What comes to mind when you hear the name Hard Rock Cafe?
Music, rock stars, those epic T-Shirts, locations all over the world, and Jim Morrison’s pants perhaps? They do have a pair on display at the Hollywood location! Although the menu at Hard Rock Cafe is just as captivating as the performers it celebrates, the good food often plays in the background while the rock stars and memorabilia hog the spotlight. After experiencing a full-on tasting of the new menu, my Advice Contributor Megyn Bell and I are here to say, the food (and cocktails!) at Hard Rock should be the star of the show!
We arrived in our rock & roll best (does BCBG count?) to enjoy a night of culinary creations from Executive Chef Leonard L. Delgado. The Hard Rock team was on hand to make us feel welcome, and who wouldn’t feel welcomed by a round of delicious MAGICAL MYSTERY MOJITOS?! We were warned to pace ourselves with the ROCKIN’ WINGS (perfectly seasoned), the BALSAMIC TOMATO BRUSCHETTA (absolutely amazing), and the SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP that were being passed by friendly servers on silver trays, which weren’t your average serving trays, they were cymbals! It was easy to see that the team at Hard Rock Cafe cares about quality and presentation, down to the last detail.
After enjoying our hour ‘derves we were escorted into a private VIP dining area where we got to meet the Chef and learn about the new menu. First up was the NACHOPALOOZA! The most annoying thing about nachos is that once you finish the first layer, there’s a layer of chips on the bottom with no topping. This annoys Chef also, that’s why Hard Rock’s Nachopalooza is DOUBLE LAYERED with his signature three bean mix, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, pico de gallo, jalapeños and green onions. YUM!
Next up was the GRILLED CHICKEN AND ARUGULA SALAD, a refreshing way to “cleanse our palates” as Chef put it, before the next 6 courses (6 courses?!). While most of us are used to balsamic being dark in color and full of sugar, Chef uses a “white balsamic” which is lighter and healthier, and might we add, delicious! The salad is a wonderful mix of baby arugula, thinly sliced grilled chicken, spicy pecans, dried cranberries and fresh oranges tossed in lemon balsamic vinaigrette, topped with crumbled feta cheese.
One of my favorite dishes was the Salmon. It was truly love at first bite. Chef takes an 8-oz filet and wraps it in cedar paper, grills it until it’s tender and then drizzles it with sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. It was absolutely fantastic. The GRILLED NORWEGIAN SALMON is served with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes (made fresh in-house) and seasonal veggies. It was great to learn that while Hard Rock offers plenty of burgers and meats, there are also plenty of healthy options!
We got to rinse everything down with a deliciously refreshing RED BERRY PRESS! I love this pic (below) of the beautiful Megyn getting our cocktails ready. The team at Hard Rock doesn’t just create cocktails based on their own ideas, they do extensive research to find out what’s trending and why, and we can definitely agree that the French Press Cocktail is a trendsetter.
Ok friends now it’s time to get serious. Let’s talk about MEAT. And not just any meat, SMOKEHOUSE. As if our taste buds weren’t already on Cloud 9, the servers presented us with our next tantalizing tray of tastes to try, the Hickory-Smoked Ribs, BBQ Chicken, and Smoked Beef Brisket.
Hard Rock’s fork-tender signature smokehouse specialties are marinated in awesomeness before they’re slow-cooked right there in the kitchen in Hard Rock’s own in-house smokers. Yep, it’s the real deal. Even those Southern girls (Megyn and our lovely hostess) can’t deny the deliciousness!
All I have to say is, if you ever find yourself at Hard Rock Cafe, try the Ribs. Seriously. Amazing.
Burgers are a staple in almost every diet. We’ve all had them, we all love them, but what makes them memorable? Chef can tell you that! From the ORIGINAL LEGENDARY BURGER (topped with smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, golden fried onion ring, crisp lettuce and vine ripened tomato) to the adventurous TANGO BURGER (two single premium patties layered with slow-cooked Sloppy-Joe, American and Jack cheeses, tangy barbecue sauce and finished with blue cheese and horseradish mayonnaise) and the brand new FIESTA BURGER (Toasted brioche bun layered with roasted jalapeño salsa, melted Jack cheese, freshly made guacamole, pico de gallo, crisp lettuce and vine-ripened tomato), each bite was an experience that will not soon be forgotten.
I loved the Tango Burger the most, and (given I eat vegetarian most of the time), the VEGGIE LEGGIE was another favorite! Full of flavor, the grilled Veggie Leggie patty is topped with a grilled Portobello mushroom, zucchini, yellow squash and roasted red pepper. Served on a toasted bun with mayo, leaf lettuce, sliced tomato and grilled sweet onions – YUM!
Oh, are you full already? What about dessert?!? Our lovely hostess referred to the TWIST AND SHOUT milkshake as “childhood nostalgia with alcohol” and it was by far my favorite sweet! If one could perfect a blend of spiced rum, Guinness stout, dark crème de cacao, chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream and salted caramel, topped by whipped cream, caramel, chocolate syrup and … bacon bits, then the TWISH AND SHOUT is that perfection. 🙂
We also got to indulge in CHEESECAKE MADE WITH OREO® COOKIE PIECES, the HOT FUDGE BROWNIE, FRESH APPLE COBBLER, and last but not least, the SALTED CARAMEL CAFE, a mixture of Starbucks coffee, Tia Maria, Baileys Irish Cream, salted caramel and half and half, topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce and, presumably for good measure, caramel popcorn.
If you’re not already full from reading this, then head on over to your nearest Hard Rock Cafe and get in on the action. Friendly service, delicious food and an altogether memorable experience awaits you. Hard Rock is the never-failing option to enjoy drinks with friends, a family dinner, even a birthday (and remember to try the ribs!). Also – don’t forget that Hard Rock has one of the Best Happy Hours in Hollywood, and to tell them your friends at TGIFguide sent you 🙂