RAUÐARÁ STEAKHOUSE - The Reykjavik Grapevine

RAUÐARÁ STEAKHOUSE

RAUÐARÁ STEAKHOUSE

Published June 10, 2005

Heavily romantic. Huge candlesticks. Accompanied by my sister, we were quite pleased, after a drink in the upstairs parlour, to be relocated by the waitress to a table more suitable when no one is proposing marriage to anyone. Those tables are to be found, but they are scarce.
The restaurant is decorated with a collage of disparate kitschy items, which strangely enough, make a coherent and joyful whole … a reindeer head with Christmas lights hanging from its horns stands out from the wall above a jaguar-patterned sofa – close to a statue of a cupid that seems to be washing his armpits, opposite a large painting by Sveinn Björnsson … and somehow the whole is pleasurable. As long as one ignores the apartment buildings outside every window. One is also advised to ignore the bathroom, especially the ladies’ room, my sister told me, and so we shall and move on: This evening the decor happened to be wonderfully supplemented with an accidental variety of music from someone’s iPod, as a waiter explained to me: Drake, Oldham, Dylan, Bowie, Buckley … is it the standardized iPod collection?
Now, as for the food: The menu is short but appealing, focusing on steaks. Pseudo-vegetarians can enjoy the fish menu, but vegans will have to settle with dessert and coffee.
The appetizer, a lobster soup, was very fine but outdone by the fantastic bread and creamy butter that came with it. My sister informed me that the steak was quite fine, but either slightly over- or underdone. There is little more to be said about it: served with a baked potato and salad, no surprises were involved. You may call it classic. The fish steak was good, even great, but on the scale of a good Sunday dinner – it did not reach the sublime. Which, of course, is not a fair demand from food. The prices don’t really reach the sublime either, which makes the demand even less fair. And yet … one wants bliss.
And in the end it was verified that happiness can be found through food. The dessert, home-made vanilla ice cream, was truly delightful, we both fell silent and finished up speechless, smiling.
The ideal place for which occasion? If a couple originated from very separate layers of the social fabric want to announce their engagement to both families at the same time, the food and service should please everyone and yet no one would feel intimidated or out of place.
But please make better coffee.

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