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dineLA: Rush Street

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Everything I really need to know I learned at Rush Street. 1.Share everything. The servings here are so generous and the food looks so appealing, it is impossible to keep your friends' fingers out of your fries. Luckily, you have a mess of fries and can afford to lose a few. After all, Rush Street generously invited LAist to sample their dineLA menu, so share and share alike.

We have long been fans of Rush Street, an open and airy yet cozy gastropub located in the Culver City restaurant cluster. On a cool February evening the patio is uncrowded, and the large glass doors are shut tight against the chill. The elevated leather booths envelop you in comfort and warmth. From customers to servers to the convivial manager, everyone appears content and relaxed.

The restaurant's American fare is well-represented on the dineLA menu. To keep things interesting, the house switches up one of the selections every night. However, they make certain each course offers something vegetarian, possibly even vegan, and they keep the flourless chocolate torte on the menu to accomodate people who can't handle their gluten. Last night the advertised Farmer's Market Soup was replaced with Black Bean, and the Grilled 10oz Pork Chop was replaced by a tender Hanger Steak Frites (much to our delight).

The Baby Greens House Salad with Balsamic dressing has a satisfying crunch and freshness. Tomatoes are a main feature, and what appears to be a topping of Parmesan shavings turns out to be Idiázabal, an aged sheeps' milk cheese from the Basque region.

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Rush Street is a mecca for mac and cheese lovers, so we skipped the black bean soup in favor of a beautiful little crock of melting, oozing cheeses. A mixture of Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella makes for a creamy, buttery cheese sauce that embraces the tender pasta. The crock is crusted with with a beautiful crisp topping of pure Parmigiano-Reggiano. So many people are enchanted by the adorable little crocks, they are frequently spirited away. 2. Don't take things that don't belong to you.

The Pan Roasted Salmon reveals a moist, flaky strata that makes your mouth water in anticipation. The lobster infused wild mushroom & asparagus risotto providing a bed for the salmon is creamy and not too al dente, not too mushy, but just right. The asparagus provides a surprising bright green crunch straight from the garden and the chunks of lobster are so large at first they were mistaken for roasted bell peppers.

The Steak Frites is made with hanger steak, a cut comparable to flank steak, but much more tender. It was briefly bathed in a light wash of teriyaki, offering another layer of flavor to the already delicious steak. Alongside, a haystack of pommes frites caused the table to go into a feeding frenzy, until the last bits of fries were being scooped up with fingertips like the last dusting of potato chips in the bottom of the bag.

We did not sample the third main dish of Curried Pumpkin Ravioli served with Smoked tofu, peppers, onions, and toasted pumpkin seeds, but it sounds fascinating.

From the dessert selection, the Apple Tart with calvados caramel & cream will have to wait for our next visit, which cannot come soon enough. The Flourless Chocolate Torte was dense, like a fudge, and was served over a raspberry coulis that had been concentrated to tease out an intensity and tartness similar to jam. Baked New York Cheesecake had a wild blueberry sauce that was as vibrant as the raspberry coulis and truly tasted more of wild blueberries than the bigger, blander variety sold in cardboard baskets. The cheesecake was so creamy, so pure and cool that it caused another battle of the forks, until finally politeness won out.3. Don't hit people.

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(Thanks to Robert Fulghum for the inspiration)