Trust Restaurant Group and GTC Design Studio Partner Up to Bring a Retro Steakhouse to Santa Barbara, CA.

FRS Magazine
July 15, 2022

On July 13, Trust Restaurant Group will open the doors of its third open-flame, retro-inspired steakhouse concept Rare Society, in Santa Barbara, CA, designed by GTC Design. The San Diego-born Rare Society is the brainchild of acclaimed Chef Brad Wise who has woven inspiration from vintage Las Vegas steakhouses alongside a modern dining aesthetic, to feature his signature wood-fired, Santa Maria style-grilling for meats, alongside sustainably-sourced seafood, and a progressive cocktail program.

Rare 1.jpg 404.41 KB

Chef Wise’s love of Central Coast, CA, and live-fire grilling take center stage at Rare Society, which features a menu of premium proteins grilled on an open flame inside the exhibition kitchen and served with house-made sauces. Cuts of dry-aged ribeyes, wagyu, and Santa Maria-style tri-tip complement retro steakhouse classics such as Oysters Rockefeller, snow crab legs, and Caesar salad and are punctuated with indulgent touches like seafood towers and a decadent, playful dessert selection.

Signature menu standouts include Rare Society’s luxurious meat boards. Offering two options, the Executive Board and The Associate, the boards feature a family-style selection of cuts (chef-determined nightly) presented on a custom-designed, wood Lazy Susan. The shareable platters showcase a variety of the restaurant’s 30-40 day dry-aged steaks, as well as a selection of the kitchen’s favorite prime cuts. The boards are served with a variety of house-made sauces such as bearnaise, horseradish, and Chef Wise’s signature Santa Maria-style salsa. On display in stainless steel, meat cabinets are Rare Society’s dry-aged cuts, all aged in-house per Chef Wise’s specifications

Rare 2.jpg 440.43 KB

“When we were planning our expansion, opening in Santa Barbara was always a dream of mine. My wife is from the Central Coast and I love grilling Santa Maria-style. All our restaurants take inspiration from the region’s cooking techniques. Somehow this dream is coming true and here we are. We look forward to welcoming locals, who will find the menu familiar—we’re cooking over a live fire, burning American Red Oak, and serving tri-tip and salsa, but redefining it with our own approach. It’s my hope that Rare Society provides residents and visitors alike with a place to gather and build a community around the table—the core founding principle of our restaurant group.”

The bar program at Rare Society pays homage to the steakhouse cocktail classics, with American whiskeys and bourbons at the heart of its menu. The restaurant’s signature Rare Old Fashioned offers a riff on the classic by using dry-aged fat-washed bourbon, rosemary oleo, bitters, and a lardo garnish to add a subtle element of meat to its flavor profile. The menu also features a number of cocktails inspired by Rare Society’s Central Coast locale, including a Spanish Tile, made with aged rum, cherry liqueur, fortified wine, and absinthe. The extensive wine list offers a collection of approachable Old World and New World styles as well as a local selection from the Santa Barbara area that perfectly complement the restaurant’s protein-forward menu.

Rare 3.jpg 466.45 KB

Designed by GTC Design, Rare Society Santa Barbara is an homage to the infamous retro steakhouses that once laid claim to the Las Vegas Strip, alongside a modern dining aesthetic. The 166-seat space will offer indoor and outdoor dining on an attached patio. A grand horseshoe-shaped black quartz bar accented with gold fixtures and set against exposed brick walls is a focal point of the interior space and offers wrap-around bar seating. Tables throughout the dining room feature an assortment of marble inlaid tables and live edge wood-topped booths with cognac tufted leather seating, as well as a curtained-off private dining room that can be reserved for large parties and intimate dining experiences. 

Trust Restaurant Group is a San Diego-based hospitality collective helmed by Chef Wise that includes five distinct brands which run the gamut from fine dining to a butcher shop to an ice cream window. Numerous accolades, including a Michelin Plate Award and Condé Nast Traveler nod, have cemented its status as one of the premier culinary groups operating in Southern California today.