#91 Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica from 101 Best Restaurants in America 2016

101 Best Restaurants in America 2016

Rustic Canyon / Facebook

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#91 Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica

This beach town "wine bar and seasonal kitchen," warmly but not exactly rustically furnished, is the preserve of chef Jeremy Fox, a veteran of Manresa in Los Gatos, the now-closed ultimate-vegetarian Ubuntu in Napa, and Daniel Patterson's Plum in Oakland. He has turned what began as a very good gastropub into a confident, idiosyncratic, vegetable-glorifying (but hardly vegetarian) restaurant that deserves to be ranked among the top eating places in L.A. Yes, the popular lavender-flavored almonds Fox served at Ubuntu are on the menu, and there are offerings like peas with pecorino and mint and garnet yams with green garlic butter and hazelnut dukkah, but then there's the pork terrine with chutney and mustard, the steak tartare with favas and yuzu, the hefty pork chop with polenta and strawberry–pine nut sofrito, and the really hefty dry-aged côte do boeuf for two with spring vegetables and chile butter. The room is always buzzing with diners who seem very happy indeed with such fare — though the well-curated wine list (AmByth Estate biodynamic viognier from Paso Robles, Tenuta San Francesco E'ISS from Campania, four vintages of Lebanon's elegant Château Musar…) doubtless has something to do with the contentment level.