Editor’s Note: Scarlet Rabbit closed May 14, 2017.
Chef Rob Snow breezes out from behind a curtain just as you might imagine the Cheshire Cat to appear, billowy in the night sky. And with that, I began my journey down the rabbit hole at The Scarlet Rabbit.
This fresh faced restaurant concept features cowboy cuisine using the flavors of Texas and the Gulf Coast, complimented by a Cajun flair.
Sound like a mouthful? Wait, there’s more. Rob and his business partner, Rich Taylor, methodically pair southern style comfort food with an Alice in Wonderland themed bistro. The result is sophisticated plates with whimsical finesse and imagination.
Open only one week at the time of my visit, The Scarlet Rabbit impressed not only in taste, but presentation. At the front door, the newcomer is faced with a wall of doors, keyholes and odd shaped and sized items – just as you might recall reading about in the story of Alice’s journey down the rabbit hole.
The menu is a polished and delightful vision of that journey, with no kitschy twists and turns. Instead there is a classic view of Lewis Carroll’s strung out fairytale, plated right before your eyes. Rob said, “I wanted flavors of Texas, Cajun and cowboy in this bistro atmosphere.” And he delivers.
The Stimulating Journey Begins
To begin my meal, silky and unique Ancho Carrot Soup was served. Reminiscent of a Texas style tortilla soup, the carrot base and corn pico added just the right amount of comfort to this decadent play on storytelling.
Soup was followed by Bacon Shrimp Bites. This version of traditional bacon wrapped shrimp is creatively paired with Tiger sauce, pecans and a mango pico, served with crouton style toast.
This time I skipped the salads, which are fondly characterized as “Rabbit Food” at The Scarlet Rabbit. I moved directly into the “Serious Plates,” referring to the establishment’s entrée portions.
The housemade Smoked Rabbit and Andouille Gumbo may be plated in a dainty vintage bowl, but it fills you up southern style! With fried okra positioned atop the bowl, this Cajun style dish is a Scarlet Rabbit signature and a must try.
Just when I thought the Wonderland experience was over, we took a trip outdoors to wrap up our meal. Minutes later, Margherita Flatbread a’ la Scarlet Rabbit arrived. You cannot compare this chunky, clearly housemade and perfectly crisp flatbread to any other you’ve eaten before. Dripping in a sweet balsamic and adorned with yellow and red-orange heirloom tomatoes, this is a patio treat.
Each time you dine with the rabbit, you can choose from a dessert menu that is amalgamated from the pastry chefs who take residence at Chef Rob’s hardly older sister concept called Greenhouse Craft Food, also in Round Rock.
We’re All Mad Here
If you have an opportunity to visit with Chef Rob during the early stages of his concept launch, you will see that he and his food are anything but serious. You’ll sense a lighthearted love for food and entertainment the moment you walk in the door.
Teacup embedded chandeliers dangle from the ceilings, dripping with fanciful crystal embellishment. And be sure not to miss the actual scarlet rabbits that reside just inside the front door, beside a shelf full of Wonderland design.
According to Rob, “throughout the entire concept, my wife Sonja Snow was the deciding factor behind the Alice driven design.”
Beyond Sonja’s whimsical intentions indoors, visitors will experience the natural outdoor splendor of the Texas oaks that adorn the patio in the Rabbit’s backyard.
Needless to say, Chef Rob has made a foodie footprint in the burbs that will forever change the way food is served in the greater Austin area. As music is soon introduced to the outdoor patio, the nearly unseen Alice and the brilliant Scarlet Rabbit will leave their culinary mark each time they take a step.
The Scarlet Rabbit is located at 410 W Main St. in Round Rock, TX and open seven days a week.
Are you planning a trip to The Scarlet Rabbit in Round Rock?