Hogan’s Hideaway is not very well hidden with its prime location right near the intersection of Park Avenue and South Goodman Street, but it is a gem. With a simple but well-prepared menu of burgers and sandwiches, daily specials consisting of various fish and steak dishes and a small but comprehensive beer and wine selection, this restaurant is definitely worth a trip.

One thing to note is that although the dining room is reasonably large, the wait for dinner on the weekends can be a good 30-45 minutes – so arrive early or be willing to wait. However, to make the wait a bit more enjoyable, you can sit at the bar and snack on peanuts while waiting to be seated.

The eclectic decorations of various signs covering the walls and wine bottles to hold fresh flowers gives the restaurant the feel of a friendly neighborhood pub. If you’re on a date, the signs can act as a conversation starter or something to hold your interest during awkward pauses.

The Prince Edward Island mussels in a garlic and basil cream sauce were light and flavorful and the serving portion made it easy to share with a group of people, each of them getting a few mussels. Except for the special appetizer each day, there are no other choices to start your meal besides a soup or salad, so if you’re looking for a three-course meal it might be best to go elsewhere. The French onion soup is presented as it should be, in a crock with bubbling hot gruyere on top.

As for the salads, Hogan’s has the traditional dressings of vinaigrette and Caesar in addition to an inventive creamy honey and cucumber yogurt. The only disappointing item is the complimentary salad, which consists mostly of romaine lettuce with a small amount of mixed greens thrown in.

All the sandwiches and burgers come with hearty potato wedges and one onion ring rather than the wimpy fries at most locations in this price range. The sandwiches are $5-7 and the special entrees range from $15-26. The special entrees are well-accented with white truffle oil for the filet and a horseradish crust and roasted garlic-infused olive oil for the red snapper. Although my filet was medium rather than rare when I received it, the staff is prompt, courteous and efficient and quickly returned with a rare filet once the problem was identified.

The special entrees, appetizers and desserts change daily, ensuring nothing but the freshest ingredients are used. For that amount of menu change in other restaurants, prices are generally much higher, but Hogan’s manages to keep them low, making them accessible to a college student desiring a nicer meal than Friday dinner at The Meliora.

This restaurant has something to offer everyone in all price ranges and is the perfect Rochester restaurant if you want to go out to eat but can’t decide on a specific cuisine. Bon appetit!

Their phone number is 442-4293. Their Web site is http://www.hoganshideaway.com.

Kaplain-Shain can be reached at ikaplainshain@campustimes.org.

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