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Restaurants & Bars 2

Rhubarb, AVL

Jeff C. | Feb 22, 2014 09:29 AM

Finally got around to trying this place a few weeks ago, and it was very good if not quite great (yet). I love what they've done with the space, particularly the old soda fountain floor tile and layers of paint showing on the walls for an abstract effect. Too bad they've also gone for the ubiquitous "industrial" look with exposed duct work and dangling Edison bulbs that almost every restaurant in town now has. Our "snack" was the highlight of the meal: kale chips that were a miracle of molecular gastronomy, whole leaves flashed fried intact and blasted with salt and vinegar. Fantastic. Next up was a roasted cauliflower and brussel sprout dish that was also superb but served with a pedestrian ranch dressing-like sauce. The next course was by far the weakest, a shortrib in which not all the fat was completely rendered, resulting in a too-chewy, too fatty mess. This was served with what we were told was kimchi, but it tasted more like plain old cabbage. The last course was my favorite--sage fried sweetbreads with mini waffles, porcini honey, and oyster mushrooms. Sounds bizarre but it was masterful. Dessert was small but very good (and we were full by then anyway): an Apple, Walnut & Date Crostata, Wood Fired and Served with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Pedro Ximenez Sherry Drizzle, Oat and Date Streusel. Service was excellent. Pre-tip total for the above plus two beers was around $70 and more than fair. This is already a very good restaurant that should only get better as Chef Fleer and company continue to carve out their neuvo-southern niche.

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