My original plan was tacos. Tacos at the new Breddos on Kingly Street because really, who doesn’t love tacos? So I headed in that direction but then I thought “Wait! Rambla! Fay gave it five stars! Maybe they’re open.” So I wandered down Dean Street until I found it — hard to miss, it’s cerulean blue — just south of Dean Street Townhouse — and it was like 11:50 am (Sorry, I will always like to eat at 12) and all the blinds were closed BUT I could tell there were people inside.
Was Rambla open? What should I do? Tacos? Or Rambla? Rambla or tacos? I checked the Rambla website and — and my memory now is hazy — it either didn’t list the hours at all OR said they didn’t open til dinner. So I checked OpenTable. OpenTable was taking bookings but not til 5:15 pm. And then I checked Google. Google said Rambla was closed. So I checked Facebook. Facebook said that Rambla would open at 12. I chose to believe Facebook.
But really, maybe I should start a business where I manage restaurant websites and information.
Around 12:05 pm, the blinds came up and the door opened. I stepped inside. “Are you open?” I asked, in a hopeful manner. “Of course we are!” the team responded. I explained the different answers I saw on different websites. The team looked a little panicked. “But we’ve been getting OpenTable reservations for today!” I whipped out my phone. I tried to make a booking. I showed them the screen. “According to this, you’re not open til dinner.”
I don’t think we realize the impact OpenTable has on the restaurant industry. If you’re a restaurant that’s not on OpenTable, you will miss out. No one has the scale that they do. (Even though they totally suck in other ways — really, if you want to support the restaurant industry, book direct.) So for a new restaurant like Rambla, failing to update their hours on OpenTable must have cost them a few lunch bookings on their first Sunday lunch. Awks.
I was shown to a table at the window — luckily, most of Rambla’s tables are window tables and in fact, I might argue that Rambla has some of the best windows on Soho of any restaurant in the area. The windows wrap half the north-facing wall as well as the east Dean Street side. On a sunny afternoon, it’s really delightful. Big and bright.
The decor is also delightful. Hipster beach! I love it. There’s something calming about the colors (blue, orange) and textures (wood, metal). Although personally, I think they could have done a better job with the floors. (Some gaps. Be careful if you’re in heels.)
The food, however, was just…good. Granted I am just one person and granted I only tried three dishes and granted one of those dishes was free (the croquetas). BUT! I wanted salt. Everything needed just a tiny smidge of salt.
Let’s start with the highlight — the supremely autumnal sea bass with Jerusalem artichoke soubise and port poached salsify. The sea bass was excellently prepared with a nice crispy bit of skin and the artichoke soubise made it like fall (i.e. autumn) on a plate. BUT…I just wanted a tiny bit of salt.
The lowlight? The escalivada, which normally I love. No smoke, very little garlic, no salt. Finally, I asked for some salt and they brought me enough salt for a dinner party of eight. I almost considered dumping the remaining salt into my purse because it was very nice salt but I didn’t.
The somewhere in between? The spinach croquetas. Which were free because I had asked how many croquetas were in an order and my server said four and I made a sad face and he said not to worry, they would make me two. The two were delivered, breast-like, with compliments. BUT. Cold in the middle. Pretty darn good but cold in the middle. And again — just like the other day — existential crisis. Do I complain? Do I complain about something that is free? (Or uh, do I wait to write about it on my website? Only six people read my website these days –Hi dad look I didn’t mention champagne! — so that’s fine.)
So not five stars in my book. Maybe four, rounded up? 3.75 more for atmosphere than the rest.
The Verdict: Go because it is CHEAP and THE WINDOWS on a sunny afternoon. I haven’t talked about the prices and they are so cheap that I’m kinda like WTF. Why is this so cheap. (Isn’t Soho rent like a bajillion dollars these days?) Also, the staff is very nice and I like the disco loo mirror and the disco sink mirror but they need a hook on the back of the loo door.