At the Table: Lunch worth the wait at bright, homey Roosters NY in Rotterdam

A charming place with very good food
Roosters NY on Hamburg Street. Inset: Crispy chicken sandwich and fruit salad.
Roosters NY on Hamburg Street. Inset: Crispy chicken sandwich and fruit salad.

There is no freezer at Roosters NY on Hamburg Street. No microwave either.

Everything is fresh and made to order. They let you know in the nicest possible way, with a laminated table card, that your order may take a while. So it might not be best to visit during your lunch break.

Roosters, which opened last year, is adorable, clean-looking and bright, in a newer building with plate glass windows across the front and tidy landscaping and a big friendly metal rooster outside. It’s made even brighter with white paint and lustrous modern flooring. The decor is homey but minimal — in a good way.

You enter into a small area with a counter and glass case — showcasing desserts from Rockland Bakery — and a self-serve coffee bar. You can buy a bag of coffee here, including their house blend and seasonal pumpkin spice.

The dining room is large and light-filled, with high-ceilings and an attractive glossy composite floor, reclaimed-wood tables and industrial metal chairs.

Matching stools line the counter, behind which is a large opening to the kitchen.

“It sure is a cute little place,” my friend Sheryl said.

We were seated at one of the dozen or so tables right away, and coffee and tea were delivered promptly.

Since Roosters is only open for breakfast and lunch you might not expect it, but draft and bottled beer and wine are available. A sandwich board suggested adding a mimosa or Bloody Mary to your meal.

The laminated menu is pretty much breakfast one side, lunch the other. Breakfast sandwiches start at $6 for egg and cheese, and work their way up — adding avocado, sausage, steak or chipotle pepper in various combinations along the way — to $11.

You can get an omelet made with three eggs and served with home fries and toast starting at $9; plate-sized pancakes ($8 for three); French toast including blueberry mascarpone-filled ($13); and waffles both regular or Belgian, also fried chicken-topped, with strawberry chutney ($16).

There are meal-sized salads, classic sandwiches such as grilled cheese and tuna melt, and burgers. The all-American classic burger with fries is a reasonable $11.

We put in our order with the friendly waitress and had a good look around.

At just after noon, the dining room was mostly full — couples and families with small children, friends like Sheryl and me. It can get noisy.

It took longer than expected to get our food, but we weren’t in a hurry. The restaurant seemed adequately staffed: When we arrived, an open door into the kitchen revealed several folks and there were two experienced servers on the floor.

Photos on my phone supply date and time, so I can say we sat down at 12:26 p.m. and our food arrived at 1:05.

“If I was working and this was a lunch break, I would feel like that was a long time,” commented Sheryl.

It was worth waiting for. My crispy chicken sandwich ($12) was a knockout, with the flakiest, most appealing coating ever that was fried golden brown and delicious, with a tiny bit of heat. It was real chicken white meat, perhaps a little dry, but the server recommended a side of honey that ramped up its deliciousness. The brioche roll was soft and sweet. I liked the fresh lettuce, tomato and onion.

Instead of the hand-cut fries that looked so wonderful, I paid a dollar more for a side of healthier fresh fruit. Roosters gets points for their ripe, hand-cut and varied fruit, which turned out not to be a compromise at all. The serving is generous and the quality of the fruit is excellent.

Sheryl ordered a breakfast sandwich of bacon, egg, cheese and avocado ($11). It looked handsome, with fried egg cooked just right and bacon sticking out the sides, slices of avocado on the bottom.

“The chipotle sauce is tasty, the sandwich is good,” she said.

The soft roll made the large sandwich manageable as it enveloped the filling and held together well. “The flavor of the bacon comes through,” she added.

Our server came by to top off coffee (pumpkin spice for Sheryl, $2.25) and offer me more tea ($2), and she was capable and pleasant. Readied plates were picked up by the servers promptly, so any delay clearly was from backup in the kitchen.

The tab for our delicious meal, before tax and tip, came to $28.85. The bill comes delivered attached to a small metal skillet.

It’s a charming little place with good food, locally owned and therefore should be supported. But you might not want to visit if you have a short lunch break.

Roosters NY

WHERE: 2675 Hamburg St., Schenectady, 518-930-2479
WHEN: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday 
HOW MUCH: $28.25 for food, before tax and tip
MORE INFO: Credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover. Children’s menu. Reservations accepted, especially for large parties. Parking lot. ADA compliant.

Categories: Food, Life and Arts

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