Rare Society replaces Hundred Proof in University Heights today; though it was originally intended as a cocktail bar companion to Trust Restaurant, considering the close proximity of the two on Park Boulevard, executive chef Brad Wise and general manager Steven Schwob decided to shutter Hundred Proof this past Labor Day, reconfiguring the dining room and bar with Fort Oak collaborator GTC Design into cozier, food-forward space that represents their take on a classic steakhouse.
With a ‘Mad Men’ retro vibe, Rare Society brings another evening-focused dining option to an area that has yet to reach restaurant saturation — something that Trust, the 2016 Eater Awards winner for Best Neighborhood Trailblazer, accomplished to resounding success.
It continues the hospitality group’s wood-fired thread; this kitchen, now viewable behind an elevated window, centers around a grill fueled by raw wood logs. Described as a “steakhouse meets shared plates” menu, it’s built on classic starters and pastas, from lobster bisque and oysters Rockefeller to fettucine alfredo and linguine with clams, and a range of meats that includes dry-aged New York strip steak and Australian wagyu beef. Aiming to be more of an everyday steakhouse rather than an expense account splurge, there is a shareable platter that offers a variety of cuts paired with traditional sides.
In early 2020, the group will launch a restaurant project in Mission Hills that will also serve as a bakery and dessert hub for executive pastry chef Jeremy Harville. Diners can get a preview at Rare Society through Harville’s Parker House rolls, cheesecakes and layer cakes, and a new in-house ice cream brand called Mr. Trustee. Beverage director Frankie McGrath’s cocktail list, created with veteran bartender Brian Pregulidad, is all about modern classics, from an Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and Whiskey Sour to the gin and vermouth-based Martinez, thought to be the precursor to the Martini.
Open Wednesday through Monday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. the restaurant is accepting walk-ins as well as reservations via its website. Rare Society’s weekday happy hour runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.