Lightly smoked chicken breast, maple basted spaghetti squash,
baby carrots snap
peas sage (gf).
Photo: Laurie Tennent
. (click for larger version)
What are the chances? A three-year-old learns to handle pasta dough from his great-grandmother.
Thirty years later, after earning an Oakland Community College culinary degree, working under chefs Steve Allen and Rocky Rachwitz at Steve & Rocky's in Novi, then nine years with the Roberts Restaurant Group, rising to Executive Chef of Roadside B&G in Bloomfield Township, Chris Johnson partners with 34-year-old Jason Mood in their new Rochester eatery, The Meeting House. It opened December 4, 2012.
The partners met when both worked at Beverly Hills Grill. "For four years," says general manager Mood, "we entertained the idea of our own restaurant. Because Chris was born, raised and now lives with his family in Rochester, this city was on our radar."
It's easy to note that both partners are passionate about food perspectives with the cornerstones of great food and warm hospitality.Ambiance
Patrick Thompson of PTD Design in Detroit masterfully captured a somewhat zen-centric setting with touches of vibrance captured by red arm chairs at four-top tables, against an essentially black background, highlighting blond wood tabletops. Tables for two line a wall and offer seating flexibility.
Although modern, it's easy to catch glimpses of an original 1887 building brought to life in the 21st Century. It's simple, classic, comfortable, and current.
It creates the perfect backdrop for the "simple, seasonal, good American cooking," Chef Johnson brings to the table. "I want our menu to be approachable with sophistication and refinement."What's on the menu?
Avoiding the well-worn categories using French terms such as entrée incorrectly, Meeting House dubs appetizers suitable for sharing, "Smalls & Such." Here, tasty stuff has a balanced price point, $4-$9. Chicken Wings are cold smoked and wood roasted, garnished with white truffle oil, toasted garlic, and parmesan. Fire-roasted Wild Mushrooms are enhanced by roasted garlic and goat cheese. Littleneck Clams are enlivened by cooking in white wine and finished with smoked paprika butter.
Daily seasonal soup specials are offered by the cup or bowl. Traditional salads are small while main course size are creative. Grilled Flat Iron Steak is accompanied by a corn tortilla, avocado and blue cheese dressing, $14. Apple Cider Pulled Chicken Salad highlights crushed hazelnuts, Fuji apple, mixed greens with Michigan maple dressing, $12.
Three wood fired pizzas offer a casual note. Chef Johnson has developed the wood fired oven into more than a way to cook pizzas. Fire roasting and smoking of other items create unique flavors....continued on page 2