Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Room 39

Continuing on my Orlando urban living streak, I went downtown for lunch Monday with my good friend T. We hit Room 39, which a few years ago became a staple of the downtown bar scene. Ultra swank with a classic retro feel, this bar stands out amidst all of the obnoxious bass pumping hoochie bars in the near vicinity. Back in the day when I lived within walking distance (and before the ban on smoking in restaurants-remember those days?) I would consider myself a semi-regular of dinner at Room 39. They had an amazing White Pizza that I think I might have been addicted to. I was heartbroken when they stopped serving dinner to keep their smoky evening bar scene alive.

So, yes, I was shocked to learn that not only do they serve lunch, but also that they have an apparently large and regular crowd. All the tables were full in the non-smoking lunchtime atmosphere, with numerous parties either waiting to be seated or making a hasty exit after seeing the multitude. The service was on the slow side, but it was expected considering there were only two servers for all of the tables.

My lunch partner and I both ordered the Hummus Wraps, hers served with an Israeli Couscous salad, mine with fresh fruit. While I am an admitted lover of hummus, I have to say that this was probably my least favorite hummus that I’ve ever had. Obviously homemade (which is usually a good thing!), it was so strongly flavored with cumin that I actually felt kinda sick after I ate it. I think I even muttered the words, “Ohhh, I shouldn’t have eaten that” as we were leaving. Also, one of my biggest peeves of dining out experiences: If you list it in the description on the menu, please make sure that it actually makes it to the plate. Both the red onions and roasted red peppers would have gone well in the wrap! They may have even reduced the cumin-fest! They were sorely missed.

The best part of the meal was the one bite I had of the Israeli Couscous Salad (also known as Pearl Pasta). Lightly tossed in oil and combined with toasted pine nuts and dried cranberries (go Craisins!), it really was delicious.

Even though the lunch didn’t amaze me, I’m sure I’ll be back at Room 39 soon, both for lunch and for drinks. After all, I was reminded of reasons I’ve always loved this place: it’s comfy yet hip atmosphere, it’s unpretentiousness, and it’s prime location for people watching. Check out their website and let me know if anyone wants to hit up the 12 for $12 on Tuesdays!

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