Hail Rex, Can We Depose You?
My wife and I ate lunch today at Rex on Harlem in Norridge. There are two constants when we eat lunch at Rex. One, we will have a very good lunch; today octopus salad, tomato/spinach focaccia, and “Sicilian eggplant” (a triplex of stacked, sauteed eggplants, a sprinkling of cheese and herbs and a pour of red gravy). Two, I will bemoan the availability of a Rex with my sensibilities. I mean I like, really Rex. I mean I always struggle to find just a few things to eat, but I would really love to love it. I love to love a Rex that made their many salad offerings from market fresh ingredients, and as much as I like the way the house handles eggplant, I only want to see them handling eggplants in the summer. I long for regime change.
Rex daunts and taunts you with a 20 foot long display case. The case contains all manner of salads, fried vegetables, and other dishes that would make an antipasto course in an Italian restaurant. Given the Sicilian heritage of the store’s management, there are many offerings of that part of the world. Like I say, there are always many eggplant preparations such as caponata, rolled, stuffed eggplants, and grilled eggplants. There are salads with green beans and tomatoes and potatoes. Believe me, it almost all tastes good. But, ah, could not it taste better?
If I could prop up a new Rex, its display case this week might not look that different than it does now, although I promise you the tomato salad would look a lot different. Yet, my Rex’s case in a month from now would have maybe a few less eggplant dishes, maybe a few more dishes from red bell peppers. As the weather got cooler, the case would migrate to roasted root vegetables and cabbage salads, and sauteed kale. There would be a challenge, sure in winter, but my Rex would relish the challenge. There would be potatoes many ways, of course, and pumpkins, and celery root remoulade. There are always beans. We’d make do until the first nettle crostini greened up the space, and eventually it would be six thousand ways to cook the asparagus.
At present, we are ruled by a king with the best intentions. Rex reigns over Harlem. Would not we want, however, a new ruler?