Rohst (pronounced roast) Korean – Marinade - Grill You know that a restaurant makes an impact on a diner, when you are thinking about it the next morning. First, the décor. Clean, modern but yet warm. Beautiful wood tables in a rich tone, Black and white litho prints on the wall. There is just enough glass and stainless steel to balance the warm, dark wood and supple, comfy seating. Flat screens are easy to find in the casual areas (front bar and rooftop dining) with dimmer, more intimate seating in the dining areas. I really appreciated the small spotlights over each table making a review of the extensive menu easier.
We are seated and promptly greeted by Larry Ballard, the manager, who ends up serving us tonight. After going over the Off Menu offerings tonight and highlighting some favorites, he leaves us with the menu to make our selections. Before we finish, he reappears with a complimentary serving of Cream of Mushroom soup to, as Larry says, “get our taste buds warmed up.” Creamy, light with just the right level of “richness” and offset by crunchy little onion bits, it was Ummmm good.
Appetizers pricing runs to the higher end of the range; $6 for one selection and all others priced at $9-10. Tonight, the special off menu appetizer is a shrimp roll ($11). This was a very nice start to the meal. Trying to earn a permanent place on the menu, it is crispy outside with a nice whole shrimp on the inside nestled with a hint of sweet provided by roasted corn kernels. Before it gets added to the menu, somebody has to come up with a name. Any ideas?
Next up was the Bulgogi & Noodle Salad ($13), featuring marinated rib-eye, mixed greens and sweet potato noodles. Nice flavor and fun to eat.
The entrées are priced from $13-26 and their specialty is BBQ Pork Ribs, which I do not order. My logic is that if they feature one item, it is going to be good, but that leaves the rest of the menu that may or may not be so great. So, I don’t tend to order the specialty. I opt for the Bibimbap (Hot Stone Bowl). I choose the spicy pork, but you can also get beef or chicken. It was explained as a little spicy. If spicy refers a well-seasoned meat, then it was. If it referred to a hot spice, it was not. On a scale of 1-10, it would rank a 1; if you are sensitive to spice, maybe a two. I was offered sriracha sauce, but I don’t like adding a hot sauce after it is cooked. I just don’t think it tastes the same when it is not cooked with the other ingredients. The meat has been marinated in a sweet sauce, which when placed on the grill will get a caramel crunch in some places and still be tender and moist. The marinade gives the meat wonderful flavor. This dish, that combines marinated beef with sautéed mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions place on top of jasmine rice, is all placed in a VERY hot bowl. You hear the sizzle of the meat touching the edges and the rice almost frying in the heat of bowl.
I asked about dessert before we ordered our meal. Let’s face it, you don’t want to eat too much if you know that there is something good that you might miss at the end of the meal. The waiter went through the list: Red Velvet Cake, Cheese Cake (plain or with blueberries), Chocolate Mouse Cake and something new. So new that it does not have a name yet, so the Manager just calls it Nut Cups. It is a tiny little cup made of filo dough with a sweet nut filling topped with whipped cream. Garnished with strawberries and Maraschino cherries on top resting on a plate drizzled with chocolate and tangerine sauce. This was a nice end to our meal.
The Rohst website describes the food as an array of Korean-infused American dishes. My experience confirms the food may be Korean inspired but the recipe is tuned to satisfy the American palate perfectly. Larry asked if we had any ideas on naming the Shrimp Roll appetizer and the dessert cups. After coming up with a couple of truly awful ideas, Terry latched on the idea of a word play on the name. What about Rohsted Crispy Shrimp Roll and Rohsted Nut Cup? Okay, you gotta start somewhere. If you think you can do better(which I am sure you can), head out to Rohst and give them a try yourself. And tell Larry that Top This Place sent you!