Rockography NYC: New Rock-n-Roll Diner in Greenwich Village
We admit it: when we first saw the signage for Rockography, just opened this spring on the prime Village corner of Sixth Avenue and 13th Street, our heart sank. "Really?", we thought. "Rockography: Eat. Drink. JAM!" ? Rockography's pre-release hype– calling it "John Varvatos meets Cafeteria", and "a more authentic Hard Rock Cafe" (which wouldn't take much)–did little to dim our disappointment. But then we actually ate at Rockography, and then we ate there again, and while it's not going to win any culinary awards from the (down the block) James Beard Foundation, Rockography, with all of its memorabilia, and its classic music videos, and its KISS pinball game (only a quarter!), is much more fun than you'd expect, and is serving food that's much better than it needs to be. From the butt of our jokes to a solid quick-bite / date-place / party-with-friends neighborhood option. **rock–n-roll horns hand gesture**
The Rockography menu is mostly diner-y comfort food, (the drinks menu is crowded with allusive names–the Comfortably Numb, the Stairway to Heaven, the Beer in a Bag, which is a jumbo can of Genesee and a shot of Jack–but the food menu plays it pretty straight), and, from what we've tried, is mostly good: fresh ingredients, thoughtfully assembled, cooked with care. Take the Chili Mac and Cheese, for example, offered as a side for only $5, and which arrives piled high in a largish bowl, creamy and chewy and rich and meaty. It's crowd-pleasing stoner food, to be sure, but it's also well executed and definitely satisfying. The same can be said about the Buffalo Chicken Sliders, which come in threes, the breast meat fried and drenched in Trappey's Red Devil (or some similarly spicy/vinegar concoction), topped with celery slaw and bleu cheese dressing, stuffed inside a mini brioche.
The heart of any restaurant like this is its burger, and in this case Rockography well… rocks. We giddily wolfed Rockography's well-balanced Double Cheese Burger one night, juices dripping everywhere, goofy grins all around. These massive, meaty beauties definitely deserve an encore. Even the soup was solid here, a bowl of chunky New England Clam Chowder, appropriately oily and briney, the clams a tad rubbery, but not too bad. And the most gimmicky dish we could find, the Deep Fried PB&J (could have been a disaster!), was actually, stunningly, quite delicious, the chunky peanut butter and sweet strawberry jam spread thinly, the bread lightly fried, the cold, nostalgia-inducing half pint of milk a welcome pairing.
And Rockography NYC is a fun place to hang out! It's loud, of course, but not too loud, and the corner location gives you all those windows onto the soon-to-be summertime streets, and the music (and attendant videos) is mostly of the classic rock variety, which can never be too terrible and is often almost excellent. And there are plenty of silly but clever touches, too, like the fact that the Rockography menu is pasted into old gate-fold album covers; and that, instead of candles on your table, they are glass skulls filled with glo-sticks. We know: woah.
Rockography NYC Details
Rockography is located on the corner of 13th Street and Sixth Avenue, and is open Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 am, on Fridays until 3:00 a.m., on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m., and on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. For more information and a look at the menu, please see the Rockography website.