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Week in Reviews: Rustic Canyon Redux, Szechwan Best, Ronin Izakaya Bistro, Take a Bao and MORE

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S. Irene Virbila files a new review for Santa Monica's (the "regular Santa Monica") Rustic Canyon, only one year after her first two-star review, to say that it's still a neighborhood favorite even with new chef Evan Funke at the helm.

His panzanella and burrata salad is a delicious variation on the Tuscan classic, an oval bowl heaped with tomatoes, scoops of creamy burrata (made with mozzarella and cream) and large, soft chunks of bread that have soaked up the flavors of the peppery olive oil and vinegar. He's put a lovely fresh white fig, pear and endive salad on for this month too. The seasonal menus are a big part of the pleasure of checking in at Rustic Canyon at least once a month.
Of course it's still too loud ("Why won't owner Josh Loeb consider something, anything, to damp it down?"), she likes Funke's menu even with a few missteps, and she heaps loads of praise on pastry chef Zoe Nathan. All in all that means?another two stars. Today the "S." stands for "status quo." [LAT]

ELSEWHERE: Jonathan Gold gets his buzz on at Szechwan Best in Alhambra; Downtown News is at the newish and oddly named Master Chef in Chinatown; HC will easily replace cupcakes with Kiss My Bundt, and also gorged at the LA Greek Fest; Metromix tastes Ronin Izakaya Bistro on La Cienega; Caroline might put Take A Bao on her "very short list of possible pre-movie eateries at the mall."

Rustic Canyon

1119 Wilshire Boulevard, , CA 90401 (310) 393-7050 Visit Website

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