|Sideways view of the restaurant|
Getting there just before 5 pm, we were THE first people to enter for the evening service. The decor was like an upscale bar - taupes, with accents of black and chrome. Very soothing, romantically lit palette. The restaurant has a focus on sourcing ingredients "locally" (translation: Texas) and features products in that manner. For beverages of the alcoholic variety, for example, all beers on tap were Texas beers. IceDaddy enjoyed a Shiner and I took advantage of one of their signature drinks - a concoction of house-made sweet and sour mix combined with both orange and lemon vodkas. Yummy!
The menu is an interesting mix of gourmet "country grub" and healthier fare. That's likely a reflection of Rathbun's weight loss success and his ongoing efforts to maintain it juxtaposed with creating indulgent food he loves. Since we needed to objectively cover the menu, we chose appetizer, entrees, and a dessert.
Since one of our Jasper's favorites is their ham and gouda mac and cheese, we had to try the Brazos Valley cheddar mac and cheese as a side. I have to say, it was good - homemade pasta, sharp tangy cheddar, and bits of mushroom and shallot detectable in the baked goodness, but it just isn't the same as Jasper's. I'm sure if I hadn't tasted the Holy Grail of mac and cheese at Jasper's, my opinion would be higher.
We rounded out the meal with a decadent chocolate lava cake and a side of ice cream, both very good. The chocolate cake was moist with the lava-like fudge center and a definite taste of espresso to enhance the dark chocolate all nicely offset with the vanilla ice cream.
The verdict? If you're in the area, Rathbun's is a must-visit, especially since you can spend half the prie of Jasper's and still have a belly full of goodness.