The Meeting House / Rochester, MI

To celebrate our big move back to Michigan, Michael’s grandma and aunt were kind enough to take us out to brunch at the new downtown hotspot, The Meeting House. In a location that used to serve a holistic restaurant named “Mind, Body, Spirit,” the new establishment went through a lot of trouble ripping out a top floor green house to create a two level upscale, yet casual, dining experience.

Arriving at ten on a Sunday morning, we were quickly seated on the top floor patio, that offered a view of the alley below.  Our chipper waitress handed us our menus, which were printed on tough cardboard that resembled a slab of wood.  The menu offered traditional favorites like Eggs Benedict  alongside more thought provoking choices like “The Fat Elvis,” peanut butter stuffed French toast topped with a banana syrup.

It seemed as though the owners were pushing for an industrial, vintage inspired look, complete with striped hand towels, mason jars, and food atop skillets.  I couldn’t help but wondering as I poured my water from a wine bottle water pitcher that maybe they could have thrifted some of their items.  However, I quickly realized, the overhead costs were none of my concern since I wasn’t footing the inventory bill.

For four breakfast dishes, none of which that complicated, I was a little perplexed as to why we were kept waiting for about a half hour.  When our food finally arrived I was impressed with the presentation, which kept up with the entire ambiance of the place, catchy minimalist.  My wood roasted mushroom omelette was stuffed with chevre, poached garlic, and shallots, and certainly created a winning mixture.  Normally, I am all about an excessive amount of cheese, but I was pleased that the sparing amounts let the mushrooms shine through.  I also ordered a side of house made potatoes, and was a little disappointed that my $2 only bought me a few bites.  I would have been much happier paying a larger amount for a bit more potato.  Their taste left something to be desired, though, and was not unlike something you could pull out of your home freezer.  Michael ordered the peach cobbler French toast and was happy to note that the taste of the actual fruit was what he could taste most, and not the mounds of sugar.  His sausage, on the other hand, came out cold, leaving him feeling a little slighted, as far as breakfast sides went.

His grandmother and aunt fared similarly, ordering the traditional eggs Benedict and avocado scramble, respectively.  Good, but nothing too special.  What stood out most to me was the fact that both the avocado scramble and mushroom omelette were noted as being gluten free on the menu, yet came out with English muffins.  The reason I ordered my breakfast was because it was gluten free and I was upset to see that a) they were tempting my will power and b) a perfectly good food item was about to go to waste.  As silly as it sounds, that one little detail ruined a lot of the experience for me.

All in all, The Meeting House provided a friendly atmosphere and a great alternative to the traditional offerings on Main Street.  I plan on giving the place another shot for dinner, but it’s not at the top of my list. I would have enjoyed the experience more if the chefs had given more personal touches to their menu and the food in general, instead of focusing so much on the small details like napkins and dishes.

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