When Date left the dinner date decision up to me, The Rookwood was near the top of the list. It’s a place not only had I never been, but it’s also on Cincinnati Magazine’s Top 40 for cheeseburgers in the area. Therefore—and because Date and I love cheeseburgers so much—we were all in.
A little bit of background: the Rookwood Pottery Company is a Cincinnati-based ceramics company that was once located in Mt. Adams (now Over-the-Rhine). The Rookwood fashions such work as pottery, ceramics, tiles, and even commemorative beer steins. The Mount Adams location was built in the 1890s, and now stands as The Rookwood Bar & Restaurant.
Location: The view from the parking lot of The Rookwood is unbelievable. Even better, it’s not a standard view of Cincinnati and its skyline, but it enjoys the northern parts of downtown (see: West End, OTR, Pendleton, and Mt. Auburn) in addition to a lot of the buildings making up the city’s notorious cityscape. Yes, I mentioned there is a parking lot, which is one of the highlights of The Rookwood’s esteemed reputation; unlike many other places in Mt. Adams, which require street parking and—in turn—can be very frustrating. This information, too, was valuable to Date, as he typically shies away from places with stressful parking situations. Once he learned there was a lot, he admitted knowing that was helpful in not deterring him from wanting to eat there on a Saturday evening.
Atmosphere: It was earlier in the evening, so the place wasn’t very crowded, although there were a few tables with children, which shocked me (I wouldn’t really peg this place as kid friendly, but to each his own). We were seated at a two-person table near one of the large kilns, which overlooked the entrance, bar, and additional tables surrounding yet another large kiln. Our table location was quaint and romantic, and served as a wonderful setting for a dinner date—something we’d not done in quite some time. At one point I said out loud, “My only complaint about this place is that it’s too dark to take a decent picture of our food.”
Food: I was so excited to get to try an outstanding cheeseburger, and I’m very happy with what each of us decided to order. Being that Date loves cheeseburgers as much as I do, he also opted for a variation of this fare. I ordered the Barnsdale Burger, which was cooked medium with fontina cheese, caramelized onions, and thyme aioli, with truffle fries to complement it. Date opted for the Lamb & Fig Burger, also cooked medium, but adorned with aged goat cheese, fig-shallot chutney, and arugula, with Grippo’s® fries. We agreed that our respective burgers deservedly rest atop the top 5 cheeseburgers we’ve had in the area, and we both absolutely loved our version of fries. Not to be left out, we got The Rookwood’s twist on Hanky Pankys to start, which were just okay, and we each had a libation (him: The Tailored Misfit, a bourbon cocktail; me: Prosecco) to accompany our meals. The service was great, and our food was generally awesome. Cool place, too.
If it being a little dark to document my food is my only complaint, I think we did just fine.
Overall grade: A [out of a possible A+]