Restaurant of the Week: RaPour

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Ra Pour, 7900 Kew Ave. (at Victoria Gardens), Rancho Cucamonga

Ra Pour is an ambitious attempt to create a Vegas-style fine-dining restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga, with an executive chef who cooked at the famed French Laundry and with live music on weekends.

I went there for lunch recently with a friend with a $25 Groupon for an appetizer and two entrees.

Ra Pour’s interior immediately impresses. The expansive interior is modernistic with a soaring ceiling, a glitzy bar and, near the greeter’s station, a water feature shimmering against the restaurant’s name in script. The restaurant seats 200. You feel you’re in good hands before you’re even seated.

We shared an appetizer of tempura mushrooms, a mix of five types of mushrooms lightly fried and delicious. For entrees, I had a lobster roll and my friend had the salmon BLT. The online menu doesn’t have the prices, but each item we had was about $12 to $14. With the Groupon, the appetizer was essentially free (but remember to tip based on the full value of the meal).

The salmon BLT was a perfectly cooked square of salmon with bacon, avocado and greens on a bun. It was best eaten open-faced. My lobster roll was a lobster salad, served cold, on a bun. I’ve had hot lobster rolls and loved them; this was only okay. Sandwiches come with either salad or fries. The simple mixed greens salad was the healthy choice; the fries are In N Out-like and, in my friend’s heretical view, better.

My friend also got a $5 (happy hour pricing) cocktail, an Anejo Manhattan with tequila rather than whiskey, with a slice of orange, and said it was made well.

Service was assured and friendly. Several tables got lobster pops, five balls of lobster on skewers and lined up vertically in a holder, which seems to be the appetizer to get. A lot of items on the ever-changing menu sounded tempting.

Mondays may be the best day to go. Happy hour is all day, and 10-inch wood-fired pizzas, typically above $10, are $5. Then again, if you like live music or a crowd, they have DJs or live music (when we were there, a stage held a full complement of instruments) on Friday and Saturday nights, which are probably less about food and more about drinks and entertainment (some of the tables have bottle service). On Sunday they have live jazz in the mornings and a gospel brunch. Ra Pour’s motto is “Eat Drink Lounge Listen.”

You exit to the very 909 sight of a Payless across the street and, at the corner, a TGIFriday’s. The funny thing is, a lunch on a Monday at TGIFriday’s is almost certainly more expensive than at Ra Pour, even though Ra Pour offers a far superior experience. Get your swank on and give it a try.

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