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Restaurants & Bars

Two Nights in Rochester MN; One Good, One Meh

Brad Ballinger | Aug 4, 201008:45 AM     1

Dined with two colleagues in Rochester last week. I picked Jasper's for one dinner based on previous visits, and decided to try Pescara for the other based on some positive publicity here. Jasper's delieverd; Pescara not so much. Both places were BYO-friendly. Jasper's charged $5/bottle corkage, and Pescara $10/bottle.

Jasper's. Salads were fresh and lightly dressed. Nice variety in the bread basket (but they are affiliated with Daube's Bakery, after all). One colleague ordered the grilled portabello mushroom entree, another the veal tenderloin, and I had the charcroute garnie plate. Nice flavors in the meats on my plate. Both my colleagues raved about their dishes. Desserts were killer, especially the pear almond tart. The quality of the food dominating our conversation. We gave serious thought to returning the following night. We should have.

Pescara. Sleek, sexy space. Ambitious menu concept (for Twin Citians, think Oceanaire). Didn't quite deliver. My Caesar salad was over-dressed. Two of us ordered the scallops from the part of the menu where the items flown in today have a check mark next to them along with the market price. $26 for the scallops, $41 for Alaskan halibut, $38 for king salmon (not Yukon River).

You can then order how you want the seafood cooked and what sauce you'd like. I ordered the scallops pan-seared with lemon buerre blanc. Should be a home run, right? Well, the only way to mess that up is to overcook the scallops, and that's what happened. Since this was a business dinner, I opted to not make the fuss of sending it back. My colleague who folowed my lead felt similarly. The other colleage ordered a standard menu item of parmesan-crusted walleye. It, too, was overcooked. Good thing I didn't order the $41 halibut. I'd hate to think of criminally overcooking that fish. We all had grilled asparagus sides. No grill marks on any of our spears.

We ventured into dessert anyway, and decided the three of us would share the bread pudding. The portion size would defienitely feed all three of us. When I saw the huge slice, I was worried about one thing -- would it be dry in the middle? Yes, it would.

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