Sunday, July 13, 2008
As soon as the staff meeting broke, my friends and I were the first to take seats at the bar at the brand-spanking-new Rush Street in downtown CC (along with faithful Triplecreme readers Jessica and Andrew). They took over the old Westwood One buidling near the movie theater. They have brick walls, exposed beams, and even raised the roof to accommodate an upstairs lounge (complete with stripper pole) and patio. Any downtown CC regular will recognize two of the bartenders formerly of Ford's, and one of the bus boys formerly of Tender Greens and Meltdown. The large French doors open to the front patio, letting light and a nice breeze inside. I don't know if it was Eater LA announcing their opening, or just the regular CC crowd, but by 9 o'clock, the place was packed. After our dinner at the bar, we made our way upstairs to the patio, then left around 10:30, and it was so crowded it might as well have been a nightclub in West Hollywood. Just packed.
The only (minor) flaws of the evening: numerous misspelled dishes on the menu (Monchago, chiken, ravilolis..), undersalted dishes, and no hooks under the bar for your purse. Other than that, it was perfectly comfortable, festive, and we throughly enjoyed ourselves every minute.
I started with a nice Albarino from Portugal ($8), my friend had a Manzaniila sherry ($7), and another friend had the biggest martini I have seen. The bartender estimated it was 7 ounces. Watch out. I like their selection of wines by the glass, especially the reds. They had wines from South Africa, Argentina, Spain...light on the familiar California reds. I like when a restaurant makes you try something new and doesn't just offer the stand-by California merlot or pinot. I enjoyed a very rich and smooth Montepulciano d'Abruzzo ($9). They also offer many 750 ml bottles of beer, along with a few on tap.
The entrees include burgers, steak frites, pork flat iron, ravioli, lamb chops...but most of the menu is appetizer/small plates, (think high-end bar food) of which we shared many. Right away my eye went to the roasted marrow bones with braised shortrib and onion marmalade ($11). Roasted marrow is always good, but the crostini they were served with were just dry and hard, and not nicely toasted.
My friend ordered the hummus crisp ($7), a thin flatbread spread with hummus with sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic, olives and herbs. It tasted fine, but I thought the color of the hummus was unappealing.
The truffle asiago fries were nice skinny fries, how I liked them, but hardly had any truffle essence. Also absent, the pesto aioli the menu said they are served with.
The crispy parmesan calamari ($9) were nice, especially when dipped into the accompanying lemon aioli.
I rounded off my grazing with the pot 'o gold mac n' cheese. Doesn't it look like something you may find at the end of a rainbow? Or at least, at the end of your diet? Just a mound of crispy, cheesey, mushy carby-ness.
My friends ordered the burger ($12) and sliders ($8) and we enjoyed them very much.
The food is good, not outstanding, but certainly satisfying. Rush Street is great for meeting up with friends for drinks, food and conversation, and upstairs is perfect for meeting someone new. Imagine going to a place like Houston's or Gordon Beirsh, but better. Contemporary comfort food, lively atmosphere, and pleasant service. You can't go wrong.
9546 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA
PS - At the end of your visit to Rush Street, and you find yourself unable to drive and don't want to wait an hour for a Culver City cab to pick you up...one of the owners told me they can get a heavily discounted room for you at the Culver Hotel across the way.