(Originally written June 11, 2014)
Rochester, New York might only be 75 miles from Buffalo, but if you think it’s a wing town, think again. Sure, they serve chicken wings, like every other place on the planet, but their local culinary special is much closer to a French-Canadian classic. In fact, it’s kinda like poutine on steroids…if steroids make you fatter.
The garbage plate was invented by local eatery Nick Tahou Hots, which owns both the trademark and the domain name. The basic idea is to take french fries and/or macaroni salad, throw a buncha meat on top, then top with chili and cheese sauce. I guess they called it the garbage plate cuz “heart attack on a plate” was already taken. Mind you, while Nick’s mighta been the originators of this culinary creation (waaaay back in 1918!), most local diners, drive-ins and/or dives offer some variation of the plate–whether they call it a sloppy plate, a junkyard dog plate, or, in the case of the Marshall Street Bar & Grill, a volcano plate:
If you’re wondering how this plate (which, technically, is more of a serving bowl) got its name, you obviously haven’t tasted it yet. The chili offers up a pretty decent kick, and I suspect there might also be some spice in the cheese sauce. I had mine topped with a cheeseburger and some pulled pork overtop the home fries (often used instead of regular fries) and the mac salad, which you can’t even see in this picture. The burger was nothing special, just a thin, charbroiled patty, but the pork had a nice tang to it. Hiding the macaroni near the bottom makes sense, since you’ll need it to cool your palate after all the heat…if you’re not knocking back a whole buncha $2.50 pints of American light beer, that is. Of course, the fries on the bottom got pretty soggy from the nuclear cheese assault, and weren’t quite as good as the crisp ones up top. But hey, I guess that’s what happens when you live in a volcano cheese-ruption zone! Shut the front door and buy a ticket!
On that note, I found it funny–but also awesome–that this bar was showing Triple-D on the big screen when I walked in. Guy hasn’t actually been to Rochester yet, has he? Apparently not…