maandag 6 december 2010

DINING OUT: Rush Street in Culver City

Last week, the upscale gastropub Rush Street in Culver City opened its doors to bloggers to sample its fall menu as well as a nifty prix-fixe Thanksgiving menu, and I was lucky enough to be invited. I’d never been to Rush Street — nor had I really ever been to any of the restaurants in Downtown Culver City that had been contributing to the neighborhood’s rejuvenation. Needless to say, I was excited about the opportunity, especially when I found out I could sample whatever I wanted — food, drink, dessert — all for free. The glutton in me nearly passed out from excitement. A modest tour of the food I pigged out on after the jump…


Naturally, I gravitated toward the special Thanksgiving drinks first.


Here’s the Caramel Apple Martini, which was — surprise! — very sweet. A bit too sweet actually. Didn’t love it.


I actually switched over to the pumpkin martini, which I thought might be too cloying, but it was actually perfect. The flavors were very understated, and the sweet nuttiness from the pumpkin spice was amazing. I could have had ten of these.


Me enjoying the aforementioned pumpkin martini.


Speaking of tasty, these petite grilled lamb chops were insane. They were topped with some sort of pomegranate parsley concoction that made them sweet, tangy, and totally irresistible.


The seared ahi nachos were highly recommended. They were solid, but not amazing.


This basket of french fries — doused with bleu cheese, garlic, and truffle oil — was insanity. I had to fight every selfish urge to share them with the rest of the table. One caveat: they were very messy. Definitely a fork endeavor (which is not my favorite way to enjoy fries).


My lil’ plate o’ starters.


Some shrimp egg rolls make their way into the mix. I enjoyed these and the accompanying sauces greatly. Others felt they were rather standard. Whatever — if it’s fried and comes with a sauce, I’m happy.


Someone ordered calamari, which seemed like a rather uninspired choice. I mean, calamari is calamari. That being said, this calamari was delicious. No rubbery texture here. It was shockingly tender and fresh.


Also highly anticipated was the mac ‘n’ cheese, which was supposedly a signature dish. Then again, which restaurant in LA doesn’t have a signature mac ‘n’ cheese? I had high hopes for this bad boy. I mean, just look at that bubbling cauldron of cheese? Sadly, I thought the dish was just average. It tasted a bit under-seasoned. Not terrible, but in a city full of this stuff, this one didn’t make a huge impression (don’t hate me, Rush Street!).


This butternut squash soup, however, had my eyes rolling back in my head. I love butternut squash soup, and I especially like it when it’s slightly sweet. Luckily for me, that’s exactly how this soup, which is available on the Thanksgiving menu, came prepared. Even better, there was a drizzle of truffle oil on top. Might have been my favorite dish of the night. Oh, but that lamb…


Continuing on a similar theme: here is some pumpkin ravioli. This proved to be another strong dish. Between the ravioli, the soup, and the martini, it seems as though Rush Street knows its way around gourds.


Meanwhile, I decided to make a foray into the restaurant’s extensive cocktail menu. This here is an exotic concoction called the Brazilian honey ginger. On the page it looked interesting, but the flavors didn’t quite come together for me.


I then moved on to the Gentle Ginger Lemonade, which was hardly gentle. In fact, it was so intensely gingery, that it was a bit difficult to drink. And yes the blurriness of the picture was reflective of my eyesight after two sips.


The desserts were kind of intense. There was a pumpkin pie that tasted perfectly lovely but no better than any other. And then there was this massive slice of red velvet cake that was surprisingly well executed. I’ve gotten used to red velvet cake being a dry vessel for frosting (not that I’m opposed); so imagine my joy when this hulking cake turned out to be moist and tasty. Win!


There was also some intensely buttery sticky toffee pudding going around. It was delicious, but a bit too rich for me.


We almost forgot about this random but ultimately mouthwatering piece of carrot cake that found its way to the table. It may have been the best of the four desserts.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the meal, and not just because it was free. I seriously could sit and eat the lamb and the soup all night long — with several pumpkin martinis to wash them down, naturally. A sense a return trip will be in order. Thanks to everyone at Rush Street for being accommodating and helpful, and if you’re looking for a cheap Thanksgiving meal, be sure to check the place out.

Rush Street
9546 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, 90232
2-hr free parking at the Cardiff, Watseka & Ince parking structures

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