While raw food tasting menus might conjure a certain true-crime Netflix series about a shuttered Manhattan restaurant, a new spot from Ravi DeRossi promises to be more light and playful.
Rabbit is opening Wednesday at 122 E. 7th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A, with Xila Caudillo as head chef. An employee of Overthrow Hospitality for six years, first at sibling restaurants Avant Garden and more recently Etérea, Caudillo ate a raw food diet when she was younger. Having considered what would make a raw food tasting menu satisfying more than most folks, her first dinner wowed the group. “It was amazing,” says DeRossi. “Xila blew us out of the water.”
Rabbit will be the newest in a collection of buzzy DeRossi restaurants: primarily women-run, vegan places in stylish spots that prioritize drinks as much as the food. Caudillo, who’s Mexican, also wanted Latinx producers on the menu, so natural wines, for example, come from Latinx winemakers and labels.
Low-alcohol cocktails that emphasize fresh-pressed juices and infused waters come from the highly regarded Sother Teague, who is behind Overthrow Hospitality spots like Amor y Amargo.
Unlike most full-service restaurants, there are no servers here; the handful of employees, including Lauren “Lo” Serrano, sous chef, and Katy Blank, general manager, deliver food and drink to diners at the marble-topped bar.
Rabbit, a reference to both the cute animal and Alice in Wonderland’s “down the rabbit hole,” quote is a bright little spot with 12 seats and a 13-course storybook menu with poems and drawings created by Gary Baseman. It features some familiar dishes reimagined, including tomato and watermelon gazpacho; beet ravioli with smoked pine nuts; lasagna with tomato and basil; saffron milk with sea moss and rose water, or al pastor tacos. The cost is $75 before drinks; seatings are at 6 and 8:30 p.m.
Formerly the Bourgeois Pig 18 years ago — DeRossi’s first bar and restaurant — had been chef Shenarri Freeman’s Cadence, which moved across the street. With Overthrow Hospitality opening a revolving door of restaurants, it made sense the group would keep the space and, within a few months, make it something new.
A few weeks after Rabbit opens, The Fragile Flour will open at the same address, a vegan dessert and wine spot starting September 7. (The spaces are separated by a residential entrance; The Fragile Flour is one door to the east.) Pastry chef and burlesque dancer Lady Ashton Warren, formerly at Restaurant Marc Forgione, will make desserts. Look for items like “tiramisu,” coffee-rum soaked chocolate cake with hazelnut “mascarpone,” or lemon chamomile cream pie with bruleed meringue.
“Challenging restaurants are our through line,” says Drew Brady, wine director for Overthrow Hospitality. Today, DeRossi is behind other spots like Death and Co., Amor y Amargo, Avant Garden, Proletariat, and Soda Club — 12 open or opening restaurants and nearly two dozen places total since he first opened Bourgeois Pig. The group is on track to open two more spots within six months.
Rabbit is open Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations are required and can be made via SevenRooms.