Friday, April 22, 2011


Photos of Rooster's Wood-Fired Kitchen, Charlotte
The source of my olfactory pleasure!
Photo courtesy of
The Food Baby bottom line:
  • Please bottle and sell the grill aromas as an aphrodisiac.
  • Excellent mains, above average desserts...but weak sides.
  • “Our medium is medium rare”
  • Congrats to Kiley and Andy!!

Last week my fabulous Mom and Dad came into Charlotte to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and to join us for Taste of the Nation! We had the best week ever, and part of that included checking out Rooster’s Wood Fired Grill in Southpark.

In addition to Mom, Dad, hubby, and me, our wonderful friends Kiley and Andy joined us. Andy lives right around the corner from Rooster’s, and he and Kiley are quite the regulars. Little did we know at dinner that Andy was less than 24 hours away from proposing to Kiley!!! Ever socially gracious, my family and I hurled relationship questions/advice at them the entire night, and Andy deftly fielded them all with a big secret up his sleeve. Congrats to a serious bestie and phenomenal couple!

Ever since dining at Noble’s before it closed, I had been dying to try Rooster’s – another Jim Noble restaurant.  The atmosphere at Rooster’s was incredibly welcoming, with an enormous open kitchen in the middle that emitted an intoxicating smoky grill smell. Screw oysters and Spanish Fly – waft that scent toward me and I’m ready to rumble.

I'm aroused
After enjoying a drink at the bar, the six of us were seated and promptly greeted by our excellent server Stacey. In what has become a habit for me lately – I ordered an assorted charcuterie and cheese plate for the table. I asked Stacey to surprise us with her selections, and she came through big-time. Highlights of our carb-contrary app course were the duck ham, spicy salami, and Humbolt Fog bleu cheese. I asked Stacey to bring me a “sexy red to douse this smorgasbord in my mouth”, and the Naughty Pine Zinfandel she brought me was spot-on.

Aged Gouda, Humboldt Fog, and Some Sexy Ass Goat Cheese

The menu is somewhat a la carte, and doesn’t provide any info about preparation. For example, the menu only says “scallops” – I had to inquire to learn they were simply grilled over pea puree. While we’re on the topic, they were simple and delicious. Four scallops cooked perfectly with just salt and pepper, and the bright green puree was yummy sweetness. (I can't believe I forgot to photograph them. I am a ridiculously bad food blogger!) I ordered gnocchi as a side, and sadly it was pretty whack. If I closed my eyes, I could have been eating (slightly rubbery) mac and cheese. I’m on a streak of bad gnocchi here in Charlotte. Where’s the pillowy goodness I crave down in my loins!? Readers, help!


The best bite I had all night was my Mom’s hangar steak. I was absolutely delighted when she ordered it medium temp, and Stacey replied, “our medium is medium-rare”. Amazeballs!!  Rooster’s, you cut to the core of me. And a perfect medium-rare it was. It was grilled in a tasty spice rub and presented in a fan of thin-sliced meaty delight.
I insist you try this.
However, the side of assorted wild mushrooms was a huge disappointment.

Are you sensing a pattern here? Rockin mains, not-so-faboosh sides.

The poor mushrooms has so much potential. Like the typical glasses-and-ponytail protagonist of teen movies, all they needed was a little dressing up to succeed. So, so bland. I didn’t even have the heart to douse them in salt and try again. However, my Mom’s asparagus side and the succotash were decent, so all is not lost.

My wine drunk ass insisted on dessert. I housed an entire piece of coconut cake solo, which was pleasingly “soak-ey” like a tres leches. I was only able to snag a bite of the cheesecake from my dad, but they seemed to love it. Success! My Soakey Cake Food Baby was second trimester with twins status. Stacey told us this was their most popular desert, and I totally get it.

From what I understand, Rooster’s is just an overall excellent place. Also, I love what Jim Noble stands for (see: King’s Kitchen). Really, my only complaints were some sub-par side dishes and that it was a tad pricey, but Kiley and Andy tell us that we need to come back and find our favorites. I may stop in before my next date night with the hubby just to get covered in the smoky grill aroma. Let’s get it on!  (Which was the first-dance song at our wedding. That is not a joke.)

- Lauren

Rooster's Wood-Fired Kitchen on Urbanspoon


  1. The mac & cheese is amazing at Roosters! Looks simple but packs an amazing amount of sophisticated cheesey flavor! Also the beets are delish. I have actually enjoyed many a veggie plate there and was not disapointed. Go back for more sides, hopefully you will enjoy them! Also- Gnocchi at Aria are quite good

  2. Maybe you just got a bad batch of mushroooms. The one time I had them they were probably my favorite thing that we ordered. I have to agree about the coconut cake....I remember it being pretty spectacular.