Our food trip to Rochester didn’t stop with food trucks, we were also looking for a nice sit down restaurant for dinner. After consulting twitter and Paul from Brick-N-Motor, Alli and I decided to try Rocco in Park Avenue. We heard they had a really good wood-fire cooked pizza and other rustic Italian treats. We luckily found parking near by and walked into the small, home-y restaurant. The chef (who was standing in the bar) asked if we had a reservation and unfortunately told us that we probably couldn’t be fit in that night. As Alli and I were walking out to the street, we heard that same chef yelling for us to come back as he just found out a couple were paying their check at the bar and we could have their seats. It was really nice of him to run after us and a great start to a great meal.
We rushed to take claim of the prime real estate at the bar and sat down right away. As we watched other diners come and go, we started to notice that several of the eaters were regulars. We looked over their cocktail menu and decided to order a peach Bellini and their Rocco Negroni (they added some soda water). After going over their pretty extensive specials list with the bartender, we decided on ordering a couple small plates to share.
- Restaurant Type: Casual, Rustic Italian
- Location: Rochester
- Cuisine: Italian
- Prices: Small Plates $8-10, Pizza $8-15, Large Plates $18-34
A runner up for our dinner was Cure, a charcuterie shop in the Public Market. We didn’t end up going there but we both wanted some cured meats, so we decided to order Rocco’s Speck Plate (gallery) that was served with a warm whipped Gorgonzola, apples and a good amount of cured ham. The ham was delicious, salty and the fat melted with each bite. We actually ended up eating the apples with the Gorgonzola by itself, they went together very nicely.
We also started our meal with an order of their charred and buttered bread with a side of house made ricotta (above). The ricotta had a really nice creamy texture with a really subtle flavor, it was almost sweet. I couldn’t get enough and we quickly ran out of the bread, so I just started to eat the ricotta on it’s own.
The next course was our wood-fire pizza, we decided to keep it simple and just order their Margherita (above) . It’s not VPN but their own take on the Neapolitan style. They don’t cut the pizza but instead give you some heavy duty scissors so you can do it yourself. I suggest waiting for a couple minutes for the pizza to cool down before trying to cut it, the pizza is served literally right out of the oven. The crust was fantastic, a really nice crispy exterior and the chewiness that we love with wood-fire pizza. The fresh mozzerella, basil and sweet sauce were just right too. The pizza itself is definitely a little bit on the smaller side and I recommend splitting the order as an appetizing instead of making it a whole meal.
We also ordered their Gnocchi (pictured top) as our final course. Again I’d recommend waiting a little bit for the plate to stop sizzling. Their gnocchi was a little different then what we’re expecting, the size and texture were completely different than any other gnocchi we’ve ever had, slightly gritty and very potato-ey. It was probably our least favorite item of the meal but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. We still ate the entire thing.
After visiting Rocco we could see why it was recommended by so many people, especially those who know about good food. I’d love to go back and try some more of the menu; after we returned from the trip we had a bunch of our chef friends here in Buffalo tell us about their favorite dishes at Rocco. If you’re going on a weekend, I’d definitely recommend making a reservation since the place is pretty small and apparently very popular.