Monday, June 28, 2010
Revisiting Hard Rock Cafe: This Time, in New York
When my aunt, uncle and cousins visited, I fully expected to be the ultimate New York tourist for a weekend. And what says "tourist" more than a visit to the Hard Rock Cafe?
Not that I'm complaining. Really, I'm not. After all, I use to drag friends and family (some more willing than others) to Hard Rock Cafes in city after city after city. Orlando, Nashville, Washington, D.C., even London ... no trip was complete without at least a visit to the gift shop. But I hadn't stepped inside one since Paul and I made a quick stop in Niagara Falls almost 10 years ago. It was time to revisit, so I put up no complaints when my cousin made the suggestion.
First of all, I was amazed at how large the Times Square location was. I've walked by New York's Hard Rock Cafe dozens of times, but it opens into a gift shop. The restaurant is down a flight of stairs, and the tables are set up on two levels facing a stage. There was no show when we were there, but there were plenty of TV screens playing music videos (and, at the bar, World Cup soccer). It felt a little like VH1 in the early days.
The restaurant had the requisite rock memorabilia, of course. In fact, Johnny Cash was giving me the finger from a poster on the wall throughout the entire meal. It's OK, you gave us a really awesome cover of "Hurt" (and a few other songs, I suppose), so I forgive you.
And the food? Better than I remembered. My french fries were crunchy and my barbecue burger was tasty. I shouldn't be surprised. When Paul and I went to Times Square's ESPN Zone restaurant with another tourist-friend, I got the best barbecue burger I'd ever eaten. So I guess tourist restaurants aren't so bad after all. But don't expect me to visit Bubba Gump Shrimp Company anytime soon.