Rooks Tavern – Sunday Brunch
Posted by cmh gourmand on February 22, 2017
Let us first set the stage for a culinary adventure you may choose to pursue. Mention Chittenden Avenue to Ohio State graduates and different memories will materialize based on what era they traveled the area: parties, PARTIES, the demarcation line between safe and very unsafe, questionable housing, etc.
The Chittenden Avenue of today is different, well mostly, I did see some nice kids roaming the street cleaning up some post Saturday trash. Anyway, I don’t often get out of the house and when I do, it is not typically during prime time which is why when I spied that Rooks Tavern has a Sunday Brunch I knew I had an opportunity to pursue. As I have mentioned too many times to count I have virtually no interest in breakfast and brunch is not much more appealing but add in some BBQ and problem solved.
My first impression had nothing to do with Rooks food, I was happy to see that parking was easy and for times when it may be more competitive, Rooks has a sign pointing guests to a nearby lot. Walking in, I liked the look of the place, took a gander at the very impressive equipment on site for the art of BBQ and sauntered up to the bar. I immediately felt at home with one of my favorite food truck friends showing up to serve me.
First as a public service I should mention while this place celebrates BBQ there is a lot in the menu that would please any palate even vegetarians and vegans. But that is not my thing (although I was a 17 meal a week vegetarian for a couple years). I had one meal on my mind before I got in my car that morning, I wanted the Texas BBQ Plate (also billed as the Austin Hangover). Diners have the option of a 1/2 pound or full pound of either pulled pork or brisket both smoked eighteen hours piled on the plate. It also comes with with potato salad, house made pickles and peasant bread. I’m a fan of Austin but I have not danced with a hangover for almost a decade but I thought I was ready for this dish.
As you can see, I opted for the brisket, they nailed it. It was perfectly tender, had fat where it needed it for flavor and was expertly dry rubbed. The potato salad was OK but it was way too fancy for my tastes, I wanted something more peasant style, like the bread: simple, starchy and filling.
For the sake of balance, I also opted to try the composed salad. The combination of ingredients change every week. The salad features a base of either pasta or grains (mine was grains) with seasonal vegetables (check out those carrots!) and a splash of smoked onion vinaigrette. I really enjoyed this salad noting a zen like sense of peace after finishing it.
A few other notes. The cocktails and local beer selections are a big upgrade from anything else you would find neat the OSU campus. The two house BBQ sauces – Texas and Carolina style are true to their origins. The guys in the kitchen are hardcore about what they do. I spoke with chef at length and he is on the right track with Rooks
Rooks is open for Sunday Brunch from 10 am to 3 pm. Feel free to go there any other times you choose and let me know what you think.