Midwest Living Review
Just one block from the renowned Mayo Clinic, Chester's Kitchen and Bar knows what it means to care for people who have had a long day. When we first walked into the downtown University Square, we wondered if this eatery is just taking advantage of prime shopping mall space, or if it has a culinary vision of its own. It's definitely the latter. Opened in 2005, Chester's serves lunch and dinner in a low-lit, warm dining room with high ceilings and golden pendant lights that opens to a sprawling kitchen along the back wall. Locally grown and raised ingredients flavor many of the stick-to-your-ribs dishes on the menu; patrons rave about the Minnesota-raised rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes ($17). We saw couples at other tables tucking into the chicken with blissful abandon. But there are many other temptations, including the Beef and Blue Cheese Fondue ($15), the lavash pizzas, the grilled meat loaf ($16), the steaks, and the butternut squash tortellaci bathed in a light brown butter sauce ($15). Friendly waitstaff eagerly share what other patrons like and why, and they're willing to run back to the kitchen with any questions you might have. Though they're not professional servers, they clearly understand that just-right balance between making sure you have everything you need and giving you the time and space to unwind. The daily soup -- a mushroom, fresh thyme and brandy on our Tuesday visit -- bursts with earthy flavor, and the squash tortellaci, spiked with chopped ham and cranberries, was so perfectly soft, it could've passed for gnocchi. Still, we couldn't resist Chester's signature dessert: an individual round banana cream pie layering fluffy custard with bias-sliced bananas atop an almond-studded crust. Generous whipped cream and half of a caramelized banana crowned the whole $8 experience and convinced us that anytime we plan to be in Rochester, we'll dine at Chester's.