During a fine evening out for some trivia at ROC Brewing, Paul Vroman from Brick N Motor told me about a restaurant that was just about to open in Irondequoit he promised would be making not only high level baked goods but also serving prix fixe menu dinners to a small dining room. Atlas Eats is trying to bring back that small neighborhood store/restaurant feel and based on our experience on opening night last Friday they succeeded beautifully. The first iteration of the fixed dinner menu (rotating every two weeks) was Italian and I made a reservation for their first service.
The restaurant itself is small with a total of 14 seats and very comfortable feeling with plenty of character including simple decor along with some classic moulding around the ceiling. Nothing particularly fancy but it felt right for the style they were going for even with the white tablecloth settings. The service and the pace of the meal were very relaxed while still being prompt with refills of water and offerings of other drinks and clear explanations of each course.
We showed up a touch before dinner service began and investigated their baked good selections and since we were a bit famished we had one of their multi berry hand pies prior to our meal. The crust was tender and flaky and the fruit filling was sweet and tart and the seasonal fruit really popped.
The meal started just a touch after the scheduled 6pm time with bread service that set the tone for the meal. The offerings included both home baked baguette and 13 grain bread served with roasted garlic olive oil. Both breads were well baked but the star of the show was the 13 grain bread that was nicely dense with a touch of sourness and good roasted flavor from the oats on the outer crust. This got us ready for the first appetizer course of homemade ricotta with ciabatta crisps.
The ricotta was clean and fresh and the crisps were strongly seasoned and very crunchy. Maybe a touch thick for the application since they ended up feeling a touch stale in the center and a bit too hard on the outside, but we still enjoyed the combination of flavors when eaten with the well dressed young mustard greens a great deal. The only minor quibble other than the bread texture was the use of truffle oil but I think my fiancee is a bit sensitive to the chemically flavor that comes along with it.
Our second course was the sauteed greens and white bean puree which was simply plated and straightforward. The arugula and endive were wilted but still had plenty of texture to balance the mostly smooth bean puree. Bitterness from the greens and the smoothness of the puree meshed well and everything was seasoned well salt wise.
Cavatelli served in parmesan brodo with rendered capicola was the third course and my favorite of the evening. Inspired by the Buffalo classic Royal sub which traditionally has Italian sausage and capicola, the pasta was made with ricotta and provolone cheese and had a texture between gnocchi and regular pasta that I loved. Combined with the parmesan broth and capicola bits and oil the dish was a salty umami bomb with just a hint of spiciness and I was sad when my bowl was emptied. Loved every bite!
Cod with a mayonnaise rub was the fish course served along with roasted cherry tomatoes, onions and mushrooms that made what they called a “marinara”. The fish was flaky and very tender and the mayonnaise rub helped to achieve some very pleasant browning on both sides of the filet. The roasted marinara added some more dark flavors and acidity to round the dish out.
Our dessert was chocolate gelato that had Ghirardelli chocolate chips and roasted almonds along with wine soaked cherries, whipped cream and a pizzelle made in house. The gelato was served at proper temperature and had a medium chocolate level with plenty of texture with the crunchy chips and nuts. The cherries and sauce balanced the rich flavors with some brightness and were my favorite part of the dessert. Anise was the dominant flavor of the pizzelle and was better than most I’ve had in the past. Very fresh and crunchy and had a bunch of that waffle taste that worked well when crunched up with everything else.
This was a solid meal from start to finish and a great kickoff to what I hope becomes not only a neighborhood fixture, but also a great place for the Rochester area to celebrate a creative concept and people who really care about giving their diners an experience worth coming back for. I’m definitely looking forward to trying more of their fixed menus and the breakfast/lunch options in the future and highly recommend giving Atlas Eats a try!
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