Rabbit, the latest effort from Tangysweet and Red Velvet Cupcakery proprietor Aaron Gordon, is scheduled to open in Clarendon in late July.

Just to be clear: the place derives its name from the phrase “rabbit food,” that is, salads and such, which it will serve. Not actual rabbit, as in bunny meat, a rep recently confirmed for Y&H.

Consider the venue’s signature “rabbit salad,” featuring roasted carrots, shaved carrots, diced carrots—well, you get the idea. Basically, it’s the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. of salad. Gordon has enlisted former Café Atlántico head chef Katsuya Fukushima to develop the menu for the glorified 2,000-square-foot salad bar.

As part of its grand opening celebrations, the venue plans to hand out free Red Velvet cupcakes. Full announcement after the jump.

Rabbit Brings Innovative, Seasonal Salads with Grilled-To-Order Proteins and

Red Velvet Cupcakery Confections to Clarendon

Arlington, Virginia, (July 5, 2011) — Aaron Gordon, owner of the Red Velvet Cupcakery and Tangysweet frozen yogurt shops in Washington, DC, Reston, and Tucson, Arizona is pleased to debut the opening of his next project, Rabbit, located at3035 Clarendon Boulevard in Arlington, VA.  As an introduction to the neighborhood on opening day, which is anticipated for late July, Rabbit will welcome neighbors by serving complimentary Red Velvet cupcakes while supplies last and no purchase is necessary. The restaurant will open seven days a week from 11 AM to 11 PM, and serve inventive, thoughtfully prepared sandwiches and enticing salads served with grilled-to-order proteins. The recipes for Rabbit are the creation of Consulting Chef Katsuya Fukushima.

No stranger to the DC culinary scene, Katsuya Fukushima worked alongside José Andrés for fifteen years, becoming one of Andrés’ closest and most trusted collaborators.  Fukushima served as ThinkFoodGroup’s Executive Chef for Special Projects and prior to that, Head Chef of Café Atlántico.  He played instrumental roles in opening both the critically acclaimed minibar by josé andrés in Washington, DC, and the Bazaar by José Andrés in Los Angeles, Esquire magazine’s best new restaurant of the year for 2009.  Most recently, Fukushima served as Executive Chef of José Andrés Catering by Ridgewell’s, his final position before leaving the company.

Rabbit strives to provide a straightforward menu with a selection of Simple Salads, Chef Crafted Salads, Sandwich Plates served with simple salads and Warm Dinner Plates that include made-to-order protein, simple salad, and house-made mashed potatoes.  All dishes are served with artisanal breads from a local bakery, which are baked fresh daily.  An assortment of freshly squeezed carrot juice and other seasonal juices will also be available at Rabbit including a boutique selection of wines by the glass and beer.  In everything, the emphasis is on fresh, organic and locally available products.

Standout salads include the Beet Salad, made with fried breaded goat cheese croquettes, orange slices, arugula, pine nuts, pickled beet stems, fresh beets, mixed greens and a citrus vinaigrette; Seasonal Fruit & Prosciutto Salad, made with grilled peach halves (seasonal), sliced prosciutto, ricotta, arugula, toasted hazelnuts, honey drizzle, cracked black pepper and balsamic vinaigrette; Nicoise Salad, made with boiled potatoes, olives, haricots verts, egg, roasted tomato, seared tuna and a lemon vinaigrette, as well as the signature Rabbit Salad made with roasted carrots, shaved carrots, diced carrots, blanched snow peas, peas, mixed greens, pea sprouts, shredded mint leaves, carrot top pesto and topped with citrus dressing.  Prices range from $5.50 for Simple Salads to $10.50 for Chef Crafted Salads.

Handcrafted Sandwiches and Warm Dinner Plates will also be available. Tempting choices include Seared Tuna with roasted red pepper aioli; Vegetable Sandwich with green and red bell peppers, zucchini, tomato, romesco and pineapple; Grilled PB&J, as well as a rotating selection of grilled cheese sandwiches incorporating various artisanal cheeses.  All sandwich plates will include choice of Simple Salad.   Price for the Sandwich Plates and Warm Dinner Plates is $10.50.

Additionally, twelve varieties of signature cupcakes from Red Velvet Cupcakery will also be available at the Clarendon restaurant.  Highlights include Devil’s Food, a rich chocolate buttermilk cake with Valrhona bittersweet chocolate ganache frosting garnished with a 24K gold leaf; Peanut Butter Cup, delicious chocolate buttermilk cake infused with chocolate chips and peanut butter topping and the Southern Belle, the shop’s best-selling and signature red velvet recipe topped with whipped cream cheese frosting.

Aaron Gordon, a D.C. area native, came up with the whimsical name for the new restaurant while talking with friends about shopping for salads.  “A friend of mine once asked me how long it had been since a good salad was thought of as ‘rabbit food,’” says Gordon.  “I liked the idea of turning this phrase of slight disdain on its head and decided that “Rabbit” would be the name for my newest venture.  To me, Rabbit incorporates many of the traits of the Slow Food moment…providing the highest quality ingredients, cooking them with finesse and care, and presenting them in a rich, relaxing environment. At Rabbit, our chefs will produce food in a timely manner, while presenting the exact opposite of fast food.”

Photo by Benny Mazur/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license