Editor’s note: This is a restaurant review. It is also post-apocalyptic science fiction. Bon appétit!
Over there,” said Ophelia Chen. She gestured with a weather-beaten hand toward the horizon to the east, where the sun’s rays were just starting to scatter their hazy light over the vine-choked rubble and fields of dandelions.
It was February, so the temperature was only about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but she knew that it was only going to get hotter. They would need to move quickly if they wanted to get anything done before they headed back to the catacombs.
“There’s a crossroads over there!” said JamMaster Thor, following Ophelia’s long loping steps over the broken terrain. “Do you think we’ll find anything useful?”
“I don’t know,” said Ophelia. “But the people here were rich. This area was called Edina Village.”
JamMaster nodded. He was young, but history was his personal passion project. Edina Crater was among the 23 human habitations established on Mars in the late 21st Century, and it was one of the last to die out. And before it was a colony on Mars, it was a wealthy community here on Earth.
After 30 minutes of hiking, the pair of explorers reached their destination, a higher pile of rubble amid the greenery. The two started digging, flipping spade after spade of heavy, contaminated earth. After an hour, JamMaster noticed something.
“Look!” he said, bringing up a dirt-covered teardrop glinting with light. He blew upon it and used a spit-moistened fingertip to clean it further. It was a tear-drop shaped piece of crystal attached to a wire strung with another half-dozen smaller tears.
“There are hundreds of them down there,” said Ophelia, gesturing at the dirt, which now sparkled alluringly. She knelt down and ran her hands through the soil. “It looks like this was part of some kind of wall assemblage or maybe hanging light fixture of great decorative value.”
Ophelia pulled up a window on her tablet, searching the well-preserved corpse of the Internet for location-coded information about their dig site. “I’ve got something,” she said. “Look at this. There was a restaurant here! A food critic wrote about it!” She pulled up the information.
JamMaster squinted at her through the hot, hazy air. “Food critic?” he asked. He laughed. “That sounds like someone who would just taste and describe food!”
Ophelia raised her eyebrows at him. She was in her early 50s, and while she’d never read any food criticism—or any other sort of criticism for that matter—in a contemporary sense, she knew enough to understand what it was about.
“That’s exactly what it was,” she said. “There were so many food choices in the early 21st that there were special scribes who just described it and others who just took beautiful photographs of it. Mostly to sell it to the customers. Here,” she said, handing the tablet to JamMaster.
He started to read:
The best way to get to the third floor RH restaurant at Restoration Hardware is to use the stairs. The climbing-a-ziggurat approach feels appropriate to the edifice as a whole, which, now that it has moved out of the already-plenty-ritzy Galleria, has taken on a Babylonian sense of scale and statuary-enhanced grandiosity.
Huffing your way up that final flight only to meet three pairs of imperious eyes staring at you over the host stand helps to set the scene for the dining experience that follows.
Crystal chandeliers line the greenhouse-style ceiling of this rooftop bistro; servers swarm the room, about 15 or so (to the 45 or so customers) when we visited for a Thursday lunch. Little touches (servers with Madonna-in-concert earpieces and precious miniature jars of honey with your tea) remind you that you are Somewhere Important.
An Italianate stone fountain burbles merrily in the middle of the room, threatened from above by a light fixture large enough to shelter turkeys. All that glamour doesn’t come cheap; you can easily end up spending $30–60 a plate to enjoy the ambiance and wall sconces.
JamMaster looked up from the tablet, perplexed. “What does it mean, ‘$30–60 a plate’?” he asked Ophelia.
“Oh,” she said, “that means a meal probably cost customers 2–4 Hour Credits.”
JamMaster let out a low whistle. “Wait a second, wasn’t this during the era when insulin was withheld from people who couldn’t afford it? And… and the Warming was fully recognized and underway? How did anyone pay 4 HC for a meal?”
Ophelia chuckled quietly. “You must remember, young JamMaster, that everybody was earning different types of HC back in 2020. For the people of Edina Village, a meal here might have been one-half of one of their personal HC. Or even one-tenth. Trivial!”
JamMaster nodded. “The Billionaires,” he said. “I guess they didn’t get billions by earning a standard HC an hour.”
“More like tens of thousands,” nodded Ophelia.
“Let’s read about the food!” said JamMaster, scrolling downwards. “Okay,” said Ophelia, “but only for a moment. Then we’ve got to keep digging to see if we can find anything useful. It’s going to be 110 degrees by noon, and it’s going to be a long, wet hike back to the conveyance at that point. We don’t have unlimited water.”
He nodded, and read the next section aloud:
Coffee at RH is done in an Italian-inspired manner, and our cappuccino ($5) was pleasantly foamed and boasted a robust and balanced coffee flavor; a $7 tea service was similarly competent.
The food is also no joke at RH. Our $21 cheeseburger was practically marinated in a rich American cheese that recalled the house-made stuff at Bull’s Horn in South Minneapolis, and the balance of pickles to meat to dijon mayo to lusciously dark brown brioche bun couldn’t have been better.
The avocado toast is $20 ($30 if you’d like it with a side of perfectly cooked thick-cut pork belly-style bacon). It’s lovely stuff: at least two whole, perfectly ripe avocados died to top this chewy, substantially grilled toast, and the poached egg that comes on the side in a precious little metal pitcher boasts a runny yolk contained by thoroughly cooked whites.
It may be the best avocado toast in the state, but whether that self-evident quality is worth a staggering multiple of the raw ingredient costs is best left to the diner’s discretion.
“I’d love to taste a bit of that,” said JamMaster, unwrapping a fungal protein bar and starting to unscrew his canteen of water.
“It might be a while before we do,” said Ophelia. “A few generations, if we’re lucky. I don’t think we’re going to find anything here, let’s call it a day.”
The two finished their bars and water and walked west, cracking crystal chandelier tears beneath their muddy boots as they departed.
RH Rooftop Restaurant, 6801 France Avenue South, Edina, 952-206-6307