These kids today. They love their hip music, their Barack Obama and their brightly colored sneakers. • But if you really want to connect with America's youth, there's only one thing guaranteed to draw their attention: Corporate diner menu items endorsed by rock stars. • Denny's knows this. They've augmented their late-night menu with hip! and edgy! offerings from the bands All-American Rejects, Taking Back Sunday, Plain White T's and Eagles of Death Metal. The new "Rockstar Menu" is available only from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. • As a fan of the rock 'n' roll music, I was heartened to see Denny's finally reaching out to me, the consumer with its Rockstar Menu. So one night this week, I popped in for a taste test. Here's a review. — Jay Cridlin [email protected]
Heart on a Plate
Band: Eagles of Death Metal
What it is: Heart-shaped pancakes topped with raspberry sauce, hot fudge, strawberries, white chocolate chips and whipped cream, served with bacon and eggs.
Is it any good? A fruity, fudgy mass of calories, this dish makes a better dessert than a late-night snack. It's like sucking on a tube of frosting. The eggs and meat were subpar to mediocre.
Does the meal match the music? Call me crazy, but I was not expecting Denny's to partner with a band with a song called Whorehoppin'. The Eagles are referred to as "EoDM" on the cover of the menu (guess Denny's doesn't want to play up the whole "death" angle), and prickly sideman Josh Homme (also from Queens of the Stone Age) is absent from any promo materials. All that said, however, the Heart on a Plate is fun, sweet, heavy and recklessly indulgent — just like EoDM's music.
Grade: B. But beware: Like the Eagles' catchiest singles, this one'll stay with you for a while.
Alternate menu suggestion: Beans of the Stone Age
The All-American S.O.S.
Band: All American Rejects
What it is: Hamburger, cheese, grilled onions and gravy atop Texas toast, and hash browns.
Is it any good? Warm, spicy and filling, this was the most innovative meal of the bunch. Cheese and gravy are an underrated combination, and Texas toast makes everything better.
Does the meal match the music? Until I saw the menu, I didn't know the Rejects are based in Oklahoma. Now that I know, the meal makes sense — this is one workmanlike, Midwestern dish.
Grade: A. First-team All-American.
Alternate menu suggestion: All-American Flapjacks
Taking Back Bacon Burger Fries
Band: Taking Back Sunday
What it is: French fries topped with burger, bacon, cheese, onion, tomato, pickles, ketchup and onions.
Is it any good? Absolutely not. It's like someone ran a cheeseburger through a shredder and dumped it on a pile of too many fries. It's messy, there's not enough cheese or bacon, and, like Taking Back Sunday's music, it's not conducive to finger-picking. A total failure on every level.
Does the meal match the music? This is inarguably the least emo food in the history of cuisine.
Grade: F. MakeDamnSure you never, ever order this.
Alternate menu suggestion: The Taking Back Sundae! Come on, Denny's! That one was there for the taking!
Plain White Shake
Band: Plain White T's
What it is: A vanilla milkshake with cheesecake, whipped cream and white chocolate chips.
Is it any good? I pictured Denny's dumping a slice of cheesecake into a blender and pouring it into a cup. What I got was essentially a really, really rich vanilla shake with only a couple of small cheesecake bites inside. Still tasty, though.
Does the meal match the music? It's plain. It's white. And the T's never met a marketing tie-in they didn't like (Kohl's, Rock Band, ABC Family and now Denny's).
Grade: B. It went down smooth (like Our Time Now) without being overly saccharine (like Hey There Delilah).
Alternate menu suggestion: Hey There ... Papayas? (Eh, we got nothing.)