Saturday, October 13, 2012


My travel schedule has been a bit loopy, so it seems fitting that my husband and I arranged our only date night in months while I was in Philadelphia and he was running the kids around town to their multiple lessons.  Pending an on time flight arrival, I suggested we try a new Rochester hot spot, TRATA (aka The Restaurant At The Armory) and see The Master.

While my flight did land on time, we had questions about whether we'd find a parking space at the Armory.  It was clear TRATA was hopping.  After a couple miscues about our seating, we had a table we were happy with and were ready to assume the personae of daters-about-town.  And, from this perspective, TRATA had it going on:  three architecturally striking floors that evoke a very artsy barn, a massive center bar surrounded by seating and dining catwalks and balconies, varied sculptural lighting, a unisex bathroom, a welcoming rooftop bar, and lots of earphone-equipped staff.

Right up front, I need to share one thing we did not anticipate about TRATA--for non-drinkers, it is crazy reasonable in terms of prices!  My one table trick is that I can typically guess a dinner bill within $2-3 dollars, but because I was tired from two full days of meetings during which I was also trying somehow to manage several late breaking events back home, I hadn't even bothered to scan TRATA's menu for prices.  So, I overbid our bill by about $25!

Here's what we got: 2 small plates, a salad, an entree, and a dessert.  The term "small plates" is misleading--these are serious portions, easily shared among 2-4.  Can I go a week without some wings? No! So, we ordered the wings, which were from chickens on mega-steroids and were full wings, not wingettes.  These were tender and moist with a mild sauce.  To balance the wings, we got the lettuce wraps.  The chicken stir fry had a yummy sauce on the side and was served with two lettuce wedges that you broke up to make the wraps.  Messy to be sure but also delicious!

I had heard about the fried chicken from a colleague, so we split that entree, which was a wise move.  After the "small" appetizers, two entrees would have been too much.  Instead, I ordered the house salad, which was also quite large; in addition, it was crisp and cool with a clean and slightly acidic vinaigrette.  At this point, an attentive reader would guess that I might say the fried chicken portion was generous; she'd be right.  It was also moist inside with a softer fry rather than a crunchy fry finish.  The potatoes were dense with a flour-based gravy--all topped with a fluffy biscuit.  Perfect to split.

We finished with the rootbeer float.  My husband took the float, I took the cookie, and we were both happy!

I've heard mixed things from others about TRATA.  We loved it!  The service was great, the food was yummy, the prices were more than reasonable, and the space is really cool.  Go!

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