If you know Chris Small, you know he is a big guy with a big appetite!  Chris loves eating out at the many great locally owned restaurants and pubs in the Miami Valley.  Each month he’ll share one of his favorites with you.

Chef Dana Downs of Roost Italian Kitchen

Roost – 524 East 5th Street, Dayton, OH  45402 – www.roostdayton.com

Voted “Dayton’s Best Chef” in 2012, Dana Downs’s first restaurant, Roost Modern Italian, is the culmination of her years of working in Dayton’s finest culinary establishments.  Roost takes traditional Italian foods and utilizes modern techniques and ingredients, developing unique flavors to create what Dana calls “Modern Italian.”  The dinner-only restaurant just completed a renovation — turning the courtyard into a four-season room, with rolling garage doors that open when weather permits, and adding more tables to her mecca of food in the Historic Oregon District.

Although I’ve heard fabulous things about Roost, I admit that the visit for this article was my first.  I decided to take some family along with me so the staff wouldn’t look at me funny when I ordered five different entrees.  We were fortunate to be seated in the newly renovated courtyard.  It is a great place to enjoy conversation and have a nice, casual dining experience.

Roost Modern Italian - Asiago Crusted ChickenWe started out with drinks.  I chose the Warped Wing Starter Session.  Then it was on to salads.  Roost offers a great variety.  I chose the Arugula and Watermelon Salad with feta cheese, onion, and just the right amount of a light balsamic vinaigrette.  It was quite refreshing.  Selecting an entrée was a lot more difficult.  I finally opted for Asiago Crusted Chicken with pesto cream linguine, tomatoes, pine nuts, and fresh spinach.  I chose well because it was incredible!  From other plates in our party, I was able to sample the Spaghetti E Polpette (fresh spaghetti, beef and pork meatballs, basil crumbs, and parmigiana) and the Butter Poached Filet Mignon.  Both were pretty amazing.

Roost Modern Italian- Spumoni BombaDespite the fact that we were all quite full, we had to try dessert.  I selected the Spumoni Bomba which was comprised of strawberry, pistachio, and chocolate gelato with a chocolate ganache coating.  It was so pretty that I could hardly eat it.  Rest assured that I did, and it was one of the best desserts I ever had.  The Seasonal Bread Pudding was pretty tasty too.

Between the atmosphere and the service, we were not made to feel rushed at all.  Thanks again Nicole – you did an excellent job taking care of us!  The food at Roost is truly some of the best I’ve eaten.  I highly recommend you make time in your schedule to visit and enjoy a meal.