Orbs. A restaurant that whimsically relates everything to balls. okay, okay. We decided to go see what everyone was talking about. Orbs is a small place on South Ave. in the wedge. They have uninteresting outdoor seating, but since outdoor seating in Rochester is at a premium, I’ll just mark it down as an option for next time I’m wishing for it. We sat inside to get the full effect.
The first thing that I noticed is the front of house staff – females apx. 26-33 years of age, resplendent in facial piercings and Urban Outfitter apparel. No male staff other than the one fellow who seemed to be in charge which gave me a sort of Charlie’s Angels impression. Of course that may not be the usual. I would like to clarify that this is just an observation, I’m not finding fault. The floor is small, but the atmosphere is pleasant – not super loud, but not so quiet you could hear the next table over. The lighting was great – hanging lights over the bar and some house lights, but the amount of natural light from the large curtain window overlooking the street is what does it.
After a comprehensive explanation on drink specials, balls and dinner specials from our server we settled on some old favorites. They did have an interesting list of beer cocktails available that we did not try this time, opting instead for the reliable local Rohrbach’s Scotch Ale.
For this outing, we decided to order together and share everything. We started with the “Bits and Pieces,” it being a meatball themed restaurant and all. This is an appetizer plate of Buffalo chicken meatballs with blue cheese, beef meatballs with Asian style BBQ and pickles, and Falafel with tahini and kale chimichurri – back to that in a second. The falafel were nice on the outside, but on the mushy side within. The other meatballs were good, the sauces were nice. I wasn’t wowed, but they were good. Back to the kale chimichurri – best thing on the plate. This unassuming compliment is outstanding – really brightened up the whole plate and could completely hold its own in a larger role on a main dish. Yum.
We followed this with the beet salad which was good – arugula is delicious and underutilized in my opinion and the yogurt was a nice change.
As charming as the whole ball idea is, having already consumed several meatballs for an appetizer we tested the often tried, but rarely well executed Friday fish fry. This is one of the better fish fries I’ve had. They have the batter nailed – its just the right thickness, crunchy, golden, it doesn’t fall apart. The fish was a smidgen overcooked for Matt’s taste, but perfect for mine. French fries – average, expectations met french fries. Fennel slaw – interesting, different. I’m often disappointed in fish fries because you can taste that the fryer oil is old. This was very good, I’d buy it again.
Our lovely server did a fine job. She made sure to ask if we’d ever dined there before and gave us the low-down for our first dinner, relayed all of the specials and was prompt and courteous all evening. The restaurant was appropriately staffed so it seemed that everyone was getting the right amount of service. The survey we were issued with our check is a clever way to keep your staff accountable – I hope they’re also willing to survey the satisfaction of employees on occasion. Issuing the one without the other is like saying the beatings will continue until morale improves.
Reasonably priced. we spent $45 on 2 drinks, an appetizer, salad and entree.
I think the thing that impressed me about this place is that they didn’t mess anything up. Every time I go to a restaurant I can easily find something – usually multiple things to find fault with. …and while this is not Michelin star type food, everything was good, everything was hot, the prices are reasonable and the service was good. I would bring guests here, and I’ll definitely be back next time I’m wishing for a fish fry.