This week was the soft opening of the new Blind Rabbit Burger and Whiskey Bar in Riverside. Brothers Jeff and John Stanford a few years back launched a popular food truck The Salty Fig. They then opened the Salty Fig as an upscale full service restaurant. They followed up The Salty Fig opening with the launch of the Blind Rabbit Jax Beach location. It seems the The Blind Rabbit outperformed the Salty Fig since after a couple of years it came to a close to make way for The Blind Rabbit Riverside. Located on King street right across from Kickback’s The new Blind Rabbit is in a prime spot to succeed.
The “make or break” for any restaurant is always the food and in that category Blind Rabbit hits it out of the park. When we reviewed The Southern Burger at The Blind Rabbit in Jax Beach we walked away thinking, “Wow! That might just be the best burger in Jax.” After another Blind Rabbit burger I think we can safely confirm that the Blind Rabbit has the best burgers in Jax. On this visit we tried The Holick burger($14)-Sunny side egg, Intuition braised pork belly, tomato, arugula, house made bread and butter pickles, lemon aioli, brioche bun. One of the keys to a great burger with a sunny side up or over easy egg on it is for the burger to show up with the yoke intact. We can report that was the case with ours. This burger came out with a beautiful sunny side up egg and a HUGE piece of pork belly. While we didn’t like it as much as the Southern Burger, it was a heck of a good burger! Before the burger arrived we decided to give the crab and corn chowder a try. It wasn’t really remarkable. It had a bit of a kick to it but was otherwise pretty bland. Given how many great appetizers they offer definitely skip it and go for something else. For sides The Blind Rabbit offers anything from goat cheese grits to Mac n cheese to red beans and rice. They also have a list of “roots” which you can also order as your side. This list includes hand cut fries, southern potato salad, bourbon sweet potatoes, and more ($4). You also get your choice from a list of interesting sauce options such as creole mayo, spicy ketchup, and peach habanero hot sauce. We tried the Mac n cheese and the bourbon whipped sweet potatoes. As a self proclaimed Mac n cheese connoisseur I must say this Mac n cheese was top notch. It was creamy and cheesy but not in an overwhelming sort of way. It was topped with bread crumbs. Often I find that breadcrumbs can detract from the flavor and texture of the dish but in this case the were the perfect textural addition adding a nice crunch to each bite. The bourbon whipped sweet potatoes had fantastic flavor and a beautiful sweetness colored by a mild hint of bourbon.
We came with a very large group and I’d have to say that for a soft opening the service was pretty darn good. Some of the dishes came out just a bit slower than we’d have liked, but the wait wasn’t really all that long. As far as soft opening service goes I’d say this fits in the top tier of the ones we’ve been too. Our waitress specifically was outstanding. She did a great job checking in during the meal. My drink got refilled before I could ask. She was really on top of things. She even chased me out the door when I forgot my to go box. Our biggest complaint with The Blind Rabbit is that the place is really dark. During the day time there’s a fair amount of natural light to brighten the place up but at night it’s one of the darkest restaurants in town. Having been in the building when this space was Blind Fig, I know it’s this way intentionally. I guess it’s just a personal preference thing. Overall we’re really impressed with the Blind Rabbit. We believe it has a promising future in Riverside for years to come.
Address: 901 King St., Jacksonville, FL 32204