only disappointment with the meal, personally, was the overwhelming amount of garlic on the broccolini. As someone who has an affinity for broccolini and an intolerance to garlic (an unfortunate intolerance to have, I know), I forgot to ask for the vegetables without it but my husband thought it was still delicious.
My husband ordered the oven-roasted half Amish chicken, which I barely got to taste because he ate it so fast. The chicken was flavorful and well presented but I was more interested in the Brussels sprouts that roasted with bacon to a perfect crisp.
Typically I would skip dessert at a restaurant and stop for fro-yo on the way home, but my husband and I both opted for the candy bar pie while our friend chose the crème brûlée. Our friend enjoyed her crème brûlée but said it didn’t have that “crack” that is so satisfying when the spoon meets the crystallized sugar for the first time.
The candy bar pie came in a shallow, ceramic dish about the size of a quiche and although it was not what I was expecting (I had pictured a Marie Calendar’s style pie), the layers of flavor were rich and excellent. We ended up saving one of them and made milkshakes out of the leftovers the next night (double win!).
If you haven’t tried Red Rabbit yet, Dine Downtown is the perfect opportunity to sample the type of food they serve and enjoy their casual, midtown vibe.
Kristen Larson is the co-publisher of wagworkwine.com (@wagworkwine), a blog for wine-loving young professionals with pups. By day she is the marketing specialist for CalChamber. When she’s not working she tweets about everything from social marketing to #TheBachelor @skristenlarson. For more information on Dine Downtown visit our event page, like us on Facebook, or join in the twitter conversation, using the hastag #dinedowntown.