Monday, August 3, 2009

Rockmeisha: Fit for a Rockstar


This review originally appeared on The Gotham Palate.

All hail the legions of wannabe rockstars.

That's the theme of the night at Rockmeisha, or what I perceived it to be. My friend Chloe and I have always harbored secret dreams of starting a rock band (who hasn't?). Rockmeisha indulges you with the momentary illusion that, Yes, I'm a rockstar...AND what??!

Rockmeisha is styled exactly like izakayas (snack bars) in Japan, and is ideal for drinks and grub into the wee hours. Not exactly a dinner place, though, as I realized at 7 p.m. when it was still light out and the vibe was dead. The black walls contrast the white curtains flowing from the ceiling like a giant floating canopy. Old-school pictures of Japanese pin-up girls and "Uptown Martini Bar" art deco surrounded us, finished off with cherry wood accents.


Regarding drinks, there's lots to choose from: domestic and foreign beers, wine, soju, tea and half a dozen sake options, including the Lychee Sake cocktail. Most individual drinks hit the $5 to $8 range.

Nanban fried chicken.

I thoroughly enjoyed the cold Sapporo draft ($5), Nanban fried chicken with tartar sauce ($12) - my pick, and Octopus pancake ($9) - Chloe's pick. Both dishes were edible, but the Nanban was my favorite. Something about greasy, fried slabs of rotund chicken dipped in fatty, rich tartar sauce really did the trick. Tartar sauce should certainly not be relegated to just fish and chips!

However, the service was noticeably slow, especially since we were one of only a handful of customers. We waited at least 20 to 30 minutes for our dishes. Our food suffered from a moderate case of mayonnaise overdose, but then again, this is Japanese tapas, or snack food - not intended for a full sit-down meal.

Also, Rockmeisha charges a $13 minimum to sit at a table, so our four other friends (who weren't interested in drinking) ended up eating down the street at Pinto for Thai cuisine. I thought it was a little weird that we had to split up, but we still had a great time afterwards.

Octopus Pancake.

Things I would try next time: Hakata Ramen, Buta kimchi donburi (sauteed pork strips, onion and kimchi over rice) and Gobo chips (Japanese burdock root, best deep fried to a golden crisp).

This is a decent place to get a cold beer or knock back sake shots and chow on some finger foods. It's where I would go with my bandmates after ripping up a late-night gig, starved for sustenance. But I wouldn't recommend it for a nice dinner. And don't take your date here. Unless she's your Number One fan and piling on greasy food and beers is her M.O. In which case, go right ahead. Methinks the ambiance is better after 10 p.m., when the crowd gets more raucous and the dazzling lights in the front window blind you to the slow service and other shortcomings.

Bottom line: Don't expect five-class service. Come for the drinks and snack food. Leave full of giggles and silly stories. And maybe, just'll get your true rockstar status.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Didn't approve of the $13 table minimum, nor the Tortoise-and-the-Hare wait. Dug the decor, drinks and comfort food.

11 Barrow St
New York, NY 10014

No comments:

Post a Comment