I’m really happy I added stewardship visits to my job. Mostly because I’ve gotten the chance to meet some of our club seat holders in their environment and learn more about them on a personal level. And I think they appreciate the opportunity to talk OSU without feeling like someone is asking for money. But let’s be honest: part of it is also because I’ve been able to add more restaurants to the food blog. I’ve eaten with donors 4 times since I started, and each has been at a new restaurant.
Last week I was meeting Lon for lunch. He had originally wanted to do Charleston’s, but I’m going there next week with a suiteholder so I wanted something different. I suggested Rococo Restaurant at North Park Mall. I had always heard really good things about it, and not sure why I’ve never been before. It’s on the corner of the mall, and you can enter from either the parking lot or inside the mall. They’ve also got a location on Penn Avenue.
Lon and I have become good friends over the past couple of years. He’s also introduced me to 3 other great couples, and we had a ton of fun at the Big 12 tourneys last year. And will do so again in a few weeks for the men’s tourney in KC.
I arrived about 10 minutes before Lon, which is now my agenda. That way I can take some notes about the place before others arrive. Because if I don’t, we get talking and then I have to stop and take notes. There were only a few other tables occupied, but for lunch in a mall restaurant on a random Thursday that’s not surprising. We were seated at this adorable table that looks kind of like a library. It’s a 4-top table, with a 4′ wall on 2 sides, and a bookcase on one side. The negative is it’s right next to the kitchen. But they make up for it because it’s right next to the fireplace.
This would be a great date night table. Not sure why I keep finding date night tables, but oh well. The rest of the restaurant is quite big, with booths along 2 of the walls, and tables in the middle. There are actually 2 bars. One is right behind our table, and the other is near to the “to go” entrance. As we were walking out I noticed a pretty large private room as well. The interior is very cozy. The long wall of the restaurant is all big windows looking into the mall. The shorter wall is bright red. The whole place is really inviting.
We started with calamari. They do it in 3 different ways, and our server recommended Rhode Island style, with banana peppers mixed in.
I was kind of surprised we didn’t get any cocktail sauce with it. But one bite, and I realized we didn’t need it. The calamari was outstanding. Lightly breaded, perfectly fried, scorching hot. I ended up eating most of it. I tried not to, but it was so good I couldn’t help myself.
I was having a really hard time deciding what to get–big surprise. But everything sounded good. They also have a lot of specials. I’ve heard and read that you shouldn’t get the specials because it’s what is leftover that they’re trying to get rid of. But I figure at a higher end place like this, that won’t be the case.
Lon got the filet special
I didn’t get to try any of his dish, but he said it was excellent. It sure smelled outstanding.
I started with the Caesar salad
It comes with a whole anchovy on top. No thank you…so we just left it off. Usually Caesar salad is way over-dressed. This one was just the opposite. As a matter of fact, it was a little under for my tastes. But with dressing, less is more. Other than that, the salad was delicious. And I was very pleased to see that it was a small portion.
I got the seafood special, which was a shrimp & andouille sausage risotto. I don’t think that was the exact name, but close enough
This dish was good. The sausage had a little kick, but not too bad. I was very impressed with the amount of shrimp, much more than you would normally get in a lunch sized dish. The down side is that the dish had too much cheese. I really enjoyed the freshly grated Parmesan on top, but they could have used half as much cheese in the dish and it would have been plenty.
Lon finished eating before I did, and our server asked if he could take the dish. Lon told him he was still working, and then told me that its bad form to take someone’s dish when the other person is still eating. I had never really thought about it, but that’s true. Because then the other person either feels like they need to race to finish, or feels like a pig for continuing to eat.
I really enjoyed this experience. I love the atmosphere and the food was delicious. I really want to do their Chef’s Table. It’s an exclusive dinner experience for 8-10 people. Would be a great group trip. Definitely going back soon.