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A year after being named one of Diablo’s hottest new restaurants, Rustic Tavern is still smokin’. Chef Gary Rust—who co-owns the tavern with wife, Tressa—has started a daily rotating menu of must-try smoked dishes. We thoroughly enjoyed his smoked short ribs—fork tender, of course, but also divinely perfumed—and the jerk chicken, which is as succulent as fowl can be. Even the unsmoked meats, such as Rust’s signature grass-fed New York steak and thick Niman Ranch pork chop are a cut above. And while all portions are generous, there are plenty of lighter options, including an excellent Burrata caprese with shaved cucumber in summer, and a chopped kale salad with nuts and citrus anytime. The restaurant is quieter than a year ago—thanks to new acoustic tiles—and it’s well worth a shout-out. Lunch Tues.–Sat., Dinner Tues.–Sun., brunch Sun.
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