After months of hearing about Rochester’s Barbecue & Grill, I finally decided to go and see what they the hype was about. I was accompanied by my mother as I wanted to try as many dishes as possible however, still wanted to maintain my budget! It was rainy, dreary Sunday evening. I realized as I pulled up into the parking lot that I have been near the restaurant plenty of times, as it is next door to the Shop-Rite located in Lawnside, New Jersey, and never noticed it. However, what the restaurant may lack for the outer appearance, it makes up for with the interior. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the beautiful jazz mural painted along both the walls. The yellow and burgundy colors helped give the restaurant a warm feeling. Keyboards to the left of me and more towards the front of the store, it helped give the place a Louisiana feel, like a jazz bar, very soulful. We were greeted and asked if we were dining in or taking out, we opted to dine- in to get a better feel for the place.
Once we were settled at the table I begin to look over the menu. There was so much to choose from, I really had to take my time and take it all in. After about 10 minutes of going back and forth, I finally decided on the fire cracker shrimp for the appetizer ($13) for the table, six fried jumbo shrimp, collard greens, mac and cheese and hush puppies ($19) for my dinner and my mom chose the catfish and rib special, cabbage and mac and cheese with cornbread ($29).
The firecracker shrimp came first as our appetizer, there were about 10-12 . My advice is that if you get these, keep a drink close by! They were spicy, defiantly had a little kick to them. However, they weren’t so spicy that you didn’t want to take another bite, they were very flavorful. The only thing is I felt they were a little over cooked as they were a tad tough. I was over joyed to finally get my meal. The hush puppies were the first things I wanted to try. Hush puppies are like little pieces of funnel cake…they are sweet and just so delicious. I was pleased with the hush puppies, they were a good consistency I just like them served with powdered sugar.The fried jumbo shrimp were good, weren’t as tough as the firecracker shrimp…I would just prefer a sauce to go with it. The mac and cheese wasn’t my favorite. While it was cheesy, it was more of an Easy-Mac consistency, not baked like I prefer. And, the collard greens were good, they were fresh and well seasoned with just enough spice to them. The fried catfish was one of my top favorite dishes – I could tell the batter was well-seasoned and the catfish was served fresh not frozen. The ribs were tender and had a great sweet and tangy glaze on them.
The only downside to my experience was the customer service. While they were friendly and helpful, they were very slow. Maybe they were short-staffed for the night.
When walking out I caught up with Ciara Cruz ,22, a local who also was enjoying Rochester’s for the first time.
“I’m really surprised how good the catfish is…it’s so fresh! I’ll be back soon for sure for more and for some live music!” said Cruz.
Overall, I really enjoyed Rochester’s Barbecue & Grill. It seems perfect for a date night. They have live music on Friday and Saturday nights. They also have deals for date night or different specials on food. Rochester’s is family friendly, too. They have a nice menu for the kids. The best thing for me was getting a great meal in a great environment for under $25.
To find out more about the events Rochester’s host check out their Facebook.
With 5 being the best and 1 being the worst:
•Customer Service: 3
Rochester’s Barbecue & Grill