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Thursday, June 14, 2007
What is this? I'll give you three guesses:
A: A tongue hotdog
B. A tongue hotdog
C. A tongue hotdog
D. All of the above.
Got the answer yet? I found this on the menu at Rocket, a snazz-drenched new restaurant on East Burnside, which feels like it blasted off from a corner in the cold, gray heart of the Pearl District before crash landing on top of the Chesterfield Building.
I'll be blunt. Everything on the menu is priced $2 -$10 over what it's worth. While the staff was friendly, the restaurant they work in isn't. $7 bought me a hotdog on a plate, nothing more, nothing less. The ballyhooed deck, which offers a great view of downtown and the 1190 KEX billboard atop Hippo Hardware, is all concrete and as cold as ice. Definitely not the sort of place you would want to loiter atop, especially on a windy day. As I headed outside, a gust sent two menus flying off a table and down to the street below.
From Burnside the entrance is unmarked. I found the place by marching up five flights of stairs. Any mention of "Rocket" is nowhere to be found at street level or even on the windows or main door. That aside, the main dinning area and bar is beautifully designed, in a Target commercial dreamscape sort of way. If the interior of the Space Needle had been quickly laid out on a napkin by Hugh Hefner circa 1965, this is what it might look like. Plush booths, smooth surfaces, big windows. On the hi-fi trickling down from the ceiling? Space rock ranging from the Who to the Smashing Pumpkins to the Arcade Fire. The SP song I caught? "Rocket." Clever? Eh, not really.
I guess the prices keep the riffraff away. Despite being a card-carrying member of the riffraff set, I shelled out an extra $7 for a small salad and, yeah, it was everything a $7 small salad should be. Just enough dressing, a decent portion with breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, the tongue itself tasted liike a cross between shredded beef and overcooked pork. Also on the menu: $10 burgers and Miller Hi-Life.
As of a few weeks ago, Rocket was a restaurant stuck in flux and seemingly desperate to appeal to two different groups: yuppies and hipsters. The drink menu and many of the entrees are bound to chase away the former and the gentrified prices are sure to keep away the later. The Doug Fir this ain't.
PS: Yes, the title of this post is a reference to a Def Leppard song