My mom knows how to find great restaurants. It might be her superior web searching skills, or maybe a bit of luck, but regardless, I give her all of the credit for bringing me to Open Face, a sandwich shop in Rochester, NY. We went out to Rochester for the weekend to visit with my sister and, craving warm soup and a creative sandwich (I could never live in Western New York, I have this image of snow and below-freezing temperatures every day…), we ventured over to Open Face.
When I stepped into the cafe, I felt like this was a cool coffee shop I’d spent time in with friends or alone to read. There’s an apothecary theme (tea in pre-measured vials, sweets in the front case for 5, 10, or 25 cents) and a weird combination of modern and vintage decor. The six small tables are pieces of art (see first picture below) – they’re part wood, part green composite material. 3″x3″ pictures in a row all across one wall give the small room a spacious feel. I was so impressed with the variety of music (I’m assuming it was the choice of either the woman at the counter who takes orders and delivers meals to the tables, or the cook that can be seen through an open window to the kitchen). I found myself wanting to write down bits of songs and look them up once I was home.
So I enjoyed all of that. The only part that confused me was the vintage throwbacks to Moxie soda and other assorted memorabilia. The vintage candy-shop feel is cute and gets the point across, I thought all of the extras were distracting.
…then our food arrived! I had been sipping on my caramel black iced tea, which had the perfect amount of sweetness, when sets of matching silver-metal dishes were placed on the table full of brightly colored soups and sandwiches.
I ordered the maple turkey sandwich on sourdough, cream of asparagus soup that came with baguette chips, and I chose the ginger carrots as my side. The sandwich, overall, was enjoyable, but the bread was a bit too thick and dry, plus didn’t taste like sourdough. The turkey was also a little too dry. However, when eaten with the sticky maple/mustard sauce, the combination was quite satisfying, like eating honey on bread.
The cream of asparagus soup was thin and not very creamy, but the asparagus taste was excellent. It was too salty, but I mostly ate it with the baguette chips, so together it was great.
Maple turkey sandwich and cream of asparagus soup
I am at the point where I get to explain the ginger carrots. First, before I go on, you should visit Open Face, if you’re in the area, just to try these carrots. I love anything in vinegar and almost anything with ginger – this dish definitely serves both of those flavors quite well. The carrots are roughly cut into quarters, with the skins left on, marinated, and then served cold. The texture was the perfect combination of crunch and softness. They were amazing and I have been inspired to recreate them at home.
My mom ordered the corn mash sandwich and broccoli peanut soup. I tried a bit of both and was pleasantly surprised. The corn mash completely reminded me of breakfast, it had an egg-like taste and was served with bbq sauce (why does that remind me of breakfast?!). The texture was very interesting – soft and mushy, but the bread was firm and not at all soggy. The soup was great (but also a bit thinner than I expected) and the peanuts retained their flavor against the broccoli.
Corn mash sandwich & broccoli and peanut soup
My sister order the soft brie sandwich on a baguette (which I don’t have a picture of) with broccoli peanut soup. The sandwich, similar to my turkey experience, was a bit too dry, but the flavors were excellent. How can you go wrong with rich apricot jam, brie, and sliced pears?
Definitely worth a visit.
Open Face, 651 South Ave, Rochester, NY