Contemporary Italian fare is what's on the menu at Fort Collins' latest restaurant, RARE Italian, which opened last night. The new venture from the trio that started the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant group focuses on cucina povera, or "peasant kitchen." This means you'll see simple ingredients used to create the dishes of northern Italy.
Led by executive chef Alex Feldman—who trained under Mario Batali at Babbo in New York City—the kitchen is turning out antipasti like charcuterie, cheeses, and pizzettas, entrees such as seafood stew or monkfish medallions, house-made pasta and risotto, and wood-grilled meats. Steaks are aged in-house utilizing a glass-fronted meat locker, while desserts will change but are served for the whole table, meant for two to four people.
Wine is the focal point of the beverage program, offering a list that hits all the Italian classics—plus New World selections, in addition to a cocktail menu. Guests will be able to enjoy a drink at the exposed brick- and wood-lined bar that faces the entrance.
With the front of house overseen by general manager Daniel Carpenter, the restaurant overall seats about 100 in the 4,900-square-foot space, plus an additional 60 on the patio. There's also a 20-person chef's table with community-style seating, "which sits just across an aisle from the kitchen and offers a ring-side view of the hot line," says Carpenter. "No matter where you choose to enjoy RARE Italian, you'll be engaged from start to finish."
RARE Italian is located at 101 South College Avenue in Fort Collins. Hours starting January 2 are Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.