DECEMBER PICK OF THE MONTH
Can you believe it's December already? Thanksgiving just flew by and Christmas is right around the corner. Which means it is time to string up the lights, put up the tree, start that holiday shopping, find discrete places for Elf on the Shelf, and most importantly time for Sir Rocha Says to choose the pick of the month! If you are new to my blog, welcome! Each month I will be featuring a new experience that I enjoyed so much, that I felt it was my Rochesterian duty to share with all of you.
This month I am thrilled to announce that my December pick of the month without a doubt goes to ORBS RESTAURANT.
Orbs recently opened this past summer in one of the up and coming neighborhoods in Rochester, the South Wedge.
I had the privilege of sitting down and chatting with both the Owner Bob Caranddo and Executive Chef Steven Lara about the Orbs' philosophy and their own personal journeys.
Orbs is founded on the premise that food is meant to be shared over storytelling, laughter, and enjoyed with your friends and family.
Orbs' cares about each other, they care about their patrons, and they care about giving back to the local community. I have to say they made me feel very welcome, just like family and it was my first time there! I think that says a lot about what they stand for and the kind of people they are.
Many people who have heard of Orbs think of it as the 'Meatball' place or the place where everything is in the shape of balls, hence the name Orbs. Get it? And yes they do have some of the best balls in town. Falafel Balls, Buffalo Chicken Balls, Tofu Balls, Spicy Pork Balls, Angus Beef Balls....you name it, they likely have it.
You'll also notice on their t-shirts their tagline, 'Let's have a ball!' Which speaks to their meatball-inspired menu and their playful and fun approach to food. However, I think it's also important to inform that while you definitely should try the meatballs, they go BEYOND just the balls friends!
Chef Steven Lara is a masterful artist in the kitchen. He has an innovative and approachable style to his food. The ingredients at Orbs are of the utmost quality and they believe in sourcing local, sustainable, and seasonal products.
Everyday Chef Steven creates a rotating features menu that has new and exciting specials that range from crostinis of the day, to appetizers, skillets, new entree specials, and desserts. If you're like me and like to try something different every time, then this is your dream come true.
As always to keep you well-informed, here's the 411 on Orbs:
- WEBSITE: http://www.orbsrestaurant.com/
- LOCATION: 758 South Avenue, past Highland Hospital and before Gregory St.
- PRICES: Appetizers range from $5-$10 and Entree's typically fall below $15. What a steal!
- AMBIANCE: Vibrant. Colorful. Effortless. Rustic yet modern decor with the Orbs Chandelier made out of wine barrel rings, traditional meat grinders on the wall, and a nice open bar area with hip lighting.
- SERVICE: Friendly atmosphere and staff. Lunch and Dinner served daily, except Sundays. Sundays they do brunch baby!
Alright, so you've sat down, you've admired the decor, Bob has welcomed you into the restaurant and now you're ready to order. So what shall we order?
Drink of Choice: The Wedge Collins
First off, how appropriate is the name? Love the shout out to the South Wedge!
Here we have a delicious cocktail made of Finlandian Grapefruit Vodka, mixed with lime juice, lemon juice, honey syrup, grapefruit juice, and topped with Pellegrino. It's light and refreshing!
Not feeling the grapefruit? Another drink I would suggest is the Indian Summer, even when it's not summer. It has Cranberry Vodka, Ginger Liquer, Campari, Fresh OJ, and Draft Cider. Mmmmmm!
Appetizers of Choice: Bits and Pieces & The Crostini of the Day
Bits and Pieces is your sample platter of balls! You have to try one of their staple dishes and this gives you the best of everything. You get 9 balls which are comprised of: 3 Veg Balls which are Falafel balls filled with Kale and Chimichurri drizzled with Tahini sauce, 3 Buffalo Chicken Balls served with blue cheese (Warning: These tasty devils have a kick if you like spice!), and 3 Asian Balls (My personal favorite out of the 3) which are Angus beef balls made in their house BBQ sauce. Oh by the way, all meat is ground fresh in-house on a daily basis. Winning!
Crostini (Daily Preparation) - The crostinis are baked fresh and I can't imagine a better way to start off your meal then by dipping warm, toasty crostinis into a delicious ricotta with olive oil and black sea salt, or a just made batch of authentic bruschetta. These are just a few of the crostini specials Chef Steven has prepared and I am already in anticipation of what tomorrow will bring!
Entrees of Choice: Entree Specials or the Orbs Bowl
Orbs BLT with Yucca Chips (Feature of the Day): If you were curious or perhaps salivating over my first picture shown in this posting, then I need to fill you in. This is not on the fixed menu, but I'm willing to bet if enough of you ask for this dish it may become a staple. First off, all the bread they use is made from scratch by a baker within the restaurant. The Focaccia bread is to die for. I could prob eat the bread alone, but then you would miss out on all the other goodness. Sandwiched between the focaccia bread is beef tenderloin cooked to perfection, berkshire bacon because you can't have a BLT without that bacon, fresh arugula and tomato, and a baconnaise brushed on top. Let me advise this is not your average BLT, it will blow your mind!
I can't forget to mention the Yucca Chips made from Yucca Root, a vegetable they found right here in the Fingerlakes. It tastes like a potato chip, but it's actually naturally gluten free and a healthier version! For all my Gluten Free friends, these chips should be on your radar!
Cioppino (Feature of the Day): This was a featured special the day that I ventured in, yet I wouldn't be surprised if it emerged, again given how wonderful it was. A cioppino could be best described as a 'fisherman's stew'. Chef Steven has put his own twist on this stew with a red wine based tomato broth that is flavorful, spicy, and has a lot of depth to it. Seared Boston Cod (So tender and flaky) is served with shrimp, mussels, with pea tendrils on top with focaccia on the side to soak up that delicious broth. I felt like every taste I had, added a new layer of flavors and complexity to the broth. I've had some of the best Cioppino in San Francisco and I can say without reservation that this is comparable to the best.
Spicy Pork Arrabiata Balls: You can't go wrong with the Spicy Pork Arrabiata balls as your choosing for the Orbs Bowl! The pork balls are slow roasted in an Arrabiata sauce or a spicy italian tomato sauce and served with Focaccia. The Angus Beef balls in marinara sauce were tempting as well. Good picks either way!
Dessert of Choice: Sfingi's
If you have room and yes please SAVE room. The Sfingi's (SFEEN-JE) or little mini beignets as they appeared to me are heavenly. They are homemade Sicilian pastry puffs that have a light and airy texture. Similar to the crostini specials, these are made everyday, but with a new variation. I sampled ones with cinnamon and duck fat powdered sugar, served with caramel sauce, raspberry coulis, bourbon infused cherries and vanilla ice cream.
I'm sorry, you had me at bourbon infused cherries Chef Steven! Trust me, you will thank me later for trying these.
At the end of the day, I left Orbs with a huge smile on my face and grateful that I had the opportunity to fully grasp what they were all about.
Trying food doesn't have to equate to fine dining or dropping tons of money on your meal. It doesn't have to be super upscale or overly pretentious. It can be fun, it can be genuine, and it can be insanely delicious without the hefty price tag.
Looking for a new place? I think you've found it. So let's go to Orbs and have a ball!
Thank you Orbs for bringing out the best in the Rochester community and making the South Wedge that much cooler. <3