Thursday, December 9, 2010
The iPhone and I made it down as far as as Hamilton this evening. Meeting a friend who'd been doing state business in Trenton this afternoon, it seemed to make sense either to go and have a pizza or to go to Rats, in Hamilton, in the sculpture park that's been established there in the middle of an industrial wasteland. We should have opted for the pizza (though - see above - even at night, the sculpture is still pleasingly weird and startling for central NJ). I was taken to Rats when I'd been at Rutgers about 3 weeks, and was blown away by its funky deliberately (I hope) bad taste francophile weirdness - but had never been back.
But. Alas. They recently lost their chef to a victory on Top Chef - or so I now read on nj.com - and let's just say that the new one - a former Marine - hasn't hit his stride yet. Or, rather, the same piece, from November 17th, says that the restaurant has been working "to shed its reputation as an upscale restaurant focusing on French cuisine" and to make itself more "accessible and affordable." In practice, this meant that we had to suffer the quite horrendous noise of a local office Christmas party which was in full flow when we arrive at 5 p.m., with organized gambling in the gallery - and seriously trashy sequins and gold shiny boots, of the kind of glazy sheen worn by mimes pretending to be statues (the glazy sheen was also very apparent on the faces of the party goers stumbling out later). OK, but fairly indifferent food was served us "in French country restaurant style - which means the portions are small." Huh? In fact, the portions were perfectly decently sized, but bore no recognisable resemblance to your average auberge's culinary offering. But I guess that querying this would have been about as much worth while as querying the description that we were given of pecorino as "a hard Spanish cheese" - by a fatuously over-performative unctuous waiter. The best bit about it (by a very long way) was the herbal tea.