It seems we are starting a tradition with some of our friends to meet on Memorial Day weekend. And it’s a good one. This year we headed to Rochester for dinner al fresco at Chapman House. We don’t venture to Rochester too often because it is rather far from our house, but with the Hello Kitty food truck in town not too far away, it worked out well.
Though I had heard some mixed things about Chapman House, I wanted to sit outside and try it because it looked so nice.
The setting is nice, almost perfect. Even sitting in the front by the street, it felt peaceful and secluded on the perfect late May day with clouds and sun and a light breeze. The interior of the restaurant is equally as beautiful and would make a great setting for dinner.
Being Memorial Day weekend, I thought it might be rather quiet with everyone up north, but that was not the case. By the end of the evening the restaurant was packed.
The food is the real star at Chapman House. Though some may deem the portions a little small, they were just right for me, particularly when paired with a salad or appetizer. Everything we ate was delicious.
From the confit chicken wings cooked in duck fat to the bosc pear salad to the perfect crispy and piping hot French fries, the food was particularly good. The beets in the baby beet salad were a bit al dente for my taste, but it was still a beautiful, balanced dish.
The entrees of the ribeye steak and the lamb shoulder were great, as was the crispy skin red snapper, though the skin wasn’t quite as crispy as advertised. Even the sides, glazed baby carrots with pistachios and maybe the best potato gratin ever, were excellent, cravable even.
I’m nitpicking on anything that may be wrong on the food. It was the service that was an issue so glaring it made me vow never to go back. This may sound harsh, but our food came out so slowly, we were there a whopping three hours without ever seeing a dessert menu. We requested the bill multiple times, including from the manager who appeared about fifteen minutes later with dessert menus instead of the bill.
The food at Chapman House is excellent. It is fresh, flavorful, mostly locally sourced, beautifully presented, and incredibly tasty. I want to want to go back there, but unless they solve the issue of the never ending dinner, I won’t. And that’s a shame.