When Roosevelt’s opened almost two years ago, the menu was dominated by sandwiches and burgers, which seemed appropriate for a 79-tap beer hall with a dynamite patio overlooking Cherry Street. The initial menu had only four entrees.
“We have been getting such a diverse crowd and felt we needed to have a more diverse menu,” co-owner Paul Sorrentino said. “We needed a better mix of items.”
After the original sous chef, Travis Nelson, was promoted to executive chef, Roosevelt’s partners — Paul Sorrentino, Vincent Sorrentino, Bill Grant and Josh Royal — figured it was a good time to spruce up the menu.
The new menu includes eight entrees and seven sandwiches and burgers, along with appetizers, soups, salads and desserts.
“We planned to roll it out earlier, but we kept tweaking it to make sure everything was perfect,” said Vincent Sorrentino, who also acts as the day-to-day general manager. “Some of the new items include salmon pappardelle with homemade pasta, Southwest chicken salad, ahi tuna nachos and short rib sliders. Some items, like shishito peppers, are seasonal.”
The Southwest chicken salad ($10) is a big bowl filled with chicken breast, roasted jalapeno, corn, black bean relish, red onion, cilantro, grape tomatoes, cotija cheese, greens and queso poblano dressing topped with spinach tortilla chips.
The ahi tuna nachos ($15) are another flavorful newcomer, featuring small slices of lightly seared ahi tuna on wonton crisps with wasabi aioli, pineapple ponzu, goat cheese, sesame seeds and green onion.
Only one of the original entrees — fried chicken — made the cut for the new menu, and it remains Roosevelt’s most popular dish. The crunchy fried chicken dinner ($18) includes a large breast and a large thigh, served with home-style potato mash, seasonal vegetables, chili-steeped honey and fried rosemary.
We recently also had two other holdovers — the fabulous tenderloin burger ($17) and the Widow Maker sandwich ($12, available only on the lunch menu).
The burger was layered, starting with arugula and shallots on the bottom, then a beef patty, then a layer of Brie cheese topped with shaved beef tenderloin on a house-made, sesame seed brioche bun. A red wine aioli adds to the delicious, complex flavors of the burger.
The Widow Maker includes boneless fried chicken, fried rosemary, pickled shallot, black pepper mornay sauce and arugula on thick pieces of toasted brioche. It was another winning combination.
Each dish came with a choice of side. A garden salad was fresh and crisp, and a cup of tomato bisque had a somewhat coarse texture and pleasing flavor.
The taps include a few wines and ciders, in addition to the lengthy list of craft beers. The beers generally are available in 8- to 16-ounce servings and also have a 4-ounce price for those who want to order a flight of beers.
An overhead screen behind the bar shows each item, its style, alcohol by volume, glass price, flight price and the proper glassware in which to serve it. Additional wines, craft cocktails and beers in bottles and cans also are available.
Our server, Katie, was pleasant, efficient and seemed to have good knowledge of the menu.
Part of the patio is glassed in with doors that can be raised depending on the weather. All of the patio has heaters and misters.
“We’ve had a lot of different weather this spring, and we’ve been able to set up the patio for most any conditions,” Vincent Sorrentino said.
One wall on the patio has shelves of container planters with a variety of plants and herbs. It is maintained by Royal.
“Some of it is ornamental, and some of it is for the kitchen,” he said.
The ambience of the dining room is intended to roughly reflect the FDR era, with wood and metal fixtures, brick walls, colors in shades of brown, a variety of Edison lights and two belt-driven ceiling fans. A large beer can collection is displayed on a wall leading to the bathrooms, and high shelves at one end of the room are filled with books.