Rare Society steakhouse opens in Solana Beach

Inside the new Rare Society in Solana Beach
(Matt Furman)

A new dining destination opened in the heart of Solana Beach’s Cedros Design District on Oct. 29. The new Rare Society is a classic steakhouse with Executive Chef and Owner Brad Wise’s modern, signature wood-fired touch.

Wise’s Trust Restaurant Group is one of San Diego’s fastest-growing restaurant groups, starting with the foundation of Trust Restaurant in Hillcrest in 2016. The group now owns and operates the original Rare Society in University Heights, The Wise Ox Butcher & Eatery in North Park and Cardellino, Fort Oak and Mr. Trustee Creamery in Mission Hills, which pays homage to the first restaurant Wise worked at in his native South New Jersey.

“We’ve fallen in love with the shareable dining experience,” Wise said of the concept focused on gathering and plates meant not for one but for all. “All through our locations we got into this form of elevated overall guest experience of dining in San Diego.”

Rare Society is the group’s first restaurant in coastal North County and Wise likes the character of the design district and that it’s steps from the beach, “The air smells different, the people are different, it’s just a different neighborhood feel,” Wise said. “This is our change of pace and we’re excited to be a part of the community.”

The Rare Society concept pays tribute to a Las Vegas steakhouse. Wise said the menu is very well-thought-out: “Nothing is just an average Joe approach to things.”

Starters include oyster Rockefeller, wood grilled artichoke, thick cut bacon with a Korean-style Gochojang glaze and steamed clams in garlicky white wine butter sauce—don’t forget their popular house-made bread with truffle butter.

Wise said they have a “killer” raw bar selection with ahi tuna tartare, chilled Maine lobster, oysters on the half shell and indulgent caviar and impressive seafood towers stacked with oysters, clams, prawns and lobster.

The star of the show is the steak and guests can have their pick of an individual plate or opt for shareable boards called “The Associate” and “The Executive”.

A steak board from Rare Society.
(Matt Furman)

The boards are three pieces of the chef’s favorite cuts, like filet mignon, “intensively marbled and oh so tender” Australian waygu tri-trip or 40-day dry-aged bone-in New York strip trimmed by hand, placed on a lazy Susan that spins.

“That’s our opportunity to be a shared-style steakhouse,” Wise said of the Trust tradition.

The premium protein is served with sides like roasted mushrooms, wood-fired fall vegetables or twice baked potato with bacon, fontina cheese and black truffles. There are decadent desserts to cap off the meal include bananas foster cheesecake, caramel popcorn creme brûlée or a scoop of Mr. Trustee ice cream.

Rare Society found its new home on the ground floor of the live, work and play 330 Cedros building, the first ground-up project in Solana Beach to be completed in several years.

Much like the unique building that houses Fort Oak in Mission Hills, Wise was drawn to the modern design of the 330 building, with its ample public art. He said the owners of Cedros’ Homestead deli and market, Jamie and Marie Brawn, played a key role in him encouraging him to be their neighbors.

Wise started negotiating for the Solana Beach space early in the pandemic but he hadn’t expected it to last as long as it did. At one point, the group stopped moving forward but the landlord made a deal they couldn’t refuse.

The look inside Rare Society is vintage Las Vegas—GTC Design created a sleek and classy space with retro gold-paneling and tufted brown leather booths. With the lights dimmed and the bar buzzing, you could feel like you’re on the strip, save for the smell of the ocean in the breeze on the outdoor patio.

Launching a new restaurant mid-pandemic hasn’t been easy but Wise said Trust has a good operating model, lots of manpower at the executive level and plenty of opening experience to draw from. Like many restaurants, they have had challenges staffing the back of the house but he believes his staff is well trained and ready to go.

Since opening, he said Rare Society has received positive reviews and, most importantly, has been well received by the neighborhood, which he is happy to be a part of.

“We ended up with something pretty special,” Wise said. “This place is spectacular.”

Dinner is served Wednesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to close. For more information, visit raresocietysd.com/solana-beach