Not quite sure about the Rat Pack vibe the restaurant touts, but we liked the vibe nonetheless at this new restaurant near the Memorial area spot. Located in the corner of a strip shopping center at Woodway and Chimney Rock, The Rockwood Room has garnered attention in the local and regional press. The chef, formerly at Max’s Wine Dive, is turning out an eclectic mix of food (“iconic American dishes” per the website) in a relaxed environment. There were all age groups dining there. This is Memorial, not Washington Avenue.
We spend a lot of time dining out and a gut check for whether we’ll like a restaurant is our initial reaction to how many items on the menu we’d like to try. Based on this measure, The Rockwood Room showed great promise. We sat at the bar on a recent Saturday evening, watching and listening to the activity in the open kitchen. They were hollering (politely, no Anthony Bourdain type language) and hustling. Here’s where we noted at least one discernible vestige from the Rat Pack era; there was only one woman in the kitchen (and, yes, it was the pastry chef).
The Rockwood Room won a contest in New York City for its maple-bacon infused manhattan, so we had to try it. Quite tasty, almost like a savory dessert with the glass rimmed with a bacon sugar mixture. There were a number of other artisanal style cocktails being enjoyed by most at the bar. Service at the bar was prompt and friendly. A solo diner would find a comfortable venue here.
Confirmed carnivores, we love the trend in charcuterie plates. Rockwood Room’s was generously proportioned and quite tasty, with four different meats, including a well prepared, earthy, and not overly-spiced chorizo sausage. We also tried the patty melt pumpers (aka sliders) which were well executed, but the meat patties could have been thicker, which led to them being cooked more than our liking. From there, we shared the fried chicken entree. Served with cheddar grits and sauteed turnip greens, the fried chicken (semi-boneless, one-half bird) was an exemplary version of this dish. Crispy, crunchy and savory, it was delicious. The turnip greens had a wonderfully smoky flavor.
One big plus for us is the food was served when prepared and came super hot as runners were constantly being called when plates were ready. Also, be sure to ask for the bread service. Just like the food, it comes out piping hot, one of the better bread services we have tried, served with a tasty herb infused olive oil.
We look forward to returning.
5709 Woodway Drive