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“Hidden Gem”
Review of Rare Chop House

Rare Chop House
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Ranked #1 of 69 Restaurants in Mount Vernon
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $8 - $33
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Description: Come and enjoy the region's most exquisite culinary experience. Executive Chef James "Buddy" Rushing has designed a unique menu with all of the chop house staples and a constantly evolving special menu featuring the freshest local ingredients. Our restaurant also features a full bar with a wide bourbon selection, a craft beer selection featuring national favorites and ambitious local breweries, and a beautiful wine room stocked with wine from all over the world.
Reviewed June 29, 2014

I was traveling across the United States and stayed the night in Mount Vernon IL. I searched Trip Advisor and ended up at Rare. Walking in, I was amazed that such an incredibly classy and attractive restaurant was located here. Rare is the type of place I would expect to find in Downtown Vancouver, Washington DC, Seattle, etc. Not in a very small town out in the middle of southern Illinois. As soon as I walked in, a server who was carrying something past the entrance, stopped immediately, put what she was carrying down and greeted me. She seated me without delay. It was a Saturday night and they had live music playing in the lounge. Just loud enough to be entertaining in the dining room but not overwhelming. The space is incredible. Lots of glass, exposed wood, brick, stone and steel celling trusses give this restaurant an awesome look. I was seated in a great place in the middle area of the dining room facing the kitchen window. The kitchen looked ridiculously clean and well organized. It was obvious that an excellent chef was in charge.
Now to the food. I decided to have the Pork Medallions. Since I like my meat closer to well than rare I asked my server for Medium Well to Well. The wine came at the perfect temp and a short time later my meal arrived. I was amazed at how great my plate looked. When I think of pork medallions I think of small tenderloin cut pieces. There was enough pork on my plate to feed two people. I am not one to go overboard with the hyperbole normally, but this was the best pork I have maybe ever eaten in my life. It was cooked absolutely perfectly and I am not sure of the sauce but it was incredible. It also was very lean. I couldn't get enough. I made sure to tell my server how great it was and when the manager walked by and asked how my meal was I made sure to gush to him as well. The only detriment to the meal was the fact that the accompanying vegetables contained way too many peppers for my taste, as I can't eat them. Having known in advance I may have been able to work around that. But the veggies on the plate that I did eat were cooked perfectly. I managed to finish every bite and then, even though I was stuffed, I couldn't resist dessert as they have Smores on the menu. Intrigued I ordered them. Out came homemade graham crackers, toasted marshmallows in a dish and chocolate melted in a metal dish over a candle. Excellent. It was all I could do not to start taking pics of the food with my phone!
I do hope I have the chance to visit this place again. I worry as it was Saturday night at 7pm and the dining room only had about 8 tables seated. It seems like a tough spot for such a gem of a restaurant. I can only hope it continues to thrive. I have read some reviews that complain about the price. For my meal, including the entree, glass of wine and a dessert it was $40 including the tax. In my opinion very inexpensive for the quality of the food and atmosphere.

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2  Thank James S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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151 - 155 of 168 reviews

Reviewed June 29, 2014

What a unique and wonderful find in Mt. Vernon. If traveling through it is off the beaten track a little but worth the stop for lunch or dinner. Our server, Kristi, was knowledgeable about the food, drinks, and wine and very pleasant. We were there for lunch and started with the pork egg rolls and they were absolutely delicious served with 2 different sauces. A must try. Next we each sampled the two soups a home made cauliflower and a chicken and rice and once again we were not disappointed, with a very hearty serving portion and you could tell they were made by a chef. Then for lunch I had the fish and chips and the cod fish was thick, flakey and very generous serving again. The coating was light with a hint of cornmeal and fried lightly. Excellent. Fries were delicious. Hubby got the special filet medallions and it came with a delicious salad and garlic smashed potatoes with cheese and bacon on the top!!! Yummo!! We were here for a Rotary event but we will be back when traveling down 64 for lunch or dinner. It is located in an old building that has been beautifully renovated. Awesome wine area and bar!!

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2  Thank susiejc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2014

The restaurant is clean and comfortable. I last ate here for a professional meeting and was pleasantly surprised that the meeting room was so comfortable. The food was delicious. The service was good; but perhaps, the staff could use more training on serving larger groups. They were amazing at keeping the alcoholic beverages refilled, but not so good with the non-alcoholic beverages. I was asked if I wanted a second cup of coffee to which i replied yes. I never saw the waitress again. Aside from that bauble, everything else was good.

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1  Thank Teresa B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2014 via mobile

I have never been to this restaurant before so today I gave it a try. I had a blackened shrimp salad that was very good. The service was reasonable and Kristi checked back often. The decor was conducive to a nice experience. I recommend.

1  Thank Jim R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2014

My wife and I had the opportunity to eat here for lunch. The food, atmosphere, service, and everything else was awesome. This is a bit more upscale for our town but its a very refreshing change from the norm. They are very family friendly and we were ecstatic to have one of the owners come up and say she was very glad to see we brought our 8 month old in because they wanted more people to know that they encourage families as well as couples. The food was great and the whole experience was well worth it. It may be considered pricey for our area, but I believe a great dining experience is worth what you pay and this is WELL WORTH IT. We will be returning soon because my wife wants to come back for her birthday!!!

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1  Thank Aaron H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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