Rooney's

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P1010112.JPGOct. 2012

Location
90 Henrietta Street, Rochester, NY,14620 [Directions]
Near corner of Clinton & Goodman
Hours (as of December 2015)
Monday - Friday: 11:30AM to 2:00PM, 5:30PM to 10:00PM
Saturday: 5:00PM to 10:00PM
Phone
585 442 0444
Wheelchair Accessible
Info Needed
Alcohol
Yes
Website
[WWW]http://www.RooneysRestaurant.com/
Reviews
[WWW]TripAdvisor.com
[WWW]UrbanSpoon.com
[WWW]Yelp.com

Rooney's is an expensive, upscale, elegant, delicious restaurant with constantly changing menus, located a little off the beaten path in Swillburg. Rooney's is rumored to be the place to go when you need to impress someone.

Awards

Rooney's was voted "Best Place To Have Your Last Meal" in City Newspaper's 'Best Of' awards in 20021 and "Best Romantic Restaurant" in 2007.2


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2008-01-24 22:22:09   Probably the nicest fine dining experience in Rochester. Get the plantain crusted shrimp to start. —JohnCocktosten


2008-02-16 01:22:04   I'm fairly new to the Rochester dining experience, and this restaurant did not disappoint! The steak I ordered was tender and flavorful and oh so good. The only negative thing I have to say is that I did not appreciate the long waits for the waitress. This was my first time here and I will definitely be back. —GizPotter


2008-02-18 10:53:45   My wife and I have been there twice in the past few months. Both times it was absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend the plantain crusted shrimp. The food is amazing. No complaints. —ChampsElysses


2008-02-18 13:26:25   My wife and I went here over Valentine's Day weekend. We started with a panko crusted crabcake appetizer which was a winner. I really liked the addition of the split peas with the aioli, very inventive. My wife got the Caesar salad which she thouroughly enjoyed. My Bibb salad with Maytag blue cheese, oranges, and pistachios was also delicious. We got the blackened swordfish and plantain crusted shrimp as our entrees and both were perfectly cooked and scrumptious. The service was attentive enough and we never went thirsty. My only complaint is this place is LOUD when its full. If you want a nice romantic evening it might behoove you to pick a quieter night then a Saturday. We'll be back. Addendum: I forgot to mention this place could really use some new chairs, they are quite uncomfortable, especially for a longer dining experience. —DarrenKemp


2008-02-18 21:26:12   My partner and I went here for our anniversary. There was a mix-up and our reservation had been lost, but they had no trouble seating us quickly (the fact that it was on the Tuesday before Valentine's Day, 6pm and cruddy weather out may have helped). The waitress wasn't kidding when she said that the menu was printed minutes before we got there, because it was still hot to the touch! At the start of the meal we were asked if we had a show to attend (we did not).

The waitress made sure to pull out my partner's chair (and likely my own if I hadn't beaten her to it). She almost seemed hurt that I didn't allow her to pull my chair out and was very quick in placing our napkins. The only surprise at the table was the cloth itself, which looked like a gigantic lace shawl thrown over a solid red cloth. I still don't quite get that bit, but the cobalt blue water glasses coordinated nicely and the layout and 2-4 seat tables definitely encouraged you to get close to your dining partner, without actually forcing you together. I know that our food came from a door very near our table, but it didn't feel like we were near the kitchen.

I had a lovely vegetarian meal and for his entree, my partner had a trio of beef, lamb and sausage, all of which were seasoned generously, but not excessively. The portions were absolutely huge; my butternut squash ravioli (entree) was several inches on each side and my bowl of asparagus and fennel soup (appetizer) was actually intimidating in its size. The orange in my bibb salad with orange and pistachio was very fresh, without a hint of bitterness. Despite the immense portions, fortunately, the chefs' (two chefs and one sous chef that night, according to the menu) commitment to quality was plainly evident and very consistent. We did not have dessert or coffee, so I can't comment on that.

By the time we left, around 7:30, most of the other tables were occupied, but it still seemed fairly subdued. Some of the male customers were in suits, others, like my partner and myself, were in jacket, but a number of the men were wearing conservative button downs without ties. Women tended toward dresses. As you would expect in Rochester, service was not dependent upon your manner of dress.

The wine list is extensive, but definitely on the upscale side. My single glass of meritage ran $11 and they had bottles in the $150+ range on the wine list. The New York wines were primarily from Dr. Konstantin Frank's. My partner had iced tea and water and we each enjoyed an appetizer, salad and entree. Our check, after tax, but before tip, came to just over $100, which definitely makes it a "treat" restaurant in my book. Most of the appetizers were $8, salads were $10-$15, and entrees ranged from $20-$31.

Definitely a restaurant to enjoy. —DaveMahon


2008-02-19 12:29:21   My boyfriend and I went here for Valentine's Day and were very impressed. The ceasar salad, plantain crusted shrimp, and crab cake were some of my favorites. We enjoy wine and ordered a $45 bottle along with a salad, appetizer and 2 entrees. We also enjoyed an additional glass of wine with dessert which was brownie icecream that we shared. Our bill was aorund $150, so definitely a restaurant to save for a special time, but the food is excellent, service fantastic and great ambiance too. They pace your meal slowly so you can enjoy your wine and good conversation so a perfect date place. We will be back! —ParkAveGirl


2008-03-17 12:50:54   Definitely a treat / date place, to be savored slowly. The plantain crusted shrimp were good, sage-brown butter ravioli was perfect (though not orgasmic). I wouldn't mind the menu being a little more adventurous. All-in-all, a delightful experience. —SmitaRao


2008-06-01 19:28:23   We usually save Rooney's for special occasions, but sometimes that includes just needing a nice night out. I think we've been there 2 or 3 times this year, and had a great meal every time. The changing menu provides a nice excuse to keep visiting! —TimMortenson


2008-06-02 01:05:44   I've been here twice. The first time was for a romantic dinner and all went well; amazing server, tasty food, everything was perfect. The second time, however, our server wasn't friendly and our duck dish was seriously over salted. My husband proposed to me here on our second visit and our server did absolutely nothing in response! No complimentary glass of champagne or a dessert, not even a congratulations! Maybe she was having an off night, but her attitude was pretty cold hearted. It's unfortunate, but we'll likely never go back. We would have received warmer service at Dog Town. —MariahBetz


2008-08-26 11:41:25   @MariahBetz: Sorry to hear you had bad service while being proposed to at Rooney's. I also proposed to my wife here, and immediately after my wife said yes, the server brought us out a complimentary dessert (which was massive!). We were impressed with the service and the food here, and would definitely consider returning for perhaps an anniversary. I had Maki shark, which was blackened and full of flavor. I forget what my wife had. —AlexanderGartley


2008-10-04 16:49:28   I thought the food was good, but I hated the atmosphere. This place seems to be geared towards an older crowd. —JaredStrohl


2008-12-20 11:56:09   Rooney's used to be my husband's and my favorite restaurant — at one time featuring super quality food and a nice ambiance — although we had not been there for at least a couple years. We've now gone twice very recently and have been quite disappointed.

It seems Rooney's is trying to cut corners on food quality while keeping the prices at their typical high level. For example: at our first meal all five people ordered something different (a couple fish, one beef, one chicken, one seafood), but everyone's side dish was exactly the same — bland, un-sauced, steamed vegetables. When my husband and I went a second time for our anniversary, we got the same steamed vegetable side, and I am now firmly convinced the vegetables came from the frozen, pre-cut, packages you can buy at Sam's Club.

Much to my chagrin, there are many restaurants in Rochester that give you much higher quality and much more creative dishes at Rooney's price point. Tastings, in particular, is no more expensive than Rooney's, but everything there has a handcrafted top-notch flair, unlike the cafeteria-style presentation/selection that Rooney's seems to have migrated to. It is quite sad to see such a great restaurant fall so far from its historical highs. —LePetitChien


2008-12-23 09:47:38   I went to rooneys for my first time last night. I called earlier in the day for reservations so there was a table for us. I ordered the medium rare steak and was SOOO disappointed with it. It was so chewy my jaw ached the whole night. I counted some bites were 30+ chews before i could choke it down. the flavoring wasnt bad(the bbq sauce masked out all the other flavors) but for $35 a plate you would think it would be a nice cut of meat. I was with a fresh date and wasn't about to complain about the food in front of her... otherwise i would have refused it. she ordered the pork and our sides were exactly the same. buttery mashed potatoes and mixed vegs/carrots. no creativity and an unappealing dish visually. Just because it is expensive doesn't mean its good. i will never go back. worst 'upscale' restaurant in rochester. —brianmot


2009-01-01 11:00:32   Rooney's is hands down the best restaurant in Rochester. We have been dining at Rooney's for over 20 years and are so grateful that the restaurant has preserved the same ambiance, quality, and service that we found on our first visit, if not improved and further refined. We don't get to go that often, but when we do we find that every single item coming out the kitchen doors is absolutely amazing. Here are a few things we love:

Being greeted by Joe, the most gracious and elegant owner who makes sure you never feel rushed or pressured.

A warm welcome by Nelson at the bar (weekend's only?), easily the best bartender in Rochester.

Waitstaff that recognize you and treat you like royalty.

Elegant and romantic interior, always warm and inviting. We love the tables near the fireplace, but the tables near the windows are also great. Men may want to ask for an arm chair, which are more comfortable than the other side chairs.

Fresh made breads that rival the best Boulangerie.

Incredible salads, from my wife's favorite beet salad with peppered goat cheese to a Caesar with just the right mix of flavors.

Perfect appetizers (get the plantain crusted shrimp with curry butter for two- they will add one shrimp to the order for a few dollars so you each get 2 huge shrimp, incredibly delicious).

Phenomenal entrees with gourmand touches- lobster crusted scallops, wood fired steaks with house made sauces, house made ravioli's with just the right seasonal touches, truffled risotto, and incredibly delicious mixed vegetables that are bursting with flavor and freshness (who ever wrote the earlier review about frozen veg.s is completely off base).

Now onto desserts- again, all house made, and all incredible. The chef will put together an unbelievably wonderful sampler for two that is easily enough for four, so save room.

The wine list is also impressive. Joe carefully picks wines that are of high value and great quality. He loves to help us pick out wines to complement our meals, so don't hesitate to ask for his suggestions. By the way, they have offered "no corkage fee" during July and August for the past few years, which is a wonderful way to clear out your wine cellar and keep the dining bill remarkably reasonable.

Bottom line- if you have not ever been to Rooney's, you are in for a treat. If it has been a few years since your last visit (anniversary perhaps?), time to go back. Bon Appetit! —LeGrandChien


2009-01-01 13:40:43   Rooneys is a Rochester classic and has great food. Great old time atmosphere and a fine dining experience for all. Even on a recent Tuesday the place was packed. A nice feat for a VERY hidden restaurant. I recommend the place to many! —MrRochester


2009-01-02 04:44:11   I also noticed on my two visits that our sides were both the same bland "steamed veggies." Hmmm. That I could deal with, since the veggies tasted alright, but the over salted duck was unforgivable. I'd originally ordered something else and the waitress wasn't aware that the kitchen was out of that item; she came back and recommended the duck. The sauce on it was so salty that it was inedible, but my husband was willing to scarf it down because he had other things on his mind (proposing). I think the waitress really ruined the whole meal for us, though, more so than the duck. I was surprised she didn't offer a drink or a dessert after the proposal, it was really weird! I know that doesn't entirely reflect on Rooney's, but Jesus... you'd have to think they have proposals there on a regular enough basis that a server would know to offer a dessert. Ah, well. My first visit was awesome, but it was the second visit that was tje important one and I couldn't justify spending that much money there again after that experience. —MariahBetz


2009-11-08 00:05:24   I recently went to Rooney's for the first time after searching for a fine dining restaurant in Rochester. I was impressed by how nice the decor and wait staff were. It truly feels like fine dining even though nothing feels "upscale" in Rochester. The food was great. My only complaint would be the veggies that several others have mentioned here; although the rest of the food makes you forget about the boring veggies. —RachelRobbins


2009-11-08 16:20:00   I don't think I'll find a better wait staff in Rochester after going here, they are very serious and follow the rules of etiquette. The bread they serve could use some flavor is the only complaint I can make, besides the menu having too many things to choose between (Everything sounded good!). The wine was excellent. —DamianKumor


2009-12-21 16:39:17   Wow, wow, wow, WOW!! I loved my meal here. The food, the staff, the service, the ambiance—all were top notch. This is certainly my new favorite place. —BadFish


2010-01-22 21:31:01   One of our favorite special occasion places. The service is the best in the city and the food never disappoints. The wine selection is quite extensive.Our latest visit did nothing to change our minds. From first course to desert presentation,quality, and service was excellent. The epitome of fine dining. If you have never been, you owe it to yourself. —almorinelli


2010-02-12 22:00:00   Went for a birthday dinner on a rainy weeknight. The restaurant was a quarter full. Service was good - not great because the server acted overly familiar. We got the smoked seafood appetizer which was split into 2 plates (a nice touch). Wines were very good but on the expensive side. Both dishes were excellently sauced, if a bit salty. We enjoyed an innovative strawberry cardamom sorbet for dessert. Definitely worth a visit for a special occasion. —bjnlbn


2010-02-18 13:08:14   Went here on a Friday evening and the waiters know what they are doing. The ambiance is nice, a little outdated, but that's alright. The food, well, it was sub-par. We had the roasted duck with orange sauce. Duck was burnt and they tried to cover it up by drenching it in orange sauce. Needless to say, it was really inedible. It was served with wasabi rice which was covered in butter and that orange sauce. That was also inedible. We also ordered the rack of lamb in a bordelaise sauce, and an apple/cranberry fruit compote. They got the lamb right, but they placed it on an overcooked baked potato. Maybe they are in need of new ovens and cooking ware? —dark


2010-07-14 22:10:10   Well, it was my first time at Rooney's, and sad to say, it will be my last. The food was fine, except for my man's steak (1/2 of it was chewy and he could not cut it with the steak knife!) and the cafeteria-like steamed vegetables and dried out potatoes. We did not eat our sides at all. On the positive side, the sauces were excellently done, the steak was medium rare, and my scallops were perfectly cooked. I felt that the food was meant for people who are not adventurous eaters...it was quite boring for the intrepid palate. There was no heart or "art" in the cooking. —StellaRegulus


2010-10-14 08:08:15   Rooney's is one of my favorite destinations for special occasions and for taking visitors. Their wine list is among Rochester's better lists but we often take a wine from our cellar i.e. I feel it's worth opening up a rare or exceptional wine to enjoy with their food. Once when we took our own wine, they didn't charge a corkage fee so I mentioned it to the server and was told that since we had also ordered a 1/2 bottle of champagne, they wouldn't charge us corkage for our own bottle. Also Rooney's has featured "no corkage fee months" during JUL/AUG for the past 2 summers as far as I know. When paying prices for fine dining, it's nice to save a little on the wine budget. —KairakuShugisha


2010-11-22 07:45:38   Not really sure why this is still one of Rochester's best restaurants - food is good but not great. I ordered a tenderloin done medium and as soon as it came out I could tell it was not medium. It wasn't even medium rare - it was definitely rare and almost unedible. The place is in need of a makeover - even just removing the lace tablecloths would make a huge difference! Rooney's is definitely past its prime but an ok place if you are looking for a basic steak/chicken/seafood with a side of potatoes/vegetables. —goldengirl217


2011-05-11 18:41:37   the bread. my god, the bread. intimate setting. fabulous food. professional servers. —DerekSung


2012-07-25 06:43:48   Just ate here with my spouse and had a wonderful meal with a lovely waiter, Alex, who knows sign language and is very knowledgeable about the food and wine. I had scallops, very good, and my spouse had the beef tenderloin, well done, and it was tender, not leathery (!). The smoked salmon with herb pancake appetizer was delicious, and so was the strawberry/pear salad. The Maso Canali pinot grigio was the perfect wine for this meal. A wonderful experience, highly recommended. —KatieSchmitz


2012-07-25 06:44:46   And yes, the warm, freshly baked sourdough bread is still to die for. —KatieSchmitz


2013-03-01 13:28:33   Still one of the "Top 5" special-occasion restaurants in Rochester for us. Great food, great service, and comfortable elegant atmosphere. But the prices are such that we certainly don't go every week. —jgerek