Member Spotlight on Rococo Steak by Nicole Roberts | Published on January 28, 2019
Rococo Steak, which opened in 2013, gets its name from the art period that moved away from the Baroque period. The Rococo period was characterized by symmetry and fluid designs, and focused more on attention to detail, ornamentation and use of bright colors. The characteristics of this art period are major themes of the restaurant as well and can be found in more than just the aesthetics. Just like the art period, they too are a revolution, this one pushing the boundaries of the traditional steakhouse. They are aiming to remove the stigma of the fancy steakhouse reserved for special occasions by creating an environment that involves the community.
Their commitment to community involvement is apparent as you walk through and see their five private dining areas, many of which are equipped with AV equipment so it can be used for more than just wedding rehearsals or celebratory dinners (though they do plenty of those too and are the perfect location for it!). Audrey Grounds, the Events Director and Rococo representative for the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, says they wanted to be an alternative meeting space for hotels and other community events.
Rococo’s commitment to community involvement is also apparent in the selectiveness of their ingredients. They want to give their patrons the best food, so they roll out seasonal menus every few months to feature fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Their commitment to using locally sourced ingredients not only goes back to their focus on community involvement, though they do have a commitment to giving back to the farmers of St. Petersburg, but also to their attention to detail along with finding the best ingredients possible for their menu items.
When I asked Grounds what the must-try menu item was, she laughed and responded “I would say everything honestly; it’s hard to say one item!” For brunch, she recommends their homemade biscuits, pictured to the left, or their bacon flight, an original menu item that they have brought back due to popular demand. Personally, she eats the salmon; “It’s funny because we are a steak house but we have amazing sea food!” The item I found the most intriguing on her list of must-try items was the bacon octopus: “I think our bacon octopus is amazing because they treat it like bacon: they brine it, they smoke it, they grill it, so it has this amazing bacon-inspired flavor. Octopus can be chewy and not everyone likes it, but everyone likes our octopus.”
Rococo’s Executive Chef Jordan Buendia, (pictured to the right), who’s been there since the beginning, shared some of his favorites with me. “Pretty much everything! I really love the miso salmon dish and the snapper dish as well. My favorite thing to make is the lobster bisque; it’s a simple dish but it breaks down to the time and effort that you put into the simple soup that makes it special,” Buendia shared with me.
As you can see, Rococo has plenty of fantastic food to offer the public, and they want everyone to try it, no matter what the occasion! In trying to break the stereotype of a steakhouse being only for special occasions, they have started offering a daily Happy Hour from 4:00-6:30 PM as well as Sunday Brunch from 11:00 AM – 3 PM. They don’t require any particular dress, and even encourage people to come as you are to try their amazing selections.
So, what’s coming to Rococo in 2019? They will soon be releasing their biannual wine list that includes over 700 labels, crafted with care to ensure they meet the highest expectations, so keep an eye out for that. They will also be releasing their next Seasonal Menu soon, so be ready for some new, fresh dishes. If you go to Sunday Brunch, be sure to try their new Kentucky Wake Up Call, which Grounds described as a twist on an old fashion but with coffee, created with a cold drip coffee brewing machine. Finally, Rococo is introducing catering starting in 2019! Yes, you can now have Rococo’s amazingly fresh food at any special event, no matter where it is! For more information on their catering program, visit: http://www.rococosteak.com/catering/