Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No one likes flaccid bacon

Roebling Tea Room
143 Roebling Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211-3365
(718) 963-0760
Lunch - Mon. - Fri. 9:00am - 4:30pm
Brunch - Sat. - Sun. 10:00am - 4:30pm
Dinner - Mon. - Fri. 5:00pm - 12:00am
Dinner - Sat. - Sun. 6:00pm - 12:00am

Brunch-time o’clock on an early-spring morning in hipster Williamsburg, NY will find many folks dining at the Roebling Tea Room. The building is an old industrial brick structure that looks more hunting lodge than tea room inside. The wallpaper has hounds and men on horseback with riding crops and funny outfits (much like the clientele). As beautiful and inviting as the inside may appear, the noise is nigh on raucous and maintaining an audible voice over the din for any extended period of time will require that you drink more tea. It’s a marketing ploy I tell you!

I could tell that the company that the Roebling keeps is hipster to the max. I didn’t see a symmetrical haircut in the place and I could have had a field day counting piercings and tattoos. I felt like I would have fit in better if I had more tattoos or if my hair was pink and crooked-spiky. It wasn’t that crowded for a Saturday brunch, but I’m sure the place is banging at night, especially because they have alcohol.

If only the tea didn’t disappoint as much as my last three boyfriends. When I go to a tea house, I expect a certain level of tea service that the Roebling just does not satisfy. Tea will not stay warm in a pot with no lid. The place is drafty, so the tea needs a scarf and hat. Add to that the fact that the cups/mugs that a pot of tea is served with are tall, thin, white porcelain coffee mugs. Did I just write coffee mugs? Yes, I did. It seems to me to be an affront to tea houses everywhere to serve tea in such a lackadaisical, irresponsible manner. It takes gumption. The tea itself might have been good if I had been able to taste it through my initial haze of unhappiness at its tepid temperature. After that my disappointment was due to my disgust at seeing pieces of porcelain chips in the bottom of the teapot that I just don’t understand were missed by the server.

I have a minor obsession with pork roll egg and cheese (PRE&C) sandwiches. It is one of my many obsessions, but it has deeper roots than even the chocolate obsession. It’s a Joisey sandwich and deep down I’m a Joisey girl. In any event, a PRE&C sandwich should only be served one way and one way only – on a roll. The layers should be particular and why the hell would you put mustard on a PRE&C? Salt, pepper, and ketchup go on a PRE&C and that’s it. I had to order it since it was on the menu though, despite my pessimistic attitude about it not living up to my Jersey standards before I even got it. It came to me on a plate with shoestring fries. The “sandwich”, if that is what you want to call it, was on artisan white bread – with MUSTARD!! The eggs were scramble/fried, not true-fried, and the cheese was hidden in there somewhere. There were only three pieces of pork roll on this joke of a sandwich. Aside from the fact that odd numbers are bad luck, why not throw another slice on there? You’ve already decided to screw with me by putting mustard on the “sandwich”, so go the whole nine yards and put two, or none? Please don’t call that “sandwich” a PRE&C if you care so little about the food to display it and serve it like a scoundrel displays himself from underneath a dirty trench coat.

My friend ordered the drunk beans and they were by no naturally-occurring entity’s definition drunk. They were also questionably beans as there was so much liquid in the bowl that you could barely see them. (The waitress had no answer when asked what made them drunk. Maybe it was meant to be drowning beans?) The temperature of the food was lukewarm, which means that the queso shreds on the beans never had a chance of melting. The bacon my friend got as a side was flaccid and cold (here we go about my exes again). They only gave him 2 slices, which is unforgivable. For a slightly eclectic menu, my suggestion is that they go slightly more eclectic, so the bad food is part of the joke. I mean, part of the menu, of course.

There are, surprisingly, some good things I have to say about Roebling. The service itself was the only reason I didn’t leave in a huff. The waitress and staff were friendly and not pushy. We were also seated when they said we would be, which was after only 15 minutes of waiting. The dining area itself was clean and orderly. The prices were typical NYC brunch prices, so there were no surprises. I would go again if the tea itself was better. I truly believe that a place that calls itself a Tea Room should have higher standards for their tea and teaware.

Nota Bene or whatever: This was just a little ol' review from little ol' me for a course assignment.

Next up: my amazingly positive review of Barcade! Then, a post regarding the angst I've been experiencing after spending so much time in Williamsburg.

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