Dayton has many mainstream Italian-style restaurants--Franco's, Mama diSalvo's--but we've lacked an upscale Italian. Roost recently has sought to fill that niche, and they're doing it first-rate.
My wife and I made our first visit on a Thursday night, when most restaurants would be less than full. I think we got the last open table in the place after a short wait while it was cleared from the previous customers. When full, the place is noisy to the point of discomfort for me (I'm a little more sensitive to sound levels than most, I think) and so some sound-deadening materials in key locations on the hard surfaces would be an improvement.
The staff shows evidence of having been thoroughly trained and coordinated. All displayed an eager confidence, a willingness to do anything in their power to make the visit as pleasant as possible, This attentiveness, however, never crossed the line into distraction.
The menu is extensive and it offers a little of every possibility in proteins and styles. There are a couple of vegan entrees (priced much lower than the meat-based entrees, an honorable approach).
We started with a special non-menu appetizer, figs stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in bacon, and served over a little bit of balsamic reduction--this dish was a triumph of cuisine, flavors so refined and balanced that it would have been at home on the menu of any of the finest restaurants where we've dined.
My wife's entree was the Manhattan strip steak with horseradish gremolata. She was a little disappointed because she thought "gremolata" meant a sort of creamy sauce--when she expressed disappointment, our server was quick to offer adjustments and she immediately delivered a portion of garlic aioli. This led to some humor from me about how many times we've watched Top Chef and my wife still doesn't know from gremolata. The steak was joined by a serving of marscapone creamed spinach which was excellent. The plate was completed with smashed potatoes, which were not like what I call smashed potatoes--these were white skins, steamed, and then seemingly put in the deep fryer for an instant to give the skin some crunch--not smashed at all. Maybe the diner can opt to smash them. But that's all beside the point, since the flavor was excellent.
My entree was the duck crepelles. Every bite transported me. The dish started with braised duck, plucked from the bones, mixed with butternut squash and fresh ricotta, rolled in crepes which are then crisped lightly, and then served over duck jus and topped with intensely caramelized shallots and one fried sage leaf. I used the sage as a palate cleanser and made sure that every forkful contained some of the shallots and the jus. This is another dish from them that I thought would be at home in the best establishments.
Honestly, it's such a pleasure to enjoy food that's developed by a chef who knows flavor profiles and how to balance the various tones in a dish.
The restaurant has a nice wine list, tho' I had determined this was a Manhattan night. Their 21 Manhattan is made with a good, extra peppery Rye, Martini vermouth rosso, bitters and an Amareno cherry--it was very good, went well with my food, but I must say my favorite Manhattan in Dayton still comes from Uno.
So all in all, there are a couple of things they could do better, but not by much. A little less noisy environment would make it possible to converse without shouting. A Manhattan inspired like the ones I've gotten from Tom Colicchio's restaurants would be even better. But so much of this dinner was outstanding, I'm fairly certain we'll be back--I want to try their Calabrian chili!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.