One of those,"Where do you want to go? I don't know, where do you want to go?" nights. So started driving west on Ocean Park with the idea of checking out the coffee shop in the outdoor mall with the market at the corner of Lincoln and OP. What a mix up. At night the coffee shop turns into a sushi bar/J restaurant, Fukui? or something like that. Not in the mood. So on we go and end up at Rockenwager's new "cheaper" alternative, the Brasserie.
I have to admit that the "shopping cart" Christmas tree out front is almost reason enough to go. That is both a hoot to see and beautiful to look at from a distance. I wonder if it is a pilgrimage site for the homeless?
We were the only other couple in the restaurant until just before we left, and by then the first couple had left and we were back to us and one other couple. I felt bad for the wait staff, et al. The space is very nice, the noise level was very low, (with four of us in there that isn't much of a surprise) and the service was attentive and professional. Unfortunately the food just didn't offer enough to bring me back.
I started with the French Onion soup. I must have put salt in it 5 times to try and get some flavor going and it was still pretty flat. My wife had the mushroom salad, looked nice but the mushrooms were the type you find in cans and the onions were raw and overpowering. Two for 0. The salmon entree my wife selected was good. Nicely cooked and with a very strong pesto sauce, mashed potatoes and spinach. My pretzel burger was good, fries were okay, but for $14.50 I was expecting a bit more in the wow department. While close to the medium rare I asked for it was a bit overdone, but not enough to ask for a do over.
I really wanted to like this place, but with a final tab of $64, plus a $12 tip, (that included a coke and one glass of merlot) I am left feeling the cost/benefit ratio is not enough on the benefit side for me. I guess inexpensive these days is anything under a $100?
Probably a one shot deal for us. To bad.