Wolfert’s Roost

100 Main St. Irvington, NY 10533 • (914) 231-7576WolfertsRoostIRV.com

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If I gave out knives for effort, the Roost would earn a resounding five, because I really do appreciate the inventiveness in almost every dish. I also dig the understated vibe, which feels a little reminiscent of The Cookery in neighboring Dobbs Ferry, especially with its kitchen utensil chandeliers and abysmal acoustics. But sadly Wolfert is no Cookery when it comes to culinary greatness. I’m getting ahead of myself though, so let’s go “back to the start” as Chris Martin would say.

Upon entering we came prepared, BYOBing a nice bottle of Caymus Conundrum and a French Bordeaux. What we weren’t prepared for was having to send up a flare to get our waitress’ attention. But once we caught her eye, we ordered about a third of the menu, partly out of fear that we may never see her again. Well, fortunately she returned with three very impressive starters. The best of the trio, and of the entire meal, would be the wild mushroom bruschetta. As seen on Yelp (and above), this dish deserves every last ounce of adulation. But it gets high with a little help from its friends, taleggio and the fried egg on top.

The other world-rocking small plate was the bloomin’ broccoli. I assume paying homage to the Outback Steakhouse, the battered and fried floret is not only bloomin’, it’s boomin’ with flavors both savory and sweet thanks to the brilliant accompaniments of Humboldt Fog and apricot jam. The former already being one of my favorite cheeses on Earth, perhaps I’m a little biased.

The third app was also pretty good, the spaghetti with pork ragu and piave (yet another favorite cheese), but because it was done as a torta, the pasta was a bit on the crispy side, which I like in a textural way, but don’t actually love.

Now, before I move on to the entrees, or “big bowls” as they are referred to on the menu, I want to dispel a crazy misperception you might find in other reviews, this notion of meager-sized portions. Now, I’m not exactly sure what passes for a small plate for some of these people, but I’m guessing these were the same people fighting Bloomberg to keep Super Big Gulps in the city. It’s either that or they went with the tasting menu, which are supposed to be small portions, you neanderthals!

Getting back to the Big Bowls, this is where things fell apart. The fried chicken everyone raves about is almost as puzzling as the portion size comments. We only ordered a half portion and it was easily enough for three people, granted that might’ve been due to the fact that it sucked wind. Soggy on the outside, dry on the inside and flavorless all over. If you want truly great fried chicken try ABC Kitchen in New York, Highball & Harvest in Orlando or Son of a Gun in LA. This, on the other hand, is a cock-a-doodle-don’t.

The other big bowl of blah was the Korean-ish baby back ribs. Once again a dish ruined by Sahara-like dryness, which was such a shame, because the flavors on the outside were actually pretty decent (kimchi and gouchujong). Fortunately the third bowl, the Short Rib Pho somewhat redeemed Wolfert, because thankfully it was served in a broth that kept it moist. But as good as it was, it was no consolation to the damage done.

Pressing on and trying to put the past behind us, or more accurately trying to put dessert in front of us, we went with what was essentially a chocolate chip cookie and ice cream and a caramelized banana and ice cream dessert. I don’t recall the actual names of either, but both were good, not great- which is indicative of the experience as a whole. Good, but not great.

3 teeth

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Cheddars

5221 Noggle Way Indianapolis, IN 46237 •  (317) 807-0248

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Please don’t think less of me, but not knowing what a Cheddars was, I was talked into going here by consensus of the group I was with, not that they were huge fans or anything, but they seemed optimistic upon entering, so I went with the flow.

Now, for those of you who already know what Cheddars is, I’m sure you can imagine what’s to follow. But, for those not so up on their casual dining chains, Cheddars is basically a wannabe Applebee’s. Which begs the question, who in the hell would want to be Applebee’s?

Let’s start with their “world famous” onion rings (pictured). A “must” according to our server and Yelper’s alike. Well, first, let’s back up and ask the question, does Cheddars even exist outside of the States? And secondly, the only “must” about these is that you MUST avoid them at all costs. They are terrible. No, they are worse than that. They are terrorism in onion ring form. Oily and flavorless. Like the batter is made monthly. They are easily the worst onion rings I’ve ever had, and that’s taking into account my high school cafeteria food. I can only assume people rave about them because of their impressive symmetrical stacking, which I’m guessing must be a big thing in Indiana.

Equally atrocious was the Arnold Palmer, served in a glass the size of a Super Big Gulp. It was basically tap water accented with vague hints of tea and lemon.

The other starter we shared was the spinach and cheese dip, which wasn’t exactly a total failure, meaning that I managed to swallow. Certainly nothing I would ever recommend, however.

But to be fair, because while I’m ferocious, I’m also honest, therefore I will give props where they are due- and the Buffalo chicken wrap is actually pretty good. I suggest getting extra Buffalo sauce on the side. I also suggest you still never go here, but if you are forced to, lost a bet or you’re playing truth or dare, then get the Buffalo wrap and get out.

1 tooth

Rain Forest Cafe

Disney’s Animal Kingdom • 505 N Rainforest Rd. Orlando, FL 32830 • (407) 938-9100 • disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/animal-kingdom/rainforest-cafe-animal-kingdom/
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How do you take an oversized, gluttonous, touristy restaurant and top it? Open one in Disney World! Yes, all of the diabetes inducing excess you’ve come to know and love is now available times 10 for a limited time! And by limited I mean until people have grown so morbidly obese that they wind up like the prophetic scenario at the end of the Disney movie Wall-E (#irony).

Yes, it’s almost as if they tried to make this place an actual-sized replica of the Amazon Jungle. The gift shop alone is the size of most large restaurants. The aquariums are so big you could almost take a boat out on them. And the portions? You could take a boat out on them too. Every drink is like a Super Big Gulp. And that’s without ordering a large. I can only imagine the large is when they back an oil truck full of Coke into the dining room and shove the hose down your gullet.

And the food isn’t exactly tiny either. The burgers are roughly the circumference of a salad plate and the mound of fries they come with is probably a weeks worth of fat, carbs and calories. Fortunately they also have salads, which are lighter, and are only the size of the hedge maze from The Shining.

On the plus side, it’s fun for kids. Granted the thunderstorms and screaming animals might scare them if they’re too young. On the other hand, if you’re an adult without kids and you still want to go here, I think that might actually be even scarier than the thunderstorms.

1 tooth