• 0

I love the name. I love the space.

And, I wanted to love the new restaurant that inhabits a building whose only success was that of Munroe’s many years ago. In fact, I was so enthused by the name and the approach that I blogged about if before Roast started, well , roasting.

Now, let’s backtrack a bit, shall we?

The great Jacques Pepin has always said that the sign of a great chef is “how he or she prepares a roast chicken”. When I have staged (pronounced staje, which means a chef try out or learning period), roasting a chicken was a must! And we are talking here a butter herb infused, moist bird, with an almost undeniable pan jus.

Let’s fast forward. Roast has been open a little over two months now. Typically, the first month we chalk up a new restaurant’s performance, and its predicatable inconsistencies in flavor and seasoning and service, to its infancy/developmental stage.

However, we have now had three other visits from our team of reviewers, all food editors and chefs.

Honestly, I really-really want to like Roast, and they do have dishes that deserve praise, but, I feel burned by theconsistently bad service. Everything from auctioning off food at each table (including the manager, who seems to maintain a scowl on her face rather than a welcoming gesture) to a carefree, haphazzard way of preparing and delivering cuisine makes this eatery an easily avoidable enterprise. There is even a scattered, tall waiter running profusely and consistently around the restaurant, with seemingly no goal in mind.

Dishes that deserve praise:

 Pork Osso Bucco is a spot on dish with French lentils perfectly executed and the pork fork tender with a glazed shine of flavor. Another slam-dunk are the truffle fries. Clearly, they are the perfect hit that are not overbearing with earthiness but enough parmesan to know you are being so bad … but oh so good.

 Pulled Pork Sandwich is a real good one, but the house made chips, not so much.

 Coconut Parfait is a memorable dessert and a creative twist fromthe basic slice of key lime.

 The artisan cheese plate filled us with enjoyment and made for an elevated end to dinner.

 Chairman’s Reserve 16 ounce Bone-in Rib Eye at $29.00 is a nice choice and was served at the requested medium rare.

 Roasted Scallops with House-cured Crispy Slab Bacon and Bordeaux Reduction is a clear winner!

Of course, no praiseworthy dishes are going to be helped when one has to get up and ask for the order to be taken after 15 minutes….. and, having to ask for Specials, as well.

A suggestion: with a name like Roast…perhaps the oval servings of mashed potatoes should be replaced by roasted potatoes…?

One more thing restaurant-colleagues, don’t call people ‘guys”, as in “Guys, do you want dessert? “

Thus, Roast is too much across the board. Why do they need Ahi tuna when they are supposed to be roasting? Staff training is as important as the meal on the plate and, after 2 months in, there has been enough time to know who gets which dish and that women aren’t guys……….

Here’s hoping that Roast gets it together before it becomes toast!

Culinary Director

As the Culinary Director for ABC 7, I whip up cooking segments on ABC 7 News at Noon, along with recipes, cooking tips, reviews and great food finds on MySuncoast Dining at