When I first heard Uncorked, a restaurant in Rochester, Indiana that describes itself as “a beer and wine bar with a Cuban twist,” had opened, I was at the same time filled with excitement and trepidation. You see, I love Cuban sandwiches and Louis Ferro, who, along with his wife Alissa, owns Uncorked, comes from a Cuban family. His parents were born in Cuba so Louis grew up enjoying home cooked Cuban meals. However, my history with Cuban sandwiches served at Cuban restaurants was, in a word, bad.
Despite this, I decided to hit the road for Rochester and give Louis and Alissa’s restaurant a chance. Here, in a new easy-to-digest format I plan on using for future articles, are my thoughts on that visit.
Uncorked features a small family seating area that greets you as you first walk in off its street front location. The family area includes seating for about 24 people at a motley assortment of tables and chairs. The tables and chairs can be moved around to fit any size party.
The 21 and over bar is to the left, just on the other side of a short divider wall. The bar servicing this area is a highlight of the restaurant, something the owners obviously put some thought into. It’s colorful, well-formed for a restaurant of this size and if it’s meant to invite people to pull up a stool and get comfortable, it certainly does the job.
Windows that line the street side of the restaurant allow plenty of natural light to stream in, blanketing the soft seating positioned here and offering a comfortable spot to enjoy the sun’s rays. For those of you seeking more natural light, Uncorked features an expansive outdoor patio area as well.
Seating was quick and our orders were taken quickly with a smile. Alissa’s personality is wonderful and it can’t help but rub off on the people that work for her. It took a tad long to get our food but I owe that to the care that Louis puts into his food prep.
Everyone in our party enjoyed their dishes with no one leaving unsatisfied or hungry. Our party ordered the Cuban Sandwich, Steak Sandwich, Palomilla Steak (we’re carnivores) and the Shrimp Sofrito. All of the entrees are served with black beans and rice or plantain chips.
A kids menu is offered as well with the choice of a hot dog or hot ham and cheese sandwich available along with a “Peanut Butter and Guava” and “Pork and Rice Bowl” for the more adventurous ninos.
The Cuban sandwich, the reason we were all there in the first place, was served with the typical roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread. Plantain chips, a welcome surprise, were included as a side.
Louis’ Cuban didn’t disappoint. Obviously honed in his family’s home for generations, the sandwich was as good as I was hoping it would be and more than made up for my past experiences at other so-called “Cuban” restaurants. The Swiss cheese melded with the mustard and oozed from underneath the slightly toasted and pressed bread. The crunchiness of the bread offered enough support to keep the party of ingredients together long enough to get from the plate to my mouth.
If you’ve never had a Cuban sandwich, the one offered at Uncorked is as good an introduction as any to a sandwich sure to be among your favorites. It’s a delight to find it offered in Rochester and should be enough to convince the town’s citizens and visitors to expand their palate just a little bit and take a food journey south, right in their own backyard.
Uncorked is a beer and wine bar, after all, and they offer plenty of choices that should meet anyone’s requirements. The wine list is extensive for a restaurant of its size with about 20 reds and whites to choose from along with small bottles and sparkling wines. The beer list is decent as well with various light beers, dark beers, hops forward beers and ciders/fruit forward beers available.
The only complaint was that the Megan’s Mangoes cider from McClure’s (located in Peru, Indiana) that I ordered was served at room temperature. My guess is this was an oversight by the server but it’s worth noting.
Everyone in our party enjoyed their experience at Uncorked and were impressed that you could find genuine Cuban fare in Rochester. The dining scene in this town has yet to take off like other similarly sized towns around it but I have no doubt that Uncorked will be a part of it.
We had a chance to talk briefly with Louis as he took the time to leave his busy kitchen and come out to the dining area to introduce himself. It’s obvious that he is passionate about sharing the food he grew up on with his neighbors in northern Indiana. The community of Rochester and the surrounding area is lucky to have him.
Be sure and check out their website. They have a new 360 degree virtual tour that’s pretty neat and really gives you a good look at the establishment. I’m actually surprised more restaurants don’t do this
Editor’s Note: I didn’t get any pics of the family dining area since there were people in there. The 360 degree tour is much better than anything I would have posted anyway.
Also, like them on Facebook. Alissa’s sunny personality shines through on their live videos and are sure to brighten your day.