Rococo: I Sing the Body Eclectic
Rococo was a garish 18th Century style of art and interior design. It was garish, whimsical and modern, which royally shook the establishment with its damn-our-upbringing style that dared be artful at every turn.
Rococo Restaurant and Fine Wine is aptly named. The vibe at the old Tony’s Italian Specialties is a conveys chef/owner Bruce Rinehart’s bi-coastal life: chic and classy, cool and relaxed. That’s Bruce. That’s Rococo, unpretentious and eclectic.
He’s lived an interesting life, where I started to breathe: San Diego. Bruce’s first real job was at the Hotel Del Coronado, an iconic American hotel in city by the sea where I was born. The Hotel Del is grand, gorgeous, ostentatious and a place where no details are overlooked. Perfection surrounds you. At the same time, it oozes cool. It’s welcoming and lacks the formality of other hotels of its ilk, a product of the laid-back, permanent-vacation lifestyle of Southern California.
Bruce, who hailed from Connecticut, has all the bravado, confidence and audacity you would expect from an East Coast guy. But that SoCal influence is still evident today. His menu is playful (Gangster Cookies anyone? How about ”A Great Piece of Tail”?) but broad, spanning from Thailand to Palermo and touching all points in between. He offers a little something for everyone and allows the diner to decide what kind of experience he/she will have, offering burgers and sandwiches for under 10 bucks to surf-and-turf trios rising into the $70s, depending on market prices.
Lori and I went in back in June and started, of course, with the crab cake. I’m not from Maryland and have never been to Baltimore, so I can’t tell you how it compares to the fare over there. (Seuss anyone?) But I can tell you it’s the best crab cake I’ve ever had, though, admittedly, my limited crab-cake consuming career is fairly pedestrian. I loved everything about this dish: flaky, rich, succulent with just a hint of crunch. Lori usually the carrier of our dinnertime conversation, limited most of her commentary to “mmmm” and “oh my Gaawwd.” I concurred.
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