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New in Rochester

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Abby B Apr 27, 2008 02:23 PM

New in Rochester this spring:

Chester's
New in the Galleria Mall downtown. Trendy decor, pretty good food, and a fun atmosphere make it a good choice for a night out or a happy hour drink near work. I had a grouper fillet that was terriffic - very good quailty fish and cooked just right. Both friends I went with had pasta dishes, both quite good. Overall, I'd say the food was good for the price and the town, but not particularly inspired. I wouldn't go out of my way to dine there if it were located in a big city, but overall a good place for a decent meal in a setting worth putting on some lipstick for. Also, they have brunch. I haven't tried it yet, but this combined with the fact that Daube's now has brunch (see below) fills a hole in the weekends of we who love to brunch.

300 First
This is a re-do of Broadstreet. The decor is trendy and the use of space much more effecient than the staid old Broadstreeet. The food presentation is less pretentious, which is a nice improvement. The menu was sort if "TGI-Friday's pretends to be Sontes," but it works, at least, there are plenty of crowd pleasers and no one is going to be unhappy with their options. Their beef sounds seriously nasty so I steered clear. It's described on the menu as "naturally raised, corn fed for more than 300 days" which is an oxymoron. Why would I go out of my way to order beef that has been confined on a feed lot for almost an entire year? With most finer restaurants moving toward sourcing local, grass-finished beef (some of the best I've ever had comes from less than 20 miles from here) why advertize that their cows stood in their own diarrhea being pumped full of antibiotics for more than twice as long as the average big agribusiness steer? Yuck. So I had the grouper, which was a bit overdone and the fillet could be of better quality, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was served in a very nice buerre blanc with capers and not in one of the cloyingly sweet cornstrach thickened sauces favored by the old Broadstreet. They seemed to really shine with the salads - the Amish blue cheese side salad was terriffic, and the best dish ordered at my table was my friend's Asian chopped rare tuna salad - that's what I'm having next time. The chocolate bread pudding dessert was wonderful and fully worth going back for. Overall - a decent place to go for a pretty good meal. Not nearly as good as Sontes, which sources excellent quality products and has an inspired chef. You just can't make as good a meal with the poor quality building blocks 300 First starts with, but they do a pretty good job for the price in a fun setting. Just don't order the beef.

Daubes now has brunch!
Daube's, already a great place to enjoy coffee, pastry, and the New York Times on a weekend morning now has full plated brunch on weekends. The corned beef hash is seriously the best I've had. Hand pulled chunks of good quality corned beef fried with lyonnaise potatoes, perfectly flipped over easy eggs on top. A perfect brunch dish with Cynthia Daube's characteristic attention to detail. Even the humble granola with fruit and yogurt is terriffic. Mrs. Daube makes her own granola for the bakery, using only the best ingredients. Brunch at Daube's is like having a lazy morning at your own mother's house, if only your mother was an amazing Alsatian chef and you were left at liberty to puruse the paper while your tuck your way through an excellent breakfast and hot mugs of coffee.

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  1. coney with everything RE: Abby B Apr 28, 2008 06:01 AM

    Hi, Abby--just an FYI: there is a Rochester, Michigan too. You might want to specify state in your topic title.

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      Abby B RE: Abby B Apr 28, 2008 09:00 PM

      Oh - and there's a good sushi joint now in town.

      Sushi Itto is new in Rochester (MN that is). I've been twice in the couple of weeks it's been open and have pretty much rave reviews. The sushi is very good - not as good as a really fabulous place in, say, San Francisco, but quite good by big-city-in-the-flyover-zone standards. That is, on par with Fugiya in Minneapolis. It's right downtown on Broadway, with cozy, comfortable atmosphere. They're still working out a few kinks in the service - the place is way too small to seat parties until all members have arrived, and the wait staff is still working out what is on the menu and how to deliver said items expediently to the same table that ordered them, but that will come. In addition to the sushi, the standard things you expect a decent sushi restaurant to have are done very, very well. The seaweed salad and miso soup are out of the park hits. The sushi is the proper temperature, and the fish sea-watery fresh. Prices are pretty reasonable for such good quality ingredients, and the atmosphere is perfect for a fun night out with friends. Two thumbs up.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Abby B
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        joshi RE: Abby B Apr 29, 2008 01:00 PM

        I tried Sushi Itto last week. I had the oyakodon (the menu spells it "Hoyakodon" for some reason), which traditionally is made of chicken pieces and whisked egg simmered in dashi with some scallions and a little bit of leafy greens, served over white rice. (The name comes from chicken and egg ["oya" means "parent" in Japanese, "ko" means "child"] - chicken and egg, parent and child; "don" is short for "donburi," which means "bowl" - a bowl of rice.)

        They breaded and deep fried the chicken pieces before simmering, which is not how the dish is traditionally prepared. However, it was flavorful and the presentation was nice. I enjoyed it. My dining companions had shrimp tempura and a Philadelphia roll (sushi roll with smoked salmon and cream cheese). They both said they enjoyed their meals, and both were prepared and plated attractively.

        I was not inspired to try their sushi at all. I am unfortunately quite inflexible about how sushi ought to be prepared (and I am mostly "meh" about fusion cuisine in general). Anyway, nearly all of the specialty rolls had mayo or cream cheese as an ingredient, and for me, those are a total turn off in sushi. (And chipotle sauce in sushi? No thank you.) They did have some of the traditional stuff (tekka maki, kappa maki, etc), but I didn't try it - wasn't hungry after the oyakodon.

        I had read the Post Bulletin "preview" of the place, and it mentioned a specialty "Anesthesia roll." I was dying of curiosity over that one - would it make your mouth numb? Would you fall asleep after eating it? But alas, it was not on the printed menu, and I didn't ask the waiter about it.

        It was very crowded when we left (~12:30, weekday lunch hour), so I am hopeful that the restaurant is off to a good start. I would love to see more ethnic restaurants get established in the downtown area.

        1. re: joshi
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          Ummm RE: joshi Apr 29, 2008 08:51 PM

          glad to hear the good reviews! i want to try it. i have never heard of cream cheese or mayo in sushi either... but i'm willing to try. good thing the fish was fresh! was a bit worried that...

          joshi - what is that "Anesthesia roll'? i haven't read about that on PB...

          1. re: Ummm
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            joshi RE: Ummm Apr 30, 2008 09:31 AM

            The article I read was from the March 24 PB (Business section, A7). I still have it in my office, let's dig it up...

            "To further localize the Rochester eatery, he [Alex Schwartzmann, owner] added specialty rolls to the menu with names like Hockey Roll, Broadway Roll and an Anesthesia Roll."

            That's all it says about the specific roll. Like I said, I didn't see it on the menu when I was there - maybe it sounded too creepy and they pulled it? Dunno.

            1. re: joshi
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              Ummm RE: joshi Apr 30, 2008 05:59 PM

              thanks for digging it up... i only read PB online (the free section anyway) :)

              maybe i have to ask about it when i'm there :)

          2. re: joshi
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            Abby B RE: joshi May 1, 2008 12:01 PM

            I sampled a couple of the specialty rolls when friends ordered them. I'm with you, though, I don't care for mango, cream cheese, or chipotle in my sushi. Their straightforward traditional items were quite good though, and my friends who like the fusion stuff were as pleased with their orders as I was with my tuna roll, octopus sushi, etc.

            Oh, and I didn't see the anesthesia roll, but the owner's wife is an anesthesia resident - perhaps the item was named for her and her hungry colleagues who have turned out in droves to support the restaurant.

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          Ummm RE: Abby B Jun 23, 2008 05:28 PM

          went to a few new places to me:

          Mexican - El Gallo Taqueria by hy vee barlow
          i like their home made soft taco shells. i had their chorizo tacos, they were tasty but just a bit too salty for me. the lady at the cashier was helpful and nice. we like trying all the different sauces/salsa.

          Prescotts - pricey (in Rochester standard i guess... just over $100 for 2 of us without drinks - 1 appetizer, 2 entrees and 2 desserts. but the portions were big - we were so full afterward!). I LOVE their home made bread tho - particularly the slight sweet home ('harvest?') and my husband like the sun dried tomato one. i had the duck legs (or was it breast?) and it was pretty good - for the side i had the garlic rice and i really like that. my husband had the pork chop and he likes it. oh i also had the tomato basil soup and i enjoyed that. husband had the apple (or was it some berries?) salad and he liked that too. for desserts i had the cream burlee which was good, and husband had the baked alaska dessert which looked really impressive and tasted good too. so quite a satisfying meal for us. would prob go back to get more of their bread! (they sell the bread at their restaurant and rochester produce and somewhere else i forgot... not all breads are available at the other places though).

          also went to sushi itto. my husband is not a big sushi fan, so he had the beef and rice. it tasted good, but at $15 it was quite expansive (and not that big of a bowl... and didn't come with anything). i had the 8 pieces of sushi combo - took an hour to get but the waitress said the kitchen was slow that night. they were okay, nothing really special. also ordered one of the specialty rolls (forgot which one now... but it had NO raw fish so husband can try). i like the deep fried shredded carrots on the outside (they have a special japanese term for it but i don't remember). i like this roll.. it was cut into 10 pieces, but each piece was kinda small (the diameter was not that big...). if i go back again, i'll probably try more of the specialty rolls, and not order the traditional sushi. also had 2 desserts - tempura (fried) ice cream (we had red bean... wanted to have green tea but they were out) with caramel sauce. quite tasty. the other one was coffee jello with irish cream (non alcoholic) and icecream - usually comes with vanilla ice cream but i wanted to try their ginger ice cream and it went surprisingly well with the coffee and irish cream.

          huhot mongolian grill - it was a fun experience, i like their yellow curry and peanut sauce. one of us was allergic to shrimps, so she told the chef that when they cooked it at the big stove thing, and they really cleaned it up before cooking her order. we were so full we didn't have room for desserts (we did order the platter appetizers which were fine... not outstanding but just what you'd expect).

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