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Drink Mon Mar 19 2007
Cafe Rōm at the Hyatt Center looks like an amazingly crisp and clean space. White mod tables and chairs, shiny white vinyl booths with low-rising and highly sloped backs, curved glass sandwich cases and a collection of brightly backlit white menu boards wrapped in stainless steel let you pretend you're in New York or Berlin. Even the restroom marked "WC" for water closet adds to the cafe's European flair. The recessed ceiling at the ordering counter suggests intimacy and, as the ceiling opens up to seating area, the cafe seems surprisingly roomy. Sitting down, I noticed the tenderness of my roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, basil and tomato contrasting quite well to the nice tear and slight chewiness of my ciabatta. The sandwiches are well endowed with oil. As my pal Rose pointed out, "The olive oil is dripping from my sandwich." It's too bad they're touchy about snapping photos, stating reasons of proprietary design. Most people who've been eating with me recently have seen me excited to photograph the food and setting, and know how a management's position on restricting this could drastically change my lunchtime activities. Chatting with the general manager, Kourtney, about their concerns was fun and lively - with short discussions ranging from bakery offerings and conspicuous coffee drinks to the space's design; and I was assured I could take more photos after my authenticity was verified. By far, this was the most interesting conversation I've had with a restaurant manager about taking photos. I'm going to return for a sandwich and a cup of their smooth and mild coffee, but I could do without reading "all roads lead to.." on Rōm's takeaway menu. At least until they open considerably more locations. Their next is due to open soon in the renovated Metra Market.