Small but mighty | Restaurant Reviews

ITHACA, NY — Do you like fried chicken? How about BBQ pork ribs? Effectively then, if you have not discovered The Rook, situated around the West Close of downtown Ithaca on Point out Avenue, you’re in for a handle.  With their constrained menu, these two entrées constitute 50% of their complete primary course offerings — and both of those are definitely fantastic.

First, their most well-known entrée, fried chicken. Immediately after it is sent to the restaurant, the cooks dress it with herbs and spices and then vacuum bundle it. When a customer orders fried rooster, a light breading is applied and it is briefly deep fried in duck fat for a rich, crispy, sturdy texture and flavor.  It is cooked to the place of being juicy without having getting fatty and provided in four-piece ($11) and eight-piece ($19) servings. It will come with a dipping sauce which is way also scorching for me, having said that the hen is juicy adequate that I don’t truly feel the will need for a sauce.

The hen isn’t accompanied by a facet dish so I typically get collard greens ($7) which I genuinely get pleasure from.  Collard greens want a bit of cooking to soften and these are cooked just ample to be the proper texture without having becoming mushy. They’re cooked in some of the handmade broth gleaned from cooking the chicken. Throughout the cooking method some ham hocks (an genuine southern touch) and a little bit of vinegar are included. Yet another side I have experimented with is their home made coleslaw ($7) and I desire their vinaigrette foundation to the gloppy mayonnaise served in quite a few establishments. The addition of some flavorful seasonings, like poppy seeds, adds a welcome accent.

The BBQ pork ribs ($13 for a 50 % rack – $23 for a complete rack), are “meaty” without remaining fatty and are seasoned with just a little bit of spices with no getting overpowering. I was satisfied to uncover that it is straightforward to slice the meat off the bones with the plastic knife that is provided.

I do not commonly purchase a dessert with meal but at The Rook I alternate in between the only two on give. They make their have doughnuts and they are scrumptious. For deficiency of a better term, I think of them as “cakey” and moist. Most just lately I ordered the blueberry glaze, crumble doughnuts. Of course, which is plural. You will have to commit to a few doughnuts ($7) and all a few are the exact same wide variety which is changed regularly.

The other dessert is a pudding, served in a compact parfait dish.  A short while ago it was banana foster vanilla pudding which I requested and savored. Bananas were being sliced and layered with the pudding and topped with whipped cream and crumbled corn flakes. It experienced a slight flavor of rum and was a terrific ending to an superb meal.

This type of cuisine is not significantly conducive to great wine accompaniments, which is ideal as only a complete of four wines are on present, all for $7/glass: a purple, a white, a rose and a glowing. Names of country of origin, wineries, and vintages are not supplied. In addition, there’s a constrained selection of esoteric beers on tap, in cans and in bottles.

You might have figured, by the style of foodstuff on offer you, that The Rook is not a put to go for fine dining. Fairly, it is far more like heading to an indoor picnic — dishes are all paper, cutlery is totally plastic, drinks, together with draft beer, wine by the glass, and h2o arrive in plastic cups, and there are no table coverings. The main courses and sides are introduced to the desk in cardboard dishes.  

The cafe is smaller — prolonged and slender — on the other hand there is home outside for people who take pleasure in al fresco dining. And each time I have been there I have seen a continual stream of evident regulars who pick up dinners they’ve requested in advance.

If a cafe only presents a little selection, e.g., the 4 entrées at The Rook, I believe we have a appropriate to be expecting seriously high-quality quality mainly because the cooks can focus on the acquiring, seasonings, preparation, and cooking time and method of their constrained choices.  If you don’t thoughts the considerable use of paper, cardboard, and plastic, I think you’ll be really happy with the generous parts, helpful, attentive company, and the fantastic excellent of the food at The Rook.  


-A 15% gratuity is added to each bill.

-The Rook is closed Sunday and Monday and not open for lunch.


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