After a well-publicized remodel—and rocky soft opening—Rattlesnake Club appears to finally be finding its groove. A friend invited me to join her group of wine lovers for dinner, allowing me to sample quite a few dishes and some quality vino. Determined to enjoy the night air, they had chosen to dine al fresco on the unlighted patio with smartphones and minimal moonlight for illumination. I’m sure it made for an interesting scene to those watching.
A complimentary serving of seasoned focaccia and rolls was enjoyed, which I paired with a decent bowl of roasted tomato bisque ($9). Seasonal bruschetta ($9) was topped with tomato, eggplant, onion and herbs—and a really tasty order of steamed mussels ($15) was served with Spanish-style chorizo in a saffron broth. Large boards of charcuterie ($21) and cheeses ($17) came with dishes of housemade pickled mustard seeds and vegetables, and, of course, more bread. There was good variety among the items on the boards, with a large round of burrata (fresh Italian cheese) particularly interesting. I found the contrast of creamy-almost-liquid mild cheese strangely appealing against the bolder fromage.
A series of 12-inch pizzas followed, including a margherita ($13), basic pepperoni ($14) and Le Corrine ($17). The red sauce was zesty and the thin crusts fairly crisp, but the latter’s mix of fennel sausage, soppressata, bacon and rosemary ham was anything but basic. That pie had a lot going on. Though a Rattlesnake burger with hand-cut fries ($15) normally involves aged white cheddar, caramelized onion, lettuce and tomato on a housemade bun, the young man who ordered it medium-well skipped all but the cheese, plus a ton of ketchup. I politely declined a taste, but the fries were pretty good.
A healthy portion of very tender, braised short ribs with a delicious zinfandel glaze ($29) was perched atop grilled asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes—all of the components done perfectly. A plate of grilled Alaskan halibut ($32) with wild mushroom risotto, heirloom tomato confit and citrus beurre blanc was similarly well executed. My order of seared diver scallops ($25) with shaved artichoke, preserved lemon, crispy prosciutto and parmigiano reggiano was no slouch. The thin, fried meat was like a ham chip, and though I wished there was more of it, the expertly prepared shellfish had my complete attention.
We ended our evening with servings of creme brulee ($8) and bread pudding ($10). The custard was smooth with a perfect crunchy top, accompanied by fresh blueberries, strawberries and a schmear of caramel sauce. The same caramel sauce and plenty of thin-sliced sour apple completed a plate of well-received bread pudding; I had to move fast to get a bite in before it was gone. There are a few kinks still to be worked out here and there, but the food at Rattlesnake isn’t one of them.