The Roost is one of many cafes in Northampton, MA, fighting for supremacy in a market that should be able to support them all. Similar to last week's review, this is a place that I had seen a few times but never thought to drop in, as I did not really appreciate what it was and what it offered. My friend Sean and I were going out to grab a beer, but wanted somewhere different than our normal haunts, so he suggested The Roost.
Offering breakfast foods like waffles, egg sandwiches, and bagels, along with soups, sandwiches and salads, they have a rather interesting menu. Their soups and quiches change daily, but the rest of the menu stays essentially the same. They serve several beers in the bottle and have about half a dozen taps, all but one of which were stocked with local or semi-local beers, and prices are extremely reasonable. They had Brewmaster Jack's IPA for $12 pitchers, so we grabbed one of those to go along with a cup of soup each and the Mixed Board.
Sean had the New England Clam Chowder and I had the Butternut Squash and Yam Bisque. The chowder was gluten free, and the bisque was vegetarian, and there are several items on the menu that satisfy each of those requirements for those with limited diets or dietary restrictions. My bisque was tremendous, slightly sweet and definitely more distinctly recognizable as having butternut squash than yam, with a heat that was very subtle at first but built as time went on. It was very creamy, and the texture was just right. Dipping the bread and some of the cheese from the Mixed Board was the perfect way to eat both.
The Mixed Board itself was quite good as well, with a small, house-made baguette, ample piles of hummus and peanut noodles (served cold), a side salad, some berries, a few thick slices of cheddar cheese, and some olive oil based dressing that was probably 95% oil. The baguette was delicious, but there was not enough of it, so we bought a second one; they make them daily, and you can really tell, so kudos to them. Hummus is something I tend to enjoy, but not love, and this was no different, as it was very good but not something I would ever really crave. The peanut noodles, on the contrary, were definitely crave worthy, and I do not tend to be a huge fan of cold peanut noodles, but these had little chunks of actual peanut in the sauce and it did not taste like someone had just thinned out some mediocre peanut butter. The side salad and berries deserve no more mention other than to say they seemed relatively fresh, I guess. Cheddar cheese being among my favorite things on Earth, I was really happy to find it on the plate, but really disappointed to find only a small pile, since it was really good stuff. The dressing was good with the bread, but nothing exciting; they can do better there. Overall, this was very good and I was very impressed.
If you need a quick, tasty, fresh made bite to eat and a beer or coffee, The Roost is definitely a good option, and I would recommend it a bit more than I would The Foundry, and the prices are a bit better as well. FYI, the desserts look AMAZING.
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