Rooster’s House of Ramen and Allusion Speakeasy were closed for several weeks in November, with major interior design refurbishments. They resumed in early December and had little work left, but had no impact on their day-to-day services.
Business partner, co-owner and chef Mark Henry said improvements were made following the support of many communities throughout the pandemic. -Partners Sean and Inez Fitzgerald (a partnership between Wobbly Olive and former Happy Belly Taco and Henry) wanted to “update the space for better service and an overall better experience.”
Henry says the building hasn’t been renewed for quite some time, long before it moved about five years ago, and certain aspects (such as weathered tiles and grout) have exceeded their lifespan. In half of Rooster’s business, new fake wood laminated flooring was installed, the suspended ceiling was removed, the head height was about 18 inches, the rafters were exposed, and it had a more industrial look. Henry also upgraded HVAC, purchased new dining tables and chairs, expanded and overhauled the bathroom, and updated the bar facing the dining room (which also acts as a window to the open kitchen).
As soon as the kitchen also undergoes some re-shuffle around the addition of an external walk-in cooler, more features are coming to its bar area. And when it comes to wall art, Henry tells us to look for some cool Banksy prints that are coming soon.
Probably more important. Allusion has more than doubled its footprint and occupies much of Rooster’s previous overflow dining in the front half of the building. According to Henry, a sophisticated new interactive bar top will soon be online, creating projected lights and displays that recreate the movements of items and patrons installed in the bar. (A photo of putting a drink and watching cool shit happen around the glass), he says.
The current theme of the spinning concept bar is Secret Santa (until January 1st-Last Chance), where guests can exchange with small gifts. Rooster’s full menu is offered in Allusion. If you want to dine on that side of the building, you have direct access to cocktails.
Henry says a new menu is available now — about 85 percent of the classic or repeater’s favorite new items — supervised by his brother, chef Chad Henry. Mark says he is still writing menus and developing recipes, but rarely cooks anymore. (He and Sean are also currently in the construction industry, and he has launched his own aerial video shooting service.) If you’re missing Happy Belly’s food, Rooster’s catering division (other customizable) You can access it (along with the menu). Flock parties and events.
Current new menu items include pork tan tanmen bowl (“like Japanese Sunday gravy”), pork Tokyo bowl roasted with miso and chili, pumpkin curry (vegan restaurant week holdover), chicken dumplings and bao bread. It is on the appetizer list. Brisket Birria Ramen is back.
Another new feature is the midnight / grab and go menu option for those who just want to eat late at night on the hint side. Includes items such as ramen ramen (grilled ramen and crispy ramen with chimichurri, coriander, onions, etc. wrapped in tortillas) and fried chicken (basically Japanese chicken nuggets).
Mark says this latest menu version will stick a bit, but expects more changes and additions soon. “Up until now, we were fusion noodle bars,” he says. “But with more traditional Japanese appetizers, the izakaya concept is even more apparent.” (Izakaya is the equivalent of a pub or tapas bar as a destination for Japanese snacks and drinks for socializing.)