The Hard Rock Cafe is famous for their fun and unbeatable atmosphere with music memorabilia scattered throughout each of their restaurants. They have been revamping their menu so they can also be known for their food. Feedback was collected over the past 14 months with more than 3,000 guests surveyed in cafes across four continents in 14 cities. That’s IT Mommy was recently invited to test out this new (and improved) menu at The Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood.
Upon our arrival, we were presented with light eats and one of their new drinks, the Magical Mystery Mojito. It’s Hard Rock’s take on the muddled mint and rum beverage with a twist of cucumber. The presentation and flavor is on par with the local gastropubs my husband and I like to frequent.
We were escorted to a private dining area where our multi-course meal began. We were immediately greeted with appetizers in teh form”Air Mexico” and Nachopalooza. I was most impressed by their house-made chips and I may have gone back for a second and third helping. The Air Mexico cocktail includes 3 mini-margaritas of your choice and is served up a individual portion size of their tortilla chips w/ their house-made pico de gallo (which, by the way, is better than many Mexican restaurants I’ve been to).
Other highlights include their new muddled strawberry lemonade, presented in a french press. I loved the tangy flavor of the white balsamic lemon vinaigrette in their new grilled chicken arugula salad. Hold the pecans for me, please (I’m allergic).
After the dinner I had a chance to talk with Chef Delgado and find out more about him and his inspirations for the new menu:
What do you consider the biggest challenges in developing a menu that would appeal to families?
Chef Delgado: I consider wives and kids always, first and foremost, because where the kids want to eat, is where the mom wants to eat. Here is an opportunity to go out and she wants to make sure she goes somewhere where there is a good balance of food that is fun and whimsical.
Were you instrumental in developing the Mac n’ Cheese recipe? Because that is one of my favorite things ever. It’s the best Mac n’ Cheese I’ve ever had.
CD: Well, that goes back way before my time, but one of my colleagues and really good friends out of Chicago was the one that developed it as an outside consultant, Charlie Baggs. He was the one that developed it for Hard Rock. It is a really tight knit culture of chefs at a certain level and we all share.
Hard Rock ran an ad campaign about a year and a half ago that proclaimed their chefs were rock stars.
CD: Yeah, I did that commercial here (in Los Angeles). Actually, most of the food for that commercial along with the guy that looks like Adam Levine, all the hand work, all the food, all the flipping, those were my hands. We filmed that here the first year we were open. The checkerboard tile in the background, that’s my kitchen.
So, I’m wondering if you are a rock star, what instrument would you play?
CD: Oh..well, haha, you know, I do play instruments, especially when I was a kid. I played woodwinds-my father played saxophone so I played saxophone. I love music. If I weren’t a chef I would probably be a musician. But, an instrument that I want to learn how to play before I go on to the great kitchen in the sky is the piano. It’s very romantic and classical.
Ah, so I see, it’s the softer side of the Hard Rock.
CD: I guess. I have a lot of rock and roll in me…
..And I just thought you were going to say the cups or the spoons.
CD: Haha, yeah, that would be very fitting.
Hard Rock Cafe’s new and improved menu features Hard Rock’s hand-crafted American fare that rocks, with a commitment to fresh ingredients and the signature flair that guests can only get at Hard Rock. For more information about Hard Rock Cafe and the new menu, visit www.HardRock.com.
That’s IT Mommy, Heather
* Heather attended a press event courtesy of the Hard Rock Cafe. The review is in our own words and is our opinion.