For the last four years, I’ve been intending to eat at Rathbun’s but, for whatever reason, it hadn’t worked out. When we were looking for a dinner spot for four and the place Jo had chosen had recently closed, I thought today might be the day. I went to Rathbun’s and there was an opening at 6:45.
We met our dinner friends and hit the highway. There was surprisingly light traffic and we arrived about twenty minutes early. They went ahead and seated us and we began surveying the menu – small plates, cold plates, big plates, side plates and second mortgage plates. Quite a plethora of choices. Our waiter, Topher (like gopher, with a “T”) was exceptional and very helpful.
Jo and I started with a flatbread (flat is too generous a word – it was thinner than flatbread, like a lavosh) with bresaola ( a beef prosciutto), boursin cheese, caramelized onions and a mission fig jam. We cleaned the plate. Our companions ordered a wedge salad (unlike a typical blue cheese and bacon wedge, this was a caesar wedge) and Blue Hill Bay mussels, with foccacia and smoked garlic butter. We’d never tried mussels, but they were kind enough to share. Even though two fourths of us swore they were wonderful, I now know that I’ll never need to order them.
For the entrees, Jo chose Atlantic salmon with lemon barley with Hen of the Woods and a couple of Sorrel leaves on top. (Pardon the darkness of these shots - I failed to use the flash). The salmon was good, but it’s rare to get exceptional salmon, unless you’re in the Pacific Northwest. She did thoroughly enjoy the barley with the mushrooms, however.
In 2008, Kevin Rathbun and his brother were on Iron Chef America, taking on Bobby Flay, cooking Elk. They won. When I saw one of the winning dishes (an elk chop with a blueberry demi glasse with a foraged mushroom and goat cheese polenta) on the menu, that nailed my decision down. The center part of the chop was excellent – about 4 inches in diameter and an inch thick and prepared to a perfect medium. The polenta, however, was pretty bland. To accompany, I ordered charred corn and Gouda.