“Cozy, little, undiscovered.” That’s how Crystal Kampling, general manager of Iron Rabbit Restaurant & Bar describes this low-key dining gem in Olympia. Its gorgeously plated, exquisitely savory cuisine draws loyal regulars who like to keep mum about their secret foodie spot.
In fact, the restaurant has been a bastion of creative Euro-international cuisine for a decade. Owner and menu genius Christian Skillings has succeeded every year in pulling together a dining experience that’s both intimate and intriguing, with fresh and inspired dishes that are locally sourced and community-supportive.
On the far-reaching, pan-world menu, what’s a top customer go-to? One popular choice, also Kampling’s favorite, is the MSG-free, gluten-free, vegan coconut curry. “Christian searched high and low for the perfect ingredients for our special curry sauce,” she says. “I could eat it every day, and I definitely recommend it for first-time diners.”
But the menu is seasonal and ever-changing. The challenge is choosing among such flavorful selections as blackened, spiced prawns with rum cream sauce and pepper jack cheese; hand-made gnocchi with marsala cream sauce, portobello mush-rooms and pecorino Romano; artichoke heart linguine Alfredo; and New York strip steak with bleu cheese bacon butter and garlic mash.
Coming up for summer is brighter fare—light, crisp vegetable-themed sautés and big, classic salads. In June, look for the Father’s Day special: A free steak with the purchase of a beer.
Last year, the restaurant underwent a minor facelift with new paint outside and new light fixtures inside. Iron Rabbit is eyeing expansion opportunities, too, says Kampling, although the location is still up in the air. “We keep getting busier every year, so another location isn’t out of the question.”
HOLLY SMITH PETERSON
103 Harrison Ave NW, Olympia
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