If you’ve ever found yourself gazing into the mirror and uttering a Real Housewives tagline (“I’m not just a last name, I’m a legacy”), then wash off that Goop face mask and hail an Uber to RH Rooftop Restaurant, ASAP.
The Meatpacking District restaurant atop the new NYC flagship of Restoration Hardware is teeming with tony women sporting expensive neutrals, thigh-high boots and Dry Bar blowouts. You half expect to see Tinsley and Sonja in the far corner, bickering in front of a film crew.
Actually snagging a table is as trying as watching a full episode of the New Jersey franchise, thanks to the no-reservations policy. On a recent Wednesday night, I was told over the phone that the wait was expected to be 45 minutes. But when I arrived, the projected time was more than one hour, which slowly crept into nearly two. No apologies issued. But every languid second dawdling for a table prints money for the furniture brand. Just to kill time, you can order a $16 pinot noir at the coffee and wine bar perched two floors below, then plant yourself on an outrageously expensive white sectional under a wildly expensive chandelier as you nervously clasp the wineglass’s stem.
When a text message announces that your table is ready, you will head back up to the fifth-floor restaurant, which is so very un-NYC—it’s too pretty, too clean, too neat. The aesthetic looks like a trust-fund teen conjured up her ideal sweet-16 spot, with rows and rows of crystal chandeliers, potted trees and a glass ceiling.
The food is similarly photogenic, and for most of the dishes, that’s the long and short of it. Chef Brendan Sodikoff is the big name behind 4 Charles Prime Rib (panned by critics but embraced by diners) and Chicago’s burger-tastic Au Cheval, which means meat should be your priority here. The menu’s highlight is the expertly cooked rib-eye steak, 14 ounces of delightfully tender and juicy bites accompanied by a side of aioli and a small bowl of steak salt. For a more budget-friendly carnal option, the $24 RH burger is stacked with sharp American cheese, pickles, onions and dijonnaise for a pleasant, if not distinctive, patty. But spend $45 on anything other than the truffle pappardelle, unless you enjoy bland, oily sauce and the faint taste of rubber.
The simple dessert of warm chocolate-chip cookies served in the lush room with amenable service (no one rushed us out past closing time) ensures that you won’t leave RH Rooftop with total buyer’s remorse, but you probably won’t be a repeat customer, either.