Friday, April 27, 2012
Monday, September 14, 2009
The Gate House isn't a very large restaurant. You have about 10 tables and 10 booths. If you're planning on going on a Friday or Saturday after 6:30 or so and don't want to wait, I'd recommend a reservation. There's a bar when you walk in and there are TVs overhead, but it's not really a sports bar. Their shtick here is gourmet burgers & pizzas. I think the atmosphere fits it. I don't wear a tee shirt here, but a short sleeved shirt and jeans is fine. About one step up. It fits exactly where it means to be. There is an outdoor seating area during the warmer months.
Our waitress this particular evening was really friendly. I think this is the only spotty aspect of the Gate House, but this time, she did well, so no complaints. We went kind of early for a weekend night (because we're old folks at heart) and didn't have a wait.
Food (and drink)
We decided not to do dessert, we were stuffed!
The Gate House Cafe remains firmly planted as one of our top Rochester establishments. It's nothing fancy, but it's consistant good food. We've brought both sets of parents here, so it's a place you can feel comfortable bringing others. I highly recommend this restaurant!
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Thursday, September 3, 2009
The building is very nice from the outside, there are two outdoor seating areas: one covered, one uncovered. The parking lot directly next to the building only can fit about 6 cars, but there's additional parking in the back of the building on the opposite side of Gibbs. I'd recommend parking over there as it was a tight fit next to the building.
Inside, Tavern 58 is decorated very tastefully. You walk into a bar area, and then there's a dining room off of that. We think there was another dining room in back of that one, but we didn't see it, so I can't be sure. I can see where it gets its name...it's not a very large place. And it does have a feeling of a neighborhood Tavern. Geoff and I had on jeans and nice tops, but I noticed that most people had on khakis. I didn't feel too out of place, but it's something to note.
Service here was excellent. As soon as we walked in we were greeted and shown to a table. Our waiter (Chris) did an great job of being around when we needed him to be, but not really hovering either. When Geoff had a question about the Scotch selection and he didn't know the answer instead of just brushing it off, he went to find out the answer. (In my book that earns you brownie points. I appreciate effort.) He was very friendly and very efficient.
Food (and drink)
As I mentioned previously, there's a bar area when you first walk into the restaurant. They have a full bar selection, beer, wine, liquor...after dinner drinks, a very decent listing of scotch (or so Geoff says...I'll take his word on it!) Below is a poor shot of their scotch selection. On the opposite side they had listed their specialty cocktails and martinis. I was boring and went with a glass of wine. Geoff had a glass of scotch (they ran between $8-14. Not bad.)
And as mentioned, for my entree I went with the mac & cheese. This was an option under their "comfort foods" section, and well, I'm a mac & cheese fiend. I love it, so I had to try it.
huge. I felt like I kept eating and I barely made a dent in it. I finally had given up and when our waiter came around to see if we needed anything more, I request a box and he said, "yeah, that's an adult portion of mac & cheese."
Apart from the size, it was very tasty. Sometimes I'm nervous about mac & cheese at a restaurant because they'll let it sit all day in a half pan and just scoop when someone orders it. This wasn't. I'm sure the cheese sauce and pasta were put together ahead of time, but it was baked fresh, which made me happy. Everything went together just lovely.
Geoff had the sirloin, medium rare.
To top off our meal we split the Tavern 58 Sundae. It was made with Candied Pecan Ice Cream. It was a nice bit of sweet to end with.
I was pleasantly surprised by Tavern 58. I didn't quite know what to expect when looking at the website. Here's their menu (warning: pdf.) What's interesting to me is that their dishes run from $8-24. So it's a place that if you're going with a group of friends and no one can agree how much money they want to spend, it'd be good to go to! And I can see us frequenting here fairly often because of the lower priced menu items. I highly recommend Tavern 58.
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Dinosaur BBQ started out in Syracuse as a Biker's joint. How it's come to be such a Rochester family institution is beyond me. But you walk into the place and chances are good you'll see bikes out front, it's rough-looking. It certainly doesn't have the attitude of a biker-bar though. Inside the walls are wood, dark, and littered with memorbilia, but this isn't the neighborhood Friday's! There are a few areas that seat diners, a take-out section, a bar area, and a couple tables outdoors. Be prepared if you're seated at the long table at the bar to strike up conversation with those around you. It's a popular spot, any meal-time is going to be busy. I personally recommend going for a late lunch on the weekend if you're prone to being antsy while waiting for a table. It's a bit loud inside, not exactly a "romantic" date place.
We had a very pleasant waitress on our last trip. Nothing particularly stood out about her, but she did her job with a smile and did it well. Not much more you can ask for! They seem to have designated bus boys that will come around and periodically ask if you're done with your plate. I like not having to sit with a dirty plate in front of me, so a thumbs up to that. The hostess stand can seem a bit unfriendly, but I think it's more because they're the most hectic area of the place on most visits.
Food (and drink)
The beer list here is pretty extensive. Geoff had the Sam Adams Summer Ale and I was able to get a Mike's Hard Lemonade to drink. They have a full bar, beer, & wine in addition to your standard drink choices. If you're looking for a place to grab a drink & watch the game, this could be a good place...as long as you're okay watching whatever game they want!
I was starving when we got in, so I ordered a lot of food. Starting with the fried green tomatoes.
Being a BBQ place, they obviously have an assortment of sauces. I don't really like a lot of sauce on my food, so I'm fine with what's on there, but you can always add to what's on your meat...
hot. Geoff tried a little bite...I don't have that kind of bravery. It's the Devil's Duel Habenero Pepper Sauce.
Geoff had a combo plate... pulled pork and beef brisket. It came with your choice of 2 sides and the corn bread.
As I mentioned, I was starving for whatever reason that day and I couldn't make up my mind between the beef brisket or ribs. Imagine my delight when I saw that they had a combo platter! Oh! Heavenly!
If you're in the mood for BBQ, Rochester has some pretty decent offerings. Geoff has lived in Texas for a short while, so he can tell you it doesn't quite compare, but for this part of the country? I'd say we do pretty darn good! Now of course, there's always the competition among other BBQ joints in the city...which I have yet to visit! (Shhhh, don't tell anyone!) So I can't tell you which is better than the other. Perhaps we'll have a showdown sometime and order takeout from both places.
All in all, Dino is pretty darn good. I don't quite get why it's so big in Rochester. But when people say "you've got to go to Dino!" and you haven't been yet...allow them to take you. You won't be disappointed!
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I have to apologize first, we didn't take any pictures in the restaurant. It didn't quite feel right.
When you walk in, there's a small foyer area, to your right and straight in front of you was the bar area and to your left was the dining area. There were maybe 15-20 tables in the restaurant, tops. Very intimate setting right off the bat. When we walked in at 7, there were only 4 tables that were occupied, one couple sat down right before we did. It was nice, the only problem with that is that you were almost afraid to talk it was so quiet!
Within a half hour or so, the place started to fill up, so that small issue was taken care of. For a Monday evening, they were rather full. We were easily the youngest people there, most of the patrons were at least 10 years older than us, if not more. The tables are covered with lace, which gives it a bit of an older, more traditional feeling...this is certainly not a modern restaurant. I must say, it was nice to see other diners dressed up for a change. I hate going to a nice restaurant and seeing people in jeans. Geoff just wore dress pants and a button down and I wore a nicer sun dress, we were perfectly dressed. I don't know if there is a written dress code for the restaurant, but it's clear that the diners were following one, which delighted me to no end.
All of the servers here worked together. We had one waiter who took our order and gave us our check, but we had all the servers stop by our table at some point and see if we needed anything. (Geoff's Note: No dedicated Sommelier, which isn't surprising at such a small place, but our server seemed to know enough to get by). Personally, I like this kind of service, it's a little less personable because you're not dealing one-on-one with someone, but I think you get a higher level of service because you're never left wanting for anything. It did take a while to place our orders, but I think I just had to get more in the mindset of "dining" and not "eating." Once I did, I felt the meal moved a pace just fine. I certainly didn't feel rushed.
Food (and drink)
They do have a full bar here, but Geoff & I decided on 2 individual glasses of wine. I can't drink red, so he'll take any opportunity he can get! I had a glass of Pinot Grigio and he had a Shiraz. By the glass, there wasn't a huge selection, but I can understand not wanting to open 20 different bottles when you don't have that many tables to begin with. The selection was adequate though.
We both started off our meals with a salad. I had the beet salad with goat cheese. To be honest? I was disappointed. The beets were excellent, but there was a heaping pile of beets on my plate. I'm a huge fan of goat cheese and there were three tiny rounds of goat cheese that were coated in pepper on the plate. I'm not sure how you mask the flavor of goat cheese, but they managed to do it. I wound up trying to cut off some of the pepper so I could at least taste the goat cheese. If you're a huge fan of beets and not so much on the goat cheese? I'd say this salad is a fine choice. But I chose it because I love goat cheese and think beets are alright. I was a little overwhelemed by the beets. I hoped this wasn't a sign of things to come, but figured it was more my personal preferences than the actual dish, so I didn't feel the need to comment to anyone at the restaurant.
Geoff had the Caesar Salad. I teased him for being boring, as they had a strawberry and pear salad on the menu that he thought sounded intriguing. Truth is...I was totally jealous of his Caesar Salad. I snuck a bite, and it was pretty darn good. Oh, and the bread that came with dinner...there were 2 kinds, a white sourdough kind of bread and a multi-grain. Geoff really was enjoying the multi-grain.
For the main course, I had the lamb chops. I asked for medium rare and they were cooked perfectly. The menu said it was served with mashed potatoes, which for whatever reason, I can't eat. I was able to sub for any other starch on the menu that I saw without a problem. Awesome. If I wasn't able to, I would have just eaten the lamb chops and left the potatoes. I really enjoy lamb and this one was encrusted with Moroccan spices. It was excellent. Geoff had apparently never tried lamb, so I gave him a bite of mine and he enjoyed it too. Sometimes lamb can be tough because if you don't get it at a good place, it'll come out gamey. This one didn't at all. And there were at least 6 chops on the plate. A very healthy portion (of which I ate them all...sacrifice the veggies, not the lamb!)
Geoff had the tenderloin, cooked medium rare (sense a pattern here?) His came with the potato cake that I had subbed for and the same veggies that I had. The veggies were tasty, but really nothing to write home about. (Geoff's note: I thought the veggies were really good, Kelly just doesn't like veggies). We both enjoyed the potato cake. It was different, and almost like a hash brown. And as for his steak, he loved it. Said it was much more tender than he was expecting, seeing as this wasn't a steak house, and one of the best he's ever had (next to the steak I make of course! ha!) It was a pretty simple, straight forward steak, and I tried a bite. It was cooked perfectly and I've always said, good meat doesn't need anything fancy done to it...that was a good piece of meat.
We had to split dessert. We went for the chocolate bomb. It was dark chocolate & caramel mousses wrapped in a chocolate shell. We devoured it as usual. Absolutely delightful.
While listed as "expensive" in many Rochester guides, Geoff and I both agreed that if you went to any major city, you'd be paying twice as much for that meal. The combined total price of our meal with tax and tip was about $120. The service was excellent, the setting was intimate, and yes, Rooney's is the place to go if you're looking to impress someone. We don't mind paying higher prices for a good meal, with good quality ingredients, and it was clear that this restaurant had both. Granted we won't be rushing back every week, since it is on the expensive side (for the area). But for a special occasion, absolutely it's a gem and worth the money. Go, dress up, and eat well!
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009
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I've seen the King & I classified as Upscale...well, quite frankly, I don't know if those people are dining in the same restaurant. Don't get me wrong, it's nice inside, but no where near "upscale." There are a ton of tables in here and it's almost always busy. I don't think we've ever had to wait for a table though. It's definitely got a unique feel to it and I would say it fits for a few different circumstances...dates ;)...family nights...casual business meals... Definitely a casual place. I don't feel out of place in my tee-shirt here, but I also don't feel out of place if I was wearing a business casual outfit either.
The service here is quick. As I mentioned in the intro, Geoff used to take dates here because it was so quick. In, out, you're done usually in less than 30 minutes. (Geoff's note: I had a lot of bad first dates. On the off chance one does go well, there's a movie theater right around the corner!). If you're starving but want a sit down place? Here's a great place to go.
When we went just this last time, I was parched. I don't know what was up with me, but I was so thirsty it was ridiculous. Our waitress didn't let my glass go empty, I was very happy about this. She eventually left a pitcher of water on the table, I don't really blame her! The thing about the waiters & waitresses here is that English isn't their first language and I think there can be a cultural difference here because I've seen some reviews where the wait-staff is called "rude." I've never seen them rude, I don't think they're warm & fuzzy, they're just efficient. If you're looking to bond with your server...probably not going to do it here. If you want fast, efficient service, you'll find it.
Food (and drinks)
We stuck with water here. I was so parched that I thought it best not go for anything else!! They do have different juices that you won't find elsewhere as well as an assortment of wine & beer. No liquor.
Here's the menu at the King & I. Prior to meeting Geoff, I was fairly timid when it came to trying new foods, but he loved Thai food, so I gave it a try. I can't tell you what most of the things on the menu are, but it helped going with him since he could guide me through. The items on the menu aren't explained too well, so if you're unfamiliar with Thai food, I'd do a little research before hand.
We started with the Fresh Spring Rolls.
We usually get the Combination Satay, but were feeling like something different. I really like these, Geoff likes the Satay. (Satay is thin slices of meat that have been grilled, served with a peanut sauce...or at least that's what I understand them to be!) Honestly, I think it just depends on the kind of mood you're in. If you want something fresh and light, go with the spring rolls. If you're looking for something heavier, go with the satay. Perhaps the time of year matters too.
Geoff had the Chicken Phat Thai.
(Geoff's Note: I also recommend the Phat Kee Moun, another Thai staple, also known as "Drunken Noodles". They're on the spicy side, but if you can eat a hot wing, you shouldn't have a problem with it)
I decided to be bold and try something new, Shrimp Phat See Eeu.
This still remains one of our old stand-bys. We enjoy how quick we get our food (if you're looking for more of a dining experience, I'd try somewhere else.) You're not rushed, everything comes out hot & fresh, even when you make special requests. They also will do take-out, if you have a nice bottle of wine at home you want to have with it... It's a lot of food for the money, we always have a second meal out of it. And you know, if you're looking for a good first-date spot, keep this place in mind, if it's not going well, you can ditch her pretty quickly!!
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Friday, August 14, 2009
Sunday night we headed to Lindburgers, located at 2157 Penfield Rd, Penfield. It's in the Penfield Wegman's plaza. Geoff & I had heard good things about this place, so we had wanted to try it out for a while. It has an aviation theme (get it? Charles Lindbergh?? It took me awhile to figure that one out...) and a huge menu of various burgers. A casual place that's definitely family friendly. But the question is...should you bring your family here? Keep reading!
As mentioned in the intro, it's got an aviation theme. Since my brain was working a bit slow, it took me most of the meal to figure out what burgers have to do with flying (hint...they don't!) But it's where I assume Lindburgers got it's name. Cute, if you ask me. A little strange, but it's not pretentious, so okay, I'll go with it. Lindburgers is definitely a casual place. Most of the people eating there were long-time diners, loyal customers...always a good sign. While there's a Bills sign on their window, there's not a TV in the dining room or the small bar area, so don't plan on catching the game here. It could do with a face lift, it felt a little dated, but honestly...it's a burger joint. It was clean, what more can you ask for? What was interesting to me is that they have multiple locations in Florida, but only one here in Rochester. Why I found that particularly interesting is because it still had that "home town feel" to it. I mean, the guys working knew the regulars and knew what they were going to order. I dug it.
In this aspect, I felt like Lindburgers could use some help. They had 2 servers and 1 cook (from what we could tell...we had a clear view into the kitchen from where we were seated.) The poor kids serving were running around. Adding just one person would have really helped. We were offered refills on water and then had to remind our waiter. He apologized and we didn't mind because we could tell he was a little overwhelmed, but seriously...hire another guy! The restaurant wasn't packed, but it was full. Another couple tables being occupied would have really swamped these guys. They did an adequate job, but I feel like if they weren't overloaded, the service would have really been stellar...they were very friendly.
Food (and drinks)
That night neither of us were really feeling boozy, so we stuck with water. I did check out their drink menu...all for you good people! They only served beer & wine, no liquor. The beer selection seemed adequate as well as the wine. Nothing fancy, but again...it's a burger joint, what did you expect!! I don't really drink beer, I only drink stuff like Mikes, and they did not have any Malt Beverages on their list. Just a heads up for anyone like me!
For food, of course we stuck with burgers! They did have a selection of chicken sandwiches, a kids menu, salads, wraps, etc. Typical finger food. But their burger menu? Oh. My. Word... What a selection! We had to ask for more time just to review it all!! Eventually we made our selections...
Geoff got the "Far East" burger, it had Teriyaki sauce and Herb Cheese...yes, herb cheese... Quite an interesting choice to put on a burger, but he's a bit more adventurous than I am. He subbed the sweet potato fries for regular ones.
He really enjoyed the burger, herb cheese and all! We asked our waiter what the herb cheese was exactly, and it's made from a cream cheese base. While he'd order this one again, he also wants to try the Hawaiian which has Sweet & Sour and Pineapple.
I ordered something a bit more standard...I was a little overwhelmed by the choices. I went with the Bacon and Cheeseburger, with provolone. And I got bacon and cheese fries instead of regular ones...apparently I was gunning for a heart attack!!
As you can see, this was a ton of food! While a fairly normal burger, nothing too exotic, it was very tasty. Here you can order your food cooked to how you like it. Geoff & I both ordered our burgers Medium, but I think they came out more Medium Rare. Okay when you're ordering a steak (we like them Medium Rare) but when ordering a burger, they should be more cooked.
Prices here are very moderate. With the subs on the fries, it cost less than $10/plate and we didn't come close to finishing.
We'd definitely head back here. I might order my burger Medium Well (though it would pain me!) Geoff thinks that his was cooked exactly like it said on the menu, mine was red in places. So perhaps ours differed slightly. Usually when we're in the mood for a burger we head to Red Robin. I think instead I'd opt for this place. Not only is it pseudo-local, it's also just as tasty, if not better. Plus we didn't have to wait. I wouldn't hesitate to bring a family here, it's definitely family friendly. I did see that they would sub a veggie burger if asked, so it's good for vegetarians too (though I'm not sure what kind of veggie burger and if it's as good as their burgers.) A good place for a bite!
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