Gina and the Big Dog had a serious difference of opinion about this cool spot which has long anchored the redevelopment of the historic Plymouth Cordage Company factories in North Plymouth. It wasn’t the decor, which we agreed was a beautiful tribute to the old building and an elegant reuse. It wasn’t the food, which we agreed was delicious and creative. But more on our differences later.
On a frigid Tuesday evening, we were among several parties gathered around the warmth of the soaring bar. Tim, our cheerful and helpful bartender, offered us a stack of menus, including a special weekday prix fixe menu, where for $21.95 apiece, we could have chosen one each from a select list of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Not being dessert eaters, those arrangements rarely represent a good deal for us, although the options all sounded wonderful.
In fact, the menu itself was worthy of note. Each artful description noted the dominant flavors, not every ingredient like some places do.
As we often do, on this night we opted to split an appetizer, a salad, and an entree. We started with a glass of Crios malbec for Gina and a Wolf Blass shiraz for the Big Dog, each $8 per glass. The shiraz was particularly outstanding, and we noticed that the RooBar has had some sort of accolades from Wine Spectator.
So, back to our pesto arancinis. Our order ($8) included a half dozen perfectly prepared bites of cheesy risotto, coated with panko crumbs and lightly fried. They were good without their accompanying red pepper mayonnaise, but to be honest, the sauce was pretty good on its own, too… and on the hearty bread that started our feast. Yum, said the Big Dog.
The Dog has learned that Gina is always going to order a roasted beet salad whenever it appears on the menu, so he suggested it preemptively. This version ($7) arrived with very cold beet slices arranged on an icy plate topped with lightly dressed greens, chunks of goat cheese, and candied walnuts. We liked it a lot.
Meanwhile, we snuck a peek at the food being served to our fellow diners, all of whom seemed to be regulars, and started planning our next visit. One diner had a salad with a giant slab of salmon on top, and we looked forward to our entree, described as “pan roasted Atlantic salmon with baby gnocchi, portabello mushrooms, spinach and sweet vermouth Dijon cream” ($23).
Here’s where our difference of opinion emerged. Our entree arrived exactly as promised, with the tiny gnocchi maybe given a little pan sear first, to create a delicate crust on the hearty pasta. The sauce was delicious and the salmon perfectly cooked.
But yes, the salmon was an unexpectedly small portion, especially given the enormous fish on the salad next to us. The Big Dog contended that we had to take points off for skimpy portion size — our loyal readers demand honesty. Gina, on the other hand, felt that the dish was so unbelievably yummy that a serving of any size would have seemed insufficient.
And we’re thinking that it was probably representative of the restaurant’s approach: a dish that was unusual but not weird. We visited another spot in Plymouth recently that insisted on clever twists to classics, and the result was simply revolting, so we know it can happen. Gnocchi is often gummy, salmon often dry, and arancini can be a mess, but at RooBar these dishes were expertly prepared and flavorful.
You be the judge: We highly recommend RooBar, and bet that on a weekend night, it’s a hopping nightspot where the great food is a bonus.
10 Cordage Park, Plymouth, MA