The "Peacock Cafe", located in the Domestic Arts Building, provided a place to escape the heat as well as get a nice bite to eat. Moderately priced as such eateries go, Peacock Cafe had interesting sandwichs, salads, soups, and pizza. Upscale bottled teas and juices are available as well as beer and wine. Everything was very fresh and was presented nicely.
As the cafe is self-service, patrons place their orders with the cashier and pay first, then pick up their order from a separate window. The floor to ceiling windows offering great views over the grounds was a particularly pleasant light and airy setting in which to enjoy your meal or snack as well as admire the sculpture also located inside the same building.
10am - 4pm Tues - Sat.
10am - 5pm Fri - Sun.
Rat's is the museum's fine dining and more expensive option. The food at Rat's is supposed to be exceptional and we noticed quite a few businessmen arriving for lunch. Serving gourmet cuisine, Rat's was conceived by sculptor J. Seward Johnson’s and "is designed to make visitors feel they have stepped into a village reminiscent of French impressionist Claude Monet's beloved town of Giverny." Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of Rat’s Restaurant is that it overlooks sculptures in a lily-pond and bridge and even the tablesettings are inspired by the paintings of French Impressionist Claude Monet. Oddly enough, the front of the restaurant seemed designed to imitate a caravan wagon from a fairytale, although the inside looks quite elegant.
And as menu prices often follow the degree of elegance in any given restaurant, Rat's is no exception. Entrees listed on the "Gastronomique" menu run from a low of about $27 to a high of $36. Other selections are a la carte.
Even if you cannot spare the time to visit "The Grounds for Sculpture," you can visit Rat's Lounge for Happy Hour (Tues - Sat 4 - 7pm); or for lunch or dinner. For a real splurge, make reservations for their exclusive New Year's Eve Celebration ~ $95 per person or $150 for 5 course paired with wines (2011 prices).
This is a fanciful place- inspired by the 'Wind in the Willows'. One enters through the Gypsy Caravan and the restaurant itself is cozy & charming. The food & service are excellent and I would highly recommend the Sunday brunch. Located on the Grounds for Sculpture, you can walk around the gardens with a cocktail before you dine.