Disclaimer: I am not a food critic. I just like to eat food, who doesn’t? Well, I guess if you are anorexic you don’t, but that is not the point! The point is that I am not a professional… or am I? What do you have to do exactly to become a professional food eater? I’ve been doing it my whole life so maybe I am! Anyways… Liz asked me to write a review of Rye; however I am hesitant to do so for I feel that I have a major bias against them. Here is why:
The first time I ever experienced Rye was at their private opening (although no one questioned us when we walked through the door, we could have been any body!!! Rogue food critics even!!!). Upon arriving we were immediately informed that they would not be serving that night but they had a “buffet style” set up in the next room. When we turned a corner and there was a 10’ long table set with four regular sized dinner plates evenly spaced, it looked sparse to say the least. Each plate only had one serving of a particular dish that was then cut up in to pieces. I seriously thought the staff was having a laugh; this had to be a joke.
Here we were, a small crowd of us huddled around the last quarter of a burger; everyone wanting it but no one wanting to be rude and take it. On the outside I was saying “Oh no, you should go ahead and take the last piece” but all I really wanted to do was quickly snatch up the last quarter sized piece of meat and shove it in my mouth while I taunted the others like a mature 3rd grader. After having scavenged what was being picked off by the hungry crowd we decided to grab a drink. I was excited about this because they were touting American spirits as a sort of slogan. When I asked the bartender about their drinks he replied “we only have white wine, red wine, and beer”. This I found utterly displeasing, however I pressed on; I inquired after their beer selection and was given a run down of four not-so-impressive bottled beer they were carrying. Then he says “Oh, and we have one on tap”. Now I love a good beer on tap, so I ask what they have; he replies “miller light”….. it was at this moment that I almost lost control.
Here I was at the opening for a brand new restaurant with my best friend where I could barely get anything to eat, and now they wanted to offer me an over priced miller light?!? My face immediately lost slack and Liz saw the apocalyptic rage that festered just below the surface. She immediately ordered two white wines so that the bartender was no longer in the line of fire. If it had not have been for her quick thinking the poor man would have spent the rest of his evening Googling “what to do for frost bite” because my icy stare was that intense. Now regardless of my own personal annoyance with this establishment, at the time I can say this: their food was delicious, well, of what I was able to scrap together. We had some of their soft egg on top of toast that was slathered in ricotta & broccoli rabe; and their hamburger that was made with beef brisket. Liz of course had a massive rib that was also fabulous. All of this was absolutely wonderful, I wish I had gotten a full meal and a full belly.
Now considering all of this we decided to try Rye again. Our girl posse sashayed through the door one evening armed with fabulous outfits and empty stomachs. The hostess informed us that there was a 30 minute wait, which we decided to take THAT on. After 45 minutes had come and gone we inquired after a table and were then told that they had absolutely no idea how long the wait would be. Never once did they offer us the option of sitting up at the bar. Upon leaving I asked the bartender if we could order food from him to which he replied “duh!” (ok, not really, but that’s how it was implied!). We grabbed some bar stools and looked over the menu.
After a few of my first choices came back as “sold out” or “no longer available” the bartender offered his suggestion of the soft egg on toast as his favorite, it can be purchased from the small bites section of the menu for $10. I was interested to see if it was just as good as I remembered it the first time, and it was! The toast was thick and crisp with just enough crunch to softness ratio. It was topped with a generous portion of ricotta and broccoli rabe with a soft boiled egg nestled on top. I ate it so fast I barely had time to breath let alone enjoy it fully. Regardless of my ravenous stuffing of my face hole it was absolutely delicious; and for someone like me who doesn’t eat massive portions having a “small bites” option is accommodating.
One day I hope to actually sit down at a table of theirs and get a full restaurant experience. Their food is delicious (if not also slightly over priced, $10 for an egg on toast? Seriously??) and I am desperate for a whole hamburger all to myself, none of this “sharing” crap. Unfortunately they only have it on their lunch menu and I work ALL THE TIME. I feel like one day the planets will align and the universe will come together and I will have my PERFECT Rye experience! With food this good I have to eventually get it right.