New Restaurant - The Old Toad
We had a very fun date night planned, to eat somewhere new and then go watch Cesar Millan at Rochester's Auditorium Theater!
A couple of our dinner ideas fell though though because they were closed on Sunday, Edibles and Lento (both will be added to our Upstate Bucket List). So we decided on a local favorite we've heard good things about called The Old Toad, a British pub. Good beer and homey food sounded wonderful on a cold winter evening. We had a nice time but unfortunately it wasn't perfect.
Upon entering the pub, there was no one to greet us. Being that it was our first time there, we were unsure if we seat ourselves or wait by the door. We had to walk back to the bar area to make eye contact with a waitress who then quickly found us a seat. It was very hard for me to decide on a beer to try because the drafts were written poorly above the bar and across the room from where we were sitting. I like to try something new when I go to a beer place, so I like to look at the descriptions, ABV, where it's from, etc. The waitress offered no help and was rather pushy to get the drink orders in so I ended up with a Dogfish Chicory Stout that I knew I liked and Mike got an expensive Delirium Noel because it's fun to try beloved beers on draft.
The Old Toad has a dinner special that features a different roast every Sunday. Our waitress stated that the chef had been preparing a pork roast that we shouldn't pass up, so Mike decided to get that after debating about the Shepherd's pie. I got the Peppered Mushroom and Stilton Cheese Pie. I love mushrooms and don't get enough of them because Mike doesn't care for them as much.
Then the waitress started to confuse us by rambling that the "Chef is almost ready for you" as she quickly passed by our table. When my food came out she mumbled something else and Mike confidently got up and walked around the corner. I nibbled on my fries while I waited and wondered. He came back with a mound a food. Mike said he felt like he was at a wedding and that the server didn't seem very confident about meat carving.
My mushroom pie was wonderful with big chunks of mushrooms in a creamy, earthy gravy with a crusty puff pastry top. The side of vegies were nicely steamed so they were still colorful and crisp, but the fries were awful and I was not sure if they were done because some were cold in the center.
Mike's Pork Roast Dinner came with lots of sides. He got a little of everything and I couldn't help but try everything too. The pork was dry. The two types of potatoes were boring. There was bland mashed potatoes and unseasoned duck fat roasted potatoes that sounded good but didn't deliver. Roasted potatoes should be brown and crisp on the outside. There was really mushy stuffing and a purple cabbage mixture as well. The best part of the plate was the apple sauce that was poured over top. Mike actually wished there was more of that apple sauce.
We had some time to kill before seeing Cesar at 7pm so Mike wanted to order another beer and we also wanted to share something sweet. Now the waitress vanished. When she finally came back, Mike asked what was on cask and she said "let me get you a beer list". She brought back a list that had wonderful descriptions of everything... grrrr! Then we played the waiting game again but finally ordered Rorbhach Brown Ale on cask and a slice of Orange Mascarpone Pie. I don't like beers on cask so that was all Mike but the pie was nice. Definitely homemade and creamy. I wish the garnishes were a little fresher though, oranges were dry and the pistachios were dark which makes me think the pie was not covered in the fridge. Garnishes should be added to the pie right before service because juicy oranges and green pistachios would have made that pie a home run.
With my background in art/teaching and a love for cooking, I can't help but to be critical sometimes. I usually don't like to write this negatively and honestly we still had a lot of fun. It is a very neat place. Maybe they were having an off night or our expectations for this local favorite were too high. Nonetheless, our bellies were full of comfort food before seeing the inspiring Cesar Millan!
You just read one of Upstate Crumbs' monthly New Restaurant posts. Each month, Mike and Heather will make it a point to eat at a restaurant they have never eaten at before and post about it. Want to follow us on the local journey? Check out our Foursquare List
Heather on January 22, 2012 at 3:16pm EST
the old toad