Are restaurants the new experiential retail? Everyone knows that in-store experiences are important to luring in the customer, and a lot of retailers seem to be banking on the experience of eating. La Mercerie in Soho, for instance, sells the plates that it serves its crepes on in the adjoining store, Lexus operates a sleek lifestyle center home to a restaurant called Intersect, and Restoration Hardware invested in a stunning, 6-story concept in the Meatpacking District, where customers can eat in the dining room of their dreams at RH Rooftop Restaurant.
Restoration Hardware recruited Brendan Sodikoff of Au Cheval and 4 Charles Prime Rib burger fame to open this restaurant, so of course I was especially eager to try the RH Burger. I guess lightning doesn’t strike thrice, because this burger lacks the meaty, flavorful soul of Sodikoff’s better burgers. It certainly looks beautiful, like an object in a stock image of what an ideal patio looks, but like a picture there’s not much life to the patty.
This probably doesn’t matter all that much, because the point of RH Rooftop is to reinforce the appeal of Restoration Hardware’s furniture as opposed to the food. The burger is there to showcase the cutlery, table and chairs in which it is surrounded by. The food is solid enough so that you can’t find anything wrong with it, but not too bold so that it takes away from the beautiful throws and pillows. And that’s how most of the food here is–beautiful and high in quality, but a little lacking in depth. Grilled cheese, lobster rolls, turkey club sandwiches, it’s all good on paper but lacks chemistry in person.
RH Rooftop Restaurant
9 9th Ave (between Little West 12th St and West 13th St)
New York, NY 10014