Rococo Restaurant & Fine Wine – Penn
Member of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association / December 2013
By Greg Horton
Rococo has been a neighborhood fixture on N. Penn since 2004 when chef/owner Bruce Rinehart decided to invest in a little island of fine dining where none existed. Rinehart and executive chef Jason Bustamante brought their East Coast cuisine and aesthetic to Oklahoma City, and since they first opened in June 2004, Rococo has established itself as one of Oklahoma City’s most unique dining experiences.
Rinehart has always referred to Rococo’s food as “East-Coast style” fare, and that probably best sums up the eclectic menu. The menu includes pasta, seafood, steak, and what is clearly the metro’s best crab cake. Oklahoma diners are used to “fried hockey puck” style crab cakes, but Rinehart features Maryland jumbo lump crab meat that is never fried. The breading is moist and delicious, and the appetizer is served with Thai chili cream sauce, and accompanied by a small side salad of mixed greens and Roma tomatoes tossed in a delicious balsamic dressing.
Also on the starter menu are Rinehart’s signature “cookies.” Nope, they are not dessert. Instead, Rococo cookies are toppings like smoked salmon or blue cheese and garlic served on sliced baguettes. The Gangster Cookie is a popular choice that features Rococo’s spicy Italian sausage, or choose from shrimp and spinach or barbecue chicken cookies.
The entrées include a choice of six pasta dishes, plus the popular lobster and shrimp risotto, which is on the seafood menu. Creamy risotto is served with generous portions of lobster tail and shrimp to create a genuinely decadent dish.
The littleneck clams are always a favorite at Rococo, and diners can order them as a hot appetizer or served up with linguini. If spicy is your thing, choose the Dr. C’s Shrimp Fra Diavalo.
Rococo also serves up steaks, lamb, and chops, but one of their lesser-known and ridiculously delicious choices is the Long Island Duckling. The duck is served three ways: a “confit” thigh, seared and sliced breast, and ground liver served as cookies. Another popular choice is the stuffed pork chop. This one disappeared briefly, but customer demand brought it back. It’s a huge, lean chop stuffed with pine nuts, spinach, provolone, and mozzarella.
Rococo also serves one of the metro’s more popular brunches. Although there are dozens of options, to be a true brunch expert, you simply must have experienced the crab cake benedict. It’s the East Coast style crab cake served as “the bread,” with a poached egg and Hollandaise. It’s rich enough you may want to share it. The fruit served on the side helps to cut some of the fat, but this is simply one of the richest, creamiest brunch items available anywhere.
For lunch, two things really stand out. The Petrale sole is served either grenobloise or meuniere, and it’s a perfect lunch portion of fish accompanied by rice. For vegetarians—and Rococo really caters to vegetarians—the Amber’s Vegetarian Chili is so delicious and hearty that meat eaters won’t notice there are no dead animals in it.
Rococo features a full bar and excellent wine list, including Mimosas for Sunday brunch. They’re also open seven days a week.
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