Review: R.T.B. Fillmore.

Once again pop-ups are the new way to get your name out there and test the waters of starting your own restaurant.

Chef Rodney Wages has an impressive culinary background and has worked at some of the Bay Area’s top fine dining restaurants such as The French Laundry, Benu, Saison, and Atelier Crenn. He took over the former Mosu space on Fillmore street to open R.T.B. Fillmore where he offers a $89 tasting menu with additional supplements. The sample menu online was definitely a reflection of his time spent at all these great restaurants, highlighting incredible Californian produce, various luxurious ingredients, and of course impeccable technique.

Toasted Grain Broth with Burnt Onion Butter (8.5-9/10).

Who knew a broth could be so intensely flavored with layers of depth?! The burnt onion butter that was melted into the broth just added an unctuous taste and even mouthfeel without feeling heavy. This broth was the best warm hug.

Soft Scrambled Egg with Sesame and Trout Roe.

I might be the only one who dislikes eggs so I can’t fairly judge this dish. I tasted a small amount and the eggs were cooked perfectly, soft and supple, and the trout roe added that nice textural component. Tommaso ate the rest of my dish and seemed to enjoy it.

Poached Oysters with Cauliflower, Potato, and Meyer Lemon (8/10).

Beautiful lightly poached oysters were over a creamy pomme purée and pieces of cauliflower in a bright Meyer lemon broth. Really delicious.

Broccoli “Takoyaki” with Roasted Garlic Aioli and Fried Shrimps (9/10).

This was such a fun take on Japanese “takoyaki”, a popular street food with octopus pieces inside the dough. Their version had broccoli inside and was topped with a heavenly roasted garlic aioli and tiny crispy fried shrimps. I could have easily eaten many more.

Grilled Lobster with Turnips, Buttermilk, and Matsutake Mushroom (8.5/10).

Succulent lobster tail was just kissed by the grill with charred baby turnips swimming in a tangy buttermilk sauce underneath. The thinly sliced matsutake mushrooms didn’t really add anything to the dish for me personally.

Shiitake Mushroom Tortellini en Brodo with Foie Gras (8/10).

These tortellini were beautifully made with just the right amount of filling and perfect texture of the pasta. I have to say I think the foie gras pieces in the broth weren’t  necessary for this dish.

Lamb with Abalone, Okra, Seaweed, and Succulents (7/10).

This was my least favorite dish of the night just because I didn’t care for the combination of lamb and abalone. I love both those ingredients separately but I don’t think they worked well together. I ended up eating my lamb meat first which was cooked nicely and was very tender. The charred okra was delicious and didn’t have that sliminess that people might not enjoy. The abalone was the highlight of the dish as it was expertly prepared.

Pecan Tart with Caramelized Onions and Cheese (9/10).

I absolutely loved everything about this dish. That beautiful browned pecan tart crust filled with caramelized sweet onions topped with melted cheese and fresh thyme. Sooo good.

White Truffle Cake with Cognac (8/10). Not Pictured: Grilled Ice Cream with Roasted Strawberries (9/10).

The pillowy cakes had some sort of berry filling and topped with a light airy cream and shavings of white truffle. I’m not sure how I forgot to take a picture of the ice cream but it had a wonderful light smoky flavor with a roasted strawberry sauce.

Looking back at the dishes, each was thoroughly thought out and carefully executed. However, my biggest issue at R.T.B. was the long wait time in between courses. All the courses are relatively small and waiting 15 minutes or more in between every course is too much and makes the diner less enthused. For me, that made the overall experience not as enjoyable. I understand the restaurant is still in the pop-up phase and I have no doubts that once the restaurant is fully running that the food will be amazing. Therefore my rating is an 8/10.

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