Pat found this joint tucked into a strip mall in Greenwood. In addition to fried chicken and chicken parts it also sells fish. Fried fish; all of their food is fried.
I should have had the chicken.
I love chicken livers. I order them when I find them. They offer them in 3 sizes. One half pound, a full pound and a pound and a half. I opted for a full pound for $6.59. To be blunt they did a lousy job with them. I ate them, cuz they’re livers. To me even bad livers should be eaten. In the first place they didn’t pay close enough attention to the breading of the little things. Some of the breading fell off exposing the flesh to the heat of the fryer. That is bad form. It burns the flesh. The second thing they did wrong was leave them in the oil too long. Chicken livers should have a crisp exterior yet still be moist on the inside. Like a good home fry.
I doubt if I will be back. Just because it is so far from me. If I am in the area I would be happy to try their chicken. Or maybe the fish and shrimp. Just not the livers.
Pat suggested this place because he and Fran ate breakfast there on Saturday and he was quite impressed with his omelet. The menu is comprised of typical tavern fare with daily specials thrown in to liven things up. It is a large joint with a huge bar. It is definitely built for crowds and the employees are super friendly. As soon as we set down our bar tender introduced herself. She also introduced us to the other server and the owner. Very friendly people. As we were talking to the owner I asked her about their fried chicken liver appetizer. I love chicken livers but I recently learned there is an IQF product that some joints use. I am not ready for those. She assured me that they were indeed done in-house. So as I was scanning the menu for something to add with them the owner told me she had put an order of livers for me. How nice.
They were delicious. Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside with a nice seasoned breading. A great snack later on with a bit of Dijon mustard.
Pat’s special came with a side salad. I was pleased to learn that with a sandwich you get a choice of several side options and salad was one. Without a upcharge
I really had no idea what I wanted to eat. I decided on a blackened chicken sandwich. The chicken is grilled or breaded. They blacken it by adding a Cajun seasoning to it and grilling it. Not traditional but it can be tasty if done well;and this was done well.
It was a huge single lobe breast that was probably 8 ounces. It had a nice spicy exterior and a moist interior. Something I like to have with a chicken breast yet seldom get in most preparations. I was only able to eat half of it.
Also this joint is noted for the beer specials. Wednesday was $1 Coors bottles. I am not a huge fan of the Silver Bullet but it was really cold and only a buck, and it hit the spot. Both the Bullet and baked spaghetti special happen only on Wednesday. The special was $6.95. My chicken sandwich was $7.25, and happens everyday.
I want to thank both Liz, our server and Jerry, Robby’s owner for their graciousness. They both made our day.
Like any good fella with OCD I try to be thorough. In addition to trying to understand the science and mechanics of cooking I have been fascinated by the history of food, particularly sauces.
Over the weekend I engaged in a conversation with a blogging buddy about Sauce Bolognese. She commented that the only must haves are chicken livers and cream. My contention was that pancetta and dairy were the only essentials. So. That tete’ de tete’ got me to thinking. Maybe I was wrong. Most of my info was from long ago readings and conversations I had with older cooks. I went back through my older books ( the ones I have still ) and the notebooks I could find and the inter net. What I determined was there is a whole bunch of disparate recipes for this one classic sauce from Northern Italy.
First thing I must say is Italy is just like most nations. Authentic cooking is not a recipe card you find from Betty Crocker. It covers a big area with different climates and different resources.
Back on topic. As far as I can tell the first written recipe of this sauce was by Pellegino Artusi in a book he authored in 1891. Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Living Well. Sometime in the 1980’s the Italian Academy of Cuisine translated and published a copy in the US. That is how I discovered it. I had a copy, but lost it. Amazon has it for $35. My copy cost maybe 8 bucks. I think he just called for minced beef and pork and a sofrito. The sofrito is a mixture of fine diced onion, celery and carrot. Culinary folks would call it a mirepoix. I have made this sauce a bunch of times. For personal use and for dinner service at various joints. For the most part my take on this comes from contemporary cookbooks and anecdote. Meaning I have talked with a bunch of cooking folks, both pro and amateur. This weekend I did peruse the ether world and determined that there is a bunch of different ways to build this dish.
So to the “bottom” line. Northern Italy is about beef and pig and dairy. So dairy should be a component to Bolognese. Some say cream, some say whole milk. Pancetta is almost a must, in my opinion. Beef and veal is considered appropriate, but also ground pork. The important thing is the cutting of the stuff. The pancetta should be 1/4 diced, the other meat should be minced as well as the veggies. The whole idea is to meld all the ingredients into a seamless taste. The fat used varies from olive oil to butter to lard. The pancetta should be crisp as should be the sofrito. After the minced meat is added a good beef stock as well as a good wine should be added and reduced a bit at a time. This sauce ain’t no 30 minute meal. The tomato is a secondary yet essential ingredient. The amount is small compared to some Italian recipes. You can use canned paste or peel and seed and reduce your own. As for the dairy that is added at the end. As for seasoning nutmeg is almost obligatory anything else is up to you. When it comes to the liver that is really an enrichment component. Liver is a rich addition to any sauce. The use is similar to the use of anchovy. In either event the livers should be cooked independent of the sauce. For what it is worth. I don’t always use chicken livers, but when I do I poach them in the same stock or wine I am using. Then either pulverize them in a processor or, if you want to be rustic use a mortar and pestle with a bit of poaching liquid and coarse salt.
Well I think I have abused this moment. You can find different recipes everywhere on the inter net. So go for it.
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.
If you are an aficionado of neighborhood bars, you should definitely put this on your list.Pat and I have stopped in there a few times for beers but this is the first time we ate. We always enjoyed ourselves. Nice place,friendly crowd. Especially as it gets closer to race time. After all the 500 Track is just up the street. However their beer selection is limited to draft Silver Bullet and domestic bottles. But the prices are right.
They serve breakfast all day and that is a plus. The lunch/dinner menu is pretty typical bar although they do have a few atypical items. For example they offer both home-made chili and beef stew year round. They also have fried chicken livers. I love chicken livers but I’m not supposed to eat them. You know fat, cholesterol and all that stuff. So I tried their signature Spanish Burger. That is an 8 ounce patty of seasoned beef and onion that is baked, meatloaf style. It is then placed on a toasted bun and smothered with their Spanish Sauce. Which is a tomato based sauce with green pepper and redolent with cayenne pepper. The burger itself was pretty good. Nicely made and nicely textured. It was difficult to taste the seasoning of the meat due to the spiciness of the sauce. If you like a high level of heat then you will probably like this. Personally my taste buds have gotten pretty Gringo-fied;since my return to Indiana. Also I think it could use some different types of chile pepper in addition to cayenne. All in all it was a pretty good sandwich for 6 bucks. That’s with choice of fries or a bag of chips.
Pat ordered a grilled tenderloin. Like a lot of joints they beat out their own with a mallet. He found it to be tender and tasty. Like a lot of tenderloin in a lot of places. He did particularly enjoy the made in-house made cole slaw. It had no onion. Patrick’s kryptonite. It too was $6,with choice.