Surely someone must have fallen off a chair laughing when Dave Bailey showed the plans for the second location of Rooster on South Grand. It's huge by that neighborhood's standards, two dining rooms and two outdoor eating areas, Whoever would think a neighborhood, even one known for its ethnic restaurants, could support a house that large? There's lots of light and wonderful paintings of the eponymous bird, and parking in the rear - does Bailey know St. Louisans or what?
Rooster began as a breakfast-lunch spot, and while this location serves dinner, much of the menu remains available throughout all the hours they're open. This review will talk about the daylight food, so to speak - although I acknowledge this time of the year, that's not quite accurate. Breakfast, brunch and lunch, in other words. Weekends may be the best because it's possible to go romping through the surprisingly interesting wine list and cocktail menu then without having serious commitments afterwards.
Sandwiches may be a little more difficult to find on the menus than one expects - they're all the way on the back, a sign of the respect given to those crepes, Rooster's original specialty, which take up the entire third page. But persistence is rewarded with choices like the BBLT, meaning a double serving of bacon along with the tomato, romaine lettuce and rooster mayo, no dangerously spicy but punched up a bit with sriracha. Lots of options for bread, a nice touch. (There's also a version of this with an egg on it in the breakfast options.)
Not quite as successful was the chicken banh mi. The chunks of marinated chicken were nice, but the vegetables didn't seem sufficiently pickled. Ingredients were piled such that it was difficult to get a bite with a good range of its components. Not a sandwich that one expects to knife-and-fork on.
The breakfast-served-all-day section commences with scrambles. They begin with a base of potatoes, seasoned and pan-fried in batches so that they're soft rather than crisp, notes of cumin and pepper waving to the diner. Then three eggs are scrambled with add-ins. We tried one with mushrooms, bacon, arugula and emmenthal cheese and it was, in a word, swell. A great combination, the leafy greens not overcooked, the mushrooms singing lead with bacon harmonizing, the whole more than the combination of the individual parts. Good stuff, and a fine lunch dish as well as for the early riser.
Perhaps the most interesting dish was the Finnish pancake. A single plate-sized pancake with a custardy batter, it was served with blackberry jam, fruit conserves being the traditional topping for these. Rooster's version of the pancake was pumped up a little with what seemed to be some nutmeg and maybe a little cardamom. A very simple-seeming dish, and certainly the sort of thing a hesitant diner, perhaps a very young one, would be quite happy with, but tasty.
Delightful and zippy service each visit. No reservations but it's so big that it's seldom a problem being seated.
3150 S. Grand
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner daily
Credit cards: Yes
Wheelchair access: Good
Non-dinner entrees: $6-$13