Rook 719 Virginia Avenue
Today was a day of serendipity. I went to the Fountain Square area to visit a new brewery that had just opened a few days ago. However I failed in my due diligence and neglected to notice their hours. They are closed on Mondays. Fortunately they are right next door to Rook. That is a joint that I have been quite ambivalent to visit. It has been listed as a Urbanspoon hot spot for quite a while. Hot as in the top 10 of joints people talk about. However the public hasn’t shown much love in their reviews. But in fairness it seems as if the majority of the bad reviews came in their first days and the more positive ones are slower to develop.
The Rook is basically a sandwich shop. The hook; if you will is Bahn Mi style sandwiches. Vietnamese type fillings in a French Indo Chinese bread. Since their opening they have added dumplings and steamed buns on the dinner service; but their main bag is sandwiches.
The place is long and narrow,like a hall way. As far as decor goes it is austere industrial chic. A look that it seems every one is striving for.
That’s right the last picture is a replica of a telephone pole that appears to have fallen through the roof. Get it? Rook. Telephone pole. Bird’s nests. Raven etc. It may sound corny but the real visual is rather cool.
You order at a counter and the young lady brings your food when ready. Before I go any farther I wish to compliment the order taker/ server. She was extremely knowledgeable of the product and was not timid to offer which was her favorite dumpling when I asked her. So on her referral I ordered Mushroom dumplings.
They were very tasty. A nice blend of earthy mushrooms and sweet soy with the slightly chewy dough. I would like another order with some crunchy cracklings on the side and a shot of the ever available Sirachi hot sauce.
For my sandwich I knew before I walked in what I was going to get. The one with the chicken liver terrine. The Rook.
This is a large 9 inch sandwich with a very soft and well made bread. I neglected to ask the source of the bread but in all likely hood it’s Amelia’s; since they are right down the street. The Rook is a combination of their house made terrine and a pork roll of their design and Smoking Goose manufacture. Of course with some wonderful pickled veggies.
The terrine is a blend of pork shoulder and chicken liver cooked and then pressed with enough natural gelatin and fat to hold it together. Think of it as a coarse liverwurst. This is layered with their version of Vietnamese sausage or pork roll and pickled radish, carrot and jalapeno and of course fresh cilantro and mayo.
I really enjoyed this sandwich. The pate was tasty with that earthy quality that only liver can give. It could have easily over powered the meal but it didn’t. It was almost a tease. On the tip of your tongue you tasted the possibilities. Then it proceeded to the middle and you saw more possibilities and before it hit the end the veggies and the pork roll took over. To me the pork roll was the weak link. I tried a taste, by itself and it was adequate. A space filler. A spear carrier for the opera. But in all fairness I should try some all by itself. After all the folks that put together the terrine recipe also created the pork roll.
So if you want a lunch that is out of the ordinary then I suggest The Rook. It is a cozy place with uncommon sandwiches and nice people.