Not so RockingPart of: Food
Breakfast: Eggs Benedict
I know a lot of you have been wondering where all of my food posts have gone. I do love eating and writing about it, but I guess I haven’t been inspired of late— then came my birthday week. I’ve always wanted to dine at Rockenwagner. I imagined the interior would be modern and whimsical. The food would be inspired and inspiring. After all, it was part of a space that was designed by Frank Gehry, and I am a sucker for aesthetics.
My first clue that I had put Rockenwagner on an undeserved pedestal was when I arrived at 8pm, and the restaurant was deserted. It was a Thursday night. I felt stupid for even making a reservation. I had called Wednesday evening and asked the woman if a reservation was needed, “It’s always a good idea,” she said. I’m sure she was silently, then loudly laughing as she did cartwheels around the empty restaurant.
Thursday night I arrived first and got a prime booth seat. I usually arrive a tad late when meeting men, because if anyone waits, it should be them. You heard it here first or second: Women should never be kept waiting. And we should also get first choice of seating. (I definitely have a thing with seating feng shui.).
The restaurant’s ambience was that of an upscale dining hall. This was how I pictured the executive dining area of Sony New York to be when I worked there: wood tables with white and green table clothes, two ivory booth seats, and a banquette or two in the back. The only thing missing were some ostentatious floral arrangements and modern art. I was going to need a glass of wine pronto.
One of my fellow diners showed up and explained he’d given up hard alcohol for lent, so was happy he could have a nice German brew. (Got to say, his excuse for having alcohol was more logical than Franklin Avenue’s one for having an is-it-really-ice-cream- Shamrock Shake—sorry, Michael.)
The bread was decent, not great. It was the ordinary choice of white or dark. I was expecting more from a restaurant that actually has a bakery. I ordered a pretzel burger after reading S. Irene Virbila’s Rockenwagner review. I was ravenous by the time it came. I took a bite, expecting it to be juicy and tender, but instead it was dry and charbroiled. And there was no German-style mustard that Virbila had spoken of, nor caramelized onions or Swiss cheese from their website menu-- WTF? I was so hungry that my judgment was impaired, and I didn’t send the burger back.
Luckily, I was enchanted with the pretzel roll and dipped it into my ketchup. I wonder if Virbila did that. The French fries were okay. I spilled some ketchup on the white tablecloth. (FYI: I’m a messy eater and always pray for a cloth napkin.)What perked me up was the side of spinach one of my dining companions didn’t want. Sad, eh? I had high hopes for dessert.
I barely escaped having the Heimlich maneuver performed on me. The warm chocolate tart I shared was as dry as my burger. The kitchen had no excuse for these lackluster dishes (my dining companions were underwhelmed as well) The following night (my actual birthday) I was going to A.O.C, so I prayed it would make up for Rockenwagner’s anomalies.