Escargots, Antipasto, and Betty Crocker

Rhythm Café

Main-course specials included a lovely piece of dolphin, baked with a pistachio crust and napped with a horseradish sauce. We also enjoyed a dish of boneless loin lamb chops, two musky medallions that were tender and flavorful despite being overcooked. A tomato/onion/feta cheese salsa jazzed them up.

One way to improve the Rhythm experience, I think, would be to vary the vegetable side dishes. Verdant spears of broccoli were perfectly steamed, and slightly lumpy mashed potatoes were rich and flavorful, but they looked pretty mundane accompanying all the entrées.

The desserts diverge from the European theme -- they're reminiscent, rather, of Betty Crocker. Still, it's hard to improve on homemade brownies. Rhythm Café actually does just that by making them into a sundae. Other sweets include a subtle cappuccino- chocolate-chip layer cake, iced with chocolate cream cheese, and peanut butter cream pie. The chocolate-chip cookies, incidentally, can be purchased by the dozen, and any cake can be ordered whole for a party. (Give the kitchen 24 hours' notice.)

No one's too sexy for this Betty Crocker- style dessert
Melissa Jones
No one's too sexy for this Betty Crocker- style dessert

So yes, Rhythm Café is gay-oriented, an inescapable fact if you pay attention to the clues around you. And it may be hard to separate the proprietors' sexual politics from their restaurant. But in the end, unless you're intolerant, the only way these factors affect the dining experience is by giving it identity. Take away what allows Rhythm Café to groove to its own beat, and it's simply another good restaurant.

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