Rustic Canyon | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015

Rustic Canyon

photo by Anne Fishbein

Kanye West once boasted that he had forgotten better rhymes than most rappers had ever thought of (to paraphrase). After multiple visits to Santa Monica’s Rustic Canyon — and a few months staring longingly at head chef Jeremy Fox’s Instagram — you develop the sense that the former chef of Napa’s Ubuntu has similar creative qualities. The best dishes on the menu seem to be available for the briefest glimmer of time, such as a soup of deeply caramelized sunchokes offset with ripe persimmons, or a gorgeous plate of roughly torn falafel and Monterey squid accented with aioli nero. Rustic Canyon also has more consistent pleasures: The dark and handsome dining room remains one of the best places in the city to unwind with a plate of charcuterie and wine from an offbeat producer you’ve yet to hear of, and then end with a stellar seasonal dessert from the mind of Jun Tan. —Garrett Snyder