new @ rainbow lodge

rainbow lodge
2011 ella blvd @ e. tc jester

what's new at rainbow lodge? a WHOLE LOT. chef randy rucker of former laidback manor and tenacity supper club has taken over the kitchen and the food has gotten a lot more... well, "rucker-esque." i wasn't really sure what to expect from lunch today - i have to admit that i wasn't the biggest rainbow lodge fan previously. but we were in good hands, randy's hands. as soon as the amuse arrived, a big smile creeped across my face.

amuse bouche from Rainbow Lodge

the amuse was a small bite of poached shrimp with cocktail sauce gelée and tangerine leaves. the presentation was clean and whimsical.

marinated raw scallops from Rainbow Lodge

our first course were sliced raw scallops marinated in miso, white soy, and sesame oil. it was served w/ a creamy miso vinaigrette, thai chilis, fresh dill and shaved radish. the inherent creaminess of raw scallops was accenuated by the crisp radish chips. the marinade was flavorful and benefited from the nuttiness of the sesame oil. the miso vinaigrette should be sold by the gallon. i would buy some, take it home and dip everything in it. the dill and chilis added a fresh, vibrant touch.

foie gras torchon on brioche w/ candied bacon from Rainbow Lodge

we were lucky to lunch on this particular day as the kitchen had foie gras torchon already prepared for the new years eve tasting menu. the foie gras from labelle farm had been cured in armagnac and sous vided. it was served on a piece of smoked brioche with candied bacon and blis maple syrup. tat soi flowers, rutabaga tops, and fleur de sel crowned the torchon. bacon and foie on one plate makes happy palates. and it did indeed.

rabbit & apple cider velouté from Rainbow Lodge

a bowl with a rabbit rillette and romanesco, a broccoli/cauliflower hybrid was set in front of me. then a rabbit and apple cider velouté was poured into the bowl. this was one of my favorite courses as it was so unexpected. a velouté is one of the four mother sauces of french cuisine. the sauce is essentially made from a stock (in this case a rabbit stock) and a blonde roux made from equal parts butter and flour. the sauce is so silky the word comes from the french word for velvet, velour. randy cuts the sauce with acidity from apple cider vinegar and the end product is magnificent: slightly sweet, rich, and creamy. the rabbit rillette was equally velvety and offered something more substantial to each spoonful. the romanesco was visually stunning and just barely steamed to add yet another textural experience into play.

berkshire pork belly w/cauliflower mushrooms from Rainbow Lodge

our fourth course was berkshire pork belly sousvided for 48 hours and then flash fried prior to serving. it was accompanied by cauliflower mushrooms (sparassis), leeks, and blackeyed peas in an orange blossom vinegar. nasturtium greens from randy's garden topped the plate and have a distinct peppery flavor. the blackeyed peas seemed to add some starchy creaminess to the plate and was a welcome reminder of the new year.

grilled tuna and fingerling potatoes from Rainbow Lodge

the fifth course was seared tuna with fingerling potatoes in a red wine bordelaise with sprinklings of fleur de sel and tangerine leaves - both very noticeable. the tuna was cooked perfectly. the fresh citrus notes from the tangerine leaves made this otherwise good dish something very special.

venison loin rubbed with cinnamon and "christmas spices" from Rainbow Lodge

our sixth and last savory course was venison loin seasoned with cinnamon and christmas spices. it was served with black kale, sunburst squash, and purple carrots in venison jus. the venison was not gamey at all but i would have preferred it cooked to a prettier rare. i also didn't really "get" the choice of seasonings although i appreciated the humor in incorporating some x'mas spirit on the table.

liquid pumpkin pie from Rainbow Lodge

liquid pumpkin pie was served warm in brandy snifters. it was rich in flavor but not in cream and we remarked how good it would be with the addition of rum for a great holiday drink. i love pumpkin pie and i loved this.

chocolate ganache from Rainbow Lodge

our last course was chocolate ganache with pistachios and wood sorrel. it was decadent and smooth on the tongue and a satisfying end to a long luxurious lunch.

i admit that i had some doubts about the relationship between randy and the owners at rainbow lodge: i was skeptical the business would not give randy the creative freedom to offer the kind of food he is blessed to be able to create. i'm happy to report that my concerns are no longer. randy will be rolling out a his new menu on january 6th.

and...if you don't have plans for dinner tomorrow night, it may not be too late to book a reservation at rainbow lodge and take advantage of their new years eve tasting menu. for details, go to randy's blog.


Anonymous said...

thank you...

Houston Foodie said...

Nice writeup and pictures. Did you use the fujifilm camera? If so, WOW. Flash or all natural?

neverfull said...

@rr - wow you're fast. do you have a google alert set up for rainbow lodge or your name?

@houston foodie - yes, i used to finepix f30 w/no flash. natural light is so awesome but i really think canons are still better for daylight.

Anonymous said...

9 courses? No way a working stiff like me could do something like that at lunch.

Get a job?:)

Anonymous said...

yeah but look who delivers the 9 courses...

Anonymous said...

Still full from the lunch orgy (no we did not go to TMC). The beginning scallop was so creamy good and miso vinaigrette should be bottled and sold world wide. The Rabbit course was my favorite though; well balanced texturally and the flavors resonated without overpowering the next course. Amazing job Randy. Good service too.

Brent said...

Wow, ill bet you had to go home and take a nap after that feast!!!

Unknown said...

Awesome review...haven't been to Rainbow Lodge for about 7 years...and I think it's high time I head back over there!
Great photos as well.
Happy New Year, Jenny

Anonymous said...

eating too much will get you fat. and you are fat already. fat = undesireable. you need more healthier options for your other readers.

neverfull said...

@anonymous - you make some good points and truthfully that's why i keep photos of myself off the blog. thanks, you really make all the effort i spend on this blog worthwhile.

so what do you think? next post: rabbit food-carrots or celery?

Food Princess said...

You rock - I love to read your reviews and I think your handle is memorable. Ms. neverfull, Houston is lucky to have you, It is too bad about anonymous who hides behind the anonymity of the internet to insult you.

Heart, FP

Anonymous said...

Never thought something so patently idiotic would leave me speechless. Yet it just happened.

hedrives said...

Wow, misha speechless. Boggles the mind.

Jenny, you beat me to RL to have Randy delight me. I need to check my schedule and head over.

Anonymous said...

@never fool- Again, why can't you blog on other cuisines without all the pretentiousness? Where's your topic on vegan? Vegetarian dishes? Obviously you failed as a food critic and alienated the rest of your readers.

To me, you are just a low budget version of Padma, not even close to a Tom or Bourdain.

Please get an "uber"-health and mental check-up, you are going to need it!


neverfull said...

@anonymous/"ava"- wow, thanks for visiting again. i love comments and really appreciate you taking the time to comment twice on the same blog post. i'm truly flattered by your regard for me comparing me to padma, tom, and tony. they are my favorite vegans too!

your concern for my well-being has prompted me to call my doctor in the morning & schedule a physical stat. fingers crossed! i'll keep you posted.

Anonymous said...

Excellent review and great pics. I've been anxious to make it over to RL, and it looks like Mr. Rucker is really putting his and the restaurant's best foot forward.

Any idea on Top Chef viewing potential :-) :-) :-)

(No Feeding The Trolls. They Bite.)

Anonymous said...

jenny asked about that before and we would love to host the top chef viewings. jenny send me a line and lets get the details waxed out...

Anonymous said...

neverfull will NEVER be a "real" food critic. needless to say living in a bubble with a pretentious attitude bestowed upon her by reviewing cuisine FROM HOUSTON is a bit asinine; dont you think?

Although I do commend the pictures from her blog, it harbors little substance.

Try to travel around the world, experience different cuisines, and gain some culinary qualifications BEFORE reviewing restaurants in a bubble like houston

What do I make out of this blog? A low budget version of anyone down the street who claims to be a "food critic"; in other words, a "wannabe". Good luck!

Perhaps, your next entry will force you to get out of your comfort zone and try something different outside of Houston.


Anonymous said...

Hey Ava,

One of the first things they teach you in kindergarten is that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it. Since you’ve violated that rule and thrown more than one punch, I feel you warrant the following bitch slapping. You obviously have a major malfunction in your decorum department. Based on your recent and unprovoked posts, I feel it necessary to “review you”.

Potentially, you are:

• a scorned former lover (possibly TV/TG who is not quite comfortable with your true identity thus explaining your innate hostility or a lesbian lover angry that imneverfull has been spending time in the company of men),

• a restaurateur who received a negative review from Imneverfull (in which case you should not worry about anything since you think the reviewer is incompetent and by extension of your logic everyone else will as well)

• a displaced worker from whom imneverfull stole your job (which would explain your hostility borne out of your own abject incompetence)

• an angry little (possible huge) woman who didn’t get many dates in high school and is getting less attention now and is pissed off at the battery bill for her “original rabbit” purchased off late night television.

• Just a lonely bitter person (obviously nobody wants to be friends with such a sour puss)
Furthermore, the only one who seems to a “pretentious f*&%” (intentionally using a big multisyllabic word for you coupled with a little that one you might be able to understand) is you. Where in the hell do you get off railing on Houston food? Hmmm, let me see; are you from NYC or some other hot bed of self-righteous twits that cannot possible fathom life outside the confine of their own limiting domains?

Here’s a suggestion, perhaps you should do something productive with your life and travel the world reviewing the foods you experience from your “enlightened” perspective. But alas you probably don’t have something productive like that in you. You are like the Palestinians who have not contributed a damn thing but terror over the past 300 years to global society getting pissed off at the Jews who have been successful despite wandering around persecuted for 3000 years.

In closing, shut the F*@$ UP! Go do something productive and positive with your life you pathetic little anonymous worm!

David M. Cornell II

Anonymous said...

Ava, you ignorant.... Oh, sorry, that's already been done.

First, it would be pretty silly for someone writing the "Houston Restaurant & Food Blog" to review eateries elsewhere. Suggesting such shows your complete lack of comprehension.

Second, Neverfull may well have traveled elsewhere, she may do it on a regular basis. However, I can't see how that would matter when she is reviewing HOUSTON restaurants for a primarily HOUSTON audience.

Third, I have traveled & lived around the country, and overseas. I can tell you that on my first visit to Houston I was struck by the variety & quality of restaurants. In fact, that is one of the main reasons I go back.

Fourth, if you don't like the cuisine she chooses or you think your opinion is 'better' - start your own damn blog!

Dr. Cyn said...

The only substance of your post is that neverfull should eat outside of Houston. Don't you think that's kind of silly since she lives here and the purpose of her blog is to inform, us, her community? Personally, I'm thrilled to see that someone is reviewing Houston food, because I think its some of the best in the Nation, at the most reasonable prices in a major metropolitan area.
Ava, next time a little more thought into your post would help it to have some weight.

Anonymous said...

@ Cornell,

To answer your question, I'm none of them. As a worldly New Yorker who has travelled over 34 countries, and a graduate of Kellogg, I'm 100% sure that you are nowhere near my educational standards. However I have to say that if you are going to be a "critic", "never full" should grow a thicker skin.

Now, David Cornell, I highly suggest you get out of "never fulls' vaginal spell, because obviously YOU are the pathetic twit swooning over him/her pretentious reviews.

Furthermore whether or not I am a restauranteur, keep your opinions to yourself, no one wants to hear about your political agenda.

Shall I say Shalom?

Anonymous said...

"I'm 100% sure that you are nowhere near my educational standards."


Bitch, I'm 100% sure that you are nowhere near Jenny's standards of class or good taste.

Kellogg might have an excellent MBA program, but they clearly also need to include some courses on "How Not to Be Completely Up Your Own Ass" and "Better Things to Do With Your Time Than Troll Food Blogs In Other States."

I'd kindly invite you to fuck off back to New York and attempt to get a life, Ava, but you're almost providing too much comedic fodder here for me to want you to stop. :D

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Ava? For someone who claims to have such exaggerated standards of education, my dear, you have a rather tenuous grasp of the English language and its basic tenets of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

But, please. Go on... :)

RightGirl said...

Nice review. Good blog for the business traveler to Houston. Mmmm... food.


PS - Is New York suddenly scared of Houston, because they're losing tourism revenue or something? I've done New York. The food is great, but people do eat elsewhere, too!

neverfull said...

btw, i lived in manhattan for 3 years. just call the NY State Dept of Taxation. they know me there.

Anonymous said...


I knew I nailed it – Pretentious New Yorker. Soooo, holier than thou.

As far as educational criteria and business experience, check me out on linked in. Prepped in Philadelphia, graduated Trinity University. No, a graduate of Kellogg doesn’t cause me any awe. Of course you are 100% sure that I am nowhere near your educational standards. For you not to feel (not be mind you) superior to everyone would be uncharacteristic. You are a classic example of the most reprehensible part of the NE establishment and represent a classic disdain for the rest of America. God has graced this nation by grouping large numbers of myopic twits such as yourself together and keeping the rest of us from having to suffer your actual physical presence.

Actually your reading comprehension leaves a little to be desired given your “Kellogg” education. You fit the bill to a “T” for my last point, which I will repost here to assist you in a remedial fashion:

“Just a lonely bitter person (obviously nobody wants to be friends with such a sour puss)
Furthermore, the only one who seems to a “pretentious f*&%” (intentionally using a big multisyllabic word for you coupled with a little that one you might be able to understand) is you. Where in the hell do you get off railing on Houston food? Hmmm, let me see; are you from NYC or some other hot bed of self-righteous twits that cannot possible fathom life outside the confine of their own limiting domains?”

You are indeed a lonely little bitter person.

To my later points, are you trying to be a critic of critics? Now that would be a truly pathetic occupation for someone as cultured and educated as you purport yourself to be.

Perhaps with your refined education you might be able to correct your own use of pronouns from your post.

“Now, David Cornell, I highly suggest you get out of "never fulls' vaginal spell, because obviously YOU are the pathetic twit swooning over him/her pretentious reviews.”

Alas, I’m far from any vaginal spell, I simply wish to drive people like you from my presence and that of my friends. As I previously intimated to you, try and productively to something add to positively contribute to this little old world of ours. If not, please simply retreat to your hovel and remain silent.

In closing, it does indeed appear by your response that you are a restaurateur. As far as keeping my opinions to myself, that’s not going to happen. So, why don’t you slither away under the rock from which you crawled since your presence here is undesired?


Anonymous said...

Rrrraarrr!!! Cat Fight! Step right up and see the emotional infant get pummled. Calling Anonymous stupid, would be an insult to stupid people.

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed. I love drama, but the only people getting crappy on my blog are from Sugarland (they seem to object to being called robots).

How do I get bitches from NYC to spice things up a bit? I am Jewish and completely out of shape. You can say "shalom" and call me fat all in one word! I also think NYC restaurants are overrated.

Please come! All you can eat asshole at www.tasty-bits.com

neverfull said...

@misha - stop trolling for trolls on my blog. get your own. and i know this will make you feel better so i'll say it: you are SOOO MUCH more pretentious than i am. and now maybe ava will start blog-stalking you.

Anonymous said...

6/21/09 Greatly disappointed in the food at Rainbow lodge. Dinner service tanked the experience. I would say the food combos didn't make it at all. The attempts at crafting new combos were so far off mark-- I hope they get a new chef and new management. Oh Valet service was just about non-existent on a Sat. Nite- which was the final blow. Not returning until I read the management and chef are replaced!

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