Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Rochester, NY


Aaron T
 Share

Recommended Posts

As someone who lived here for 4 years (and is sadly...well kind of sadly, moving away in a few weeks), here are some of my thoughts on some Rochester dining destinations:

-Siena Bar & Grille: Yes, extremely underrated. Had a fantastic vegetarian stack with smoked mozzarella last time (as well as the grapefruit/fennel/goat cheese salad). One of the better Rochester meals.

-Tastings (Wegmans): I've always wanted to like Tastings, and it's alright, but it never wows me. The meals are always somewhat nice, but nothing knocks off your tastebuds. They do make a nice butternut squash soup in the winter though.

-Mundo Grille: Another eh from me, although I've only been there once. Got an adequate salmon dish that I found to be overpriced for what it was worth.

-Olive Tree: Downtown, Monroe Ave. Get the taramasolata. Best Greek food in the area. I think Aladdin's is also always a safe bet, but not nearly as nice as the Olive Tree.

-Magnolia's (Park Ave): Best Italian-inspired pizza in town. Really really good. Also fabulous Tomato-Artichoke-Cheese soup.

-Table 7: Owned by Mundo Grille. Next to Tapas on St. Paul (which I'll get to in a sec). Surprisingly great. Don't get there too late on a weekend or you'll hit the loud bar-goers. Good calamari salad, great pork tenderloin, best sweet potato fries around.

-Tapas: Good drinks, but it's too loud on the weekends in the dining room and the food has consistently gotten worse (although I guess it's stil good by Rochester standards if you know what I mean). Don't get the calamari salad because the dressing is dripping off of it.

-Park Ave Pub: Stuffy, country club atmosphere, but produces solid food, especially a nice potato-crusted salmon.

-Brio (Pittsford): They recently changed the format of their menu, but I've had some really solid fish dishes there. I'd say go there over Mundo Grille.

-Bamba Bistro: Had a nice trout dish and superb lemon meringue pie.

-James Browns' Place: Great breakfast joint you would never expect. First Taste on Park is also excellent for brunch.

-The Toad: Ok, so maybe not a first-rate dining experience, but they make British food really well (if there is such a thing)...including a fine roast every Sunday at a great price. Awesome "chips" too.

Phew!!! Still planning on hitting up Philip's European and Black & Blue soon. Any thoughts or other suggestions?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't bother with Philips in your last few weeks...

Big thanks for your other comments, I'm going to check some of those spots out... Totally agree on Olive Tree being quite nice, have heard similar so-so things about Mundo and Tapas, but haven't tried them myself.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As someone who lived here for 4 years (and is sadly...well kind of sadly, moving away in a few weeks), here are some of my thoughts on some Rochester dining destinations:

-Siena Bar & Grille: Yes, extremely underrated.  Had a fantastic vegetarian stack with smoked mozzarella last time (as well as the grapefruit/fennel/goat cheese salad).  One of the better Rochester meals.

-Tastings (Wegmans): I've always wanted to like Tastings, and it's alright, but it never wows me.  The meals are always somewhat nice, but nothing knocks off your tastebuds.  They do make a nice butternut squash soup in the winter though.

-Mundo Grille: Another eh from me, although I've only been there once.  Got an adequate salmon dish that I found to be overpriced for what it was worth.

-Olive Tree: Downtown, Monroe Ave.  Get the taramasolata. Best Greek food in the area.  I think Aladdin's is also always a safe bet, but not nearly as nice as the Olive Tree.

-Magnolia's (Park Ave): Best Italian-inspired pizza in town.  Really really good. Also fabulous Tomato-Artichoke-Cheese soup.

-Table 7: Owned by Mundo Grille. Next to Tapas on St. Paul (which I'll get to in a sec).  Surprisingly great. Don't get there too late on a weekend or you'll hit the loud bar-goers.  Good calamari salad, great pork tenderloin, best sweet potato fries around.

-Tapas: Good drinks, but it's too loud on the weekends in the dining room and the food has consistently gotten worse (although I guess it's stil good by Rochester standards if you know what I mean).  Don't get the calamari salad because the dressing is dripping off of it.

-Park Ave Pub: Stuffy, country club atmosphere, but produces solid food, especially a nice potato-crusted salmon.

-Brio (Pittsford): They recently changed the format of their menu, but I've had some really solid fish dishes there.  I'd say go there over Mundo Grille.

-Bamba Bistro: Had a nice trout dish and superb lemon meringue pie.

-James Browns' Place: Great breakfast joint you would never expect.  First Taste on Park is also excellent for brunch.

-The Toad: Ok, so maybe not a first-rate dining experience, but they make British food really well (if there is such a thing)...including a fine roast every Sunday at a great price.  Awesome "chips" too.

Phew!!! Still planning on hitting up Philip's European and Black & Blue soon. Any thoughts or other suggestions?

You're pretty dialed in as far as a Rochester palate

Tastings has the most potential out of any Rochester resto in the area. The exec chef just left because it was a creatively unfulfilling (Charlie Sacardi was a chef at Bouchon in Napa, and many more places) Was wowed more than once but it was just wasy over their clientele's head. They recently brought in a sushi master to start doing a japanese menu for their next place (Satoshi) and he rocks the house.

Mundo is decent at best but the best shrimp cocktail in town

Olive tree - agree on all counts

Magnolia's - agree again

Table7 - The Chef Josh Bickam was the former exec at Sienna who left and came back. Learned his pizza trade at Pomodoro and moved over there.

Tapas - hasn't had a good chef in years but a nice cocktail spot

Brio - better places at that price point

Park Ave Pub - food is just plain bad current;y as they look for new kitchen talent. One of the best cellar wine lists in town - Ted bargain basements a lot of older meursaults and 95 bordeauxs for what amount to cost nowadays.

Bamba? - shedding kitchen help left and right - fallout from the Rio debacle

Black & Blue - beautiful room with god-awful food. I haven't heard a positive review yet but hopefully they'll get it together

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, lord, the garbage plate! :biggrin:

Actually, the best eats in Rochester was Smitty's Birdland Number One, which alas, is no more. It's the one place of all places I wish still existed - I'd walk from New York for a plate of that extra spicy chicken. And the incomparable ambience!

So what's this sushi place - Satoshi. Is it good & where is it? Sushi's the big itch I can't scratch when I come back to visit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would also like to add that we went to El Rincon Mexico the other day (Sodus location, can't vouch for the one in Canandaigua) and it was by far the best Mexican food I've had in a long time (then again, I'm from Philly...I can't say I can really vouch for what the best Mexican food is). The place is kind of a dump, but superb flautas and tamales. The bf had menudo (tripe soup) and seemed pleased.

Again, open to anymore Rochester suggestions for the next few weeks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good to hear about El Rincon

(and hey, we're finally getting some good Mexican in Philly!!)

In addition to the stuff listed above, I always find Chen Garden to be solid Chinese food (1750 Monroe Ave in Brighton).

There's a good little Korean place in the Regional Market off Jefferson Road in Henrietta, great rice cake stews, Mandoo, even good Kalbi and Bulgogi, but they cook it in the kitchen. They've moved to a bigger place nearby since I was there, but I still hear good things. I think the name is Song's. It's the Korean place in the Regional Market... hard to miss.

I just got a nice corned beef sandwich from Fox's Deli, although the rye bread has gotten annoyingly squishy lately... and they're only open for, like, 15 minutes a day now it seems. (OK, maybe more than that, but just 11-3 or something?)

I still like the Dinosaur for barbecue.

Gordon says Dog Town Hots is making a good hot dog: Monroe, at about Oxford?

I'd love to hear more too, so please report back.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of my favorite, all-time fantastic dishes in Rochester is the sesame tofu at Ming's (on South Clinton, not from Ming's II on Monroe). The place is incredibly tiny, seating is very limited -- but it's worth it. Always loved going there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of my favorite, all-time fantastic dishes in Rochester is the sesame tofu at Ming's (on South Clinton, not from Ming's II on Monroe).  The place is incredibly tiny, seating is very limited -- but it's worth it.  Always loved going there.

Last time there - they're making Ming's on South Clinton a take out place the the main man has been cooking on Monroe.

If memory serves - you used to cook at the Dino on Court St?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good to hear about El Rincon

(and hey, we're finally getting some good Mexican in Philly!!)

In addition to the stuff listed above, I always find Chen Garden to be solid Chinese food (1750 Monroe Ave in Brighton). 

There's a good little Korean place in the Regional Market off Jefferson Road in Henrietta,  great rice cake stews, Mandoo, even good Kalbi and Bulgogi, but they cook it in the kitchen.  They've moved to a bigger place nearby since I was there, but I still hear good things.  I think the name is Song's. It's the Korean place in the Regional Market... hard to miss.

I just got a nice corned beef sandwich from Fox's Deli, although the rye bread has gotten annoyingly squishy lately... and they're only open for, like, 15 minutes a day now it seems. (OK, maybe more than that, but just 11-3 or something?)

I still like the Dinosaur for barbecue.

Gordon says Dog Town Hots is making a good hot dog: Monroe, at about Oxford?

I'd love to hear more too, so please report back.

Chen Garden? That's impressive that you've picked out the only chinese restaurant that all my food snob (chef ) friends will get take out from.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great to see some new Rochester options listed as the well runs dry quickly in Syracuse. be advised that Mamasan's has a second lcovastion out towards the suburbs now. I always enjoyed the one downtown but my one meal at the new place was a bit disappointing. It was not nearly as good as the family owned Vietnames place I frequent here in the 'cuse. But, that said, they have sour curry on the menu - always a plus in my book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great to see some new Rochester options listed as the well runs dry quickly in Syracuse.  be advised that Mamasan's has a second lcovastion out towards the suburbs now. I always enjoyed the one downtown but my one meal at the new place was a bit disappointing.  It was not nearly as good as the family owned Vietnames place I frequent here in the 'cuse.  But, that said, they have sour curry on the menu - always a plus in my book.

Mamasan's downtown had been for sale for a while - all the good staff is with Be on Monroe but downtown limps along on lunches 10-3 during the week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So this isn't a Rochester restaurant per se, but for those of you in Rochester who don't mind driving an hour or so, Dano's on Seneca is phenomenal. We went this weekend on the recommendation of a friend, and it was a pleasant surprise.

We got (all shared):

4 spreads with bread: Liptauer, Grogonzola, Pumpkin Seed Oil (great), and Hotel Sacher (the favorite...think really thick tartar sauce)

Greens with wine-poached peaches, walnuts, sheeps milk cheese

Pork Knuckle

Chicken with Spaetzle and Paprika Sauce (this was fabulous)

And dessert was Rigo Yancsi (Hungarian chocolate cake/mousse with apricot), lemon bread pudding, and strudel. The Rigo Yancsi was mine and I think the best of them all, though the bread pudding was also a standout.

Looking forward to trying the Smoked Bluefish Mousse next time.

Really unique food to this area.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

sisofdiva2, thanks for the Dano's report, it is a bit far from Rochester, but I had it on my list during this last visit, just ran out of time. So I think it might be of interest to people browsing the Rochester thread. There's a finger lakes dining thread too, could be worth reposting there.

Chen Garden? That's impressive that you've picked out the only chinese restaurant that all my food snob (chef ) friends will get take out from.

I get a good amount of excellent Chinese in Philly, and on visits to NY and San Francisco, so I'm a little snobby about it myself, but I'm always pleasantly surprised how good Chen Garden is. They have a fair amount of the popular, unchallenging, crowd-pleasers, they'd be silly not too, but dig around a bit, there's good stuff there behind the cliche suburban Chinese.

gallery_23992_2291_37970.jpg

They have some good entrees with minced beef, or chicken, or chicken and scallops, on top of this scallion pancake. But I'd had that recently, and still needed an infusion of crunchy oil...

gallery_23992_2291_60451.jpg

I never order fried rice anywhere else, but this Yung Chow Fried Rice is rocking good, mostly because of the chunks of chinese sausage which give it a sweet, smoky edge, along with the roast pork and shrimp.

gallery_23992_2291_26046.jpg

Twice-Cooked Porkwas good, but not as decadently fatty as I'm used to getting... good sauce though.

gallery_23992_2291_83399.jpg

Lemon Chicken was a little too batter-y for my taste, but it was good for what it was: deep fried to a nice crunch, but not oily, with an intense lemon sauce. The person who ordered it loved it.

gallery_23992_2291_92142.jpg

Hunan Beef and Scallops doesn't look all that special, but it's got a deliciously tangy, slightly spicy sauce, over the deep-fried, but not thickly-battered ingredients. I suspect they're simply dusted with corrnstarch and fried, giving them a a nice crisp coating, while remaining moist inside.

Other faves we didn't happen to order that day are: almost any of the duck dishes, especially the sliced duck with ginger and scallions; also there's a steamed chicken with baby bok choy and a spicy bean paste that's excellent. The clay pot casseroles are really good. I've liked all of the noodle dishes I've gotten too.

Chen Garden

1750 Monroe Ave, Brighton

(585) 241-3070

It's odd, I can find no indication of an address or telephone number on this site, but it looks like their menu, so I'm pretty confident this is their website:

www.chen-garden.com/

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has no one mentioned Country Sweet Chicken and Ribs?? There are a few locations. Rochester has some fine cuisine, but come on Country Sweet is truly unique to the area. Battered deep fried chicken (whole or wings) then tossed in tomato/mustard based sauce which is sweet and very spicy. Served with white bread underneath to soak up all the sauce and mac salad on the side to balance the spiciness. The ultimate guilty pleasure. 20 years ago I lived on the stuff in college and to this day keep a bottle of the sauce (sold at the store and at Wegman's) on hand in NYC to liven up roasted chicken at home.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has no one mentioned Country Sweet Chicken and Ribs?? There are a few locations.  Rochester has some fine cuisine, but come on Country Sweet is truly unique to the area.  Battered deep fried chicken (whole or wings) then tossed in tomato/mustard based sauce which is sweet and very spicy.  Served with white bread underneath to soak up all the sauce and mac salad on the side to balance the spiciness.  The ultimate guilty pleasure.  20 years ago I lived on the stuff in college and to this day keep a bottle of the sauce (sold at the store and at Wegman's) on hand in NYC to liven up roasted chicken at home.

It never occurred to me that it was a Rochester only thing - add that to white hots, garbage plates, etc and we should be crowned junk food capital!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey! Zweigles white hots (the kind with skins) aren't junk food, they're delicious! Trash them, and you're trashing bockwurst.

Speaking of trash, that garbage plate in the garbage plate thread bears no resemblance to what I know of them - I once watched two guys eat garbage plates at some place in the 19th ward, and they had two hamburgers on top. (Never had the urge to go that route myself). :wacko:

When I lived there, NOBODY went to Nick Tahou's (or admitted to it). :wink: Not unless you wanted to pick up a tranny hooker or get shot. Or both.

(edited to correct my wursts)

Edited by H. du Bois (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're saying that, in Rochester, people don't want to pick up tranny hookers and get shot?

I can see why you moved down here.

One has to aspire to something. :raz:

I traded braving the tranny hookers on West Main Street for a garbage plate at Nick Tahou's, for braving the tranny hookers on the West Side Highway for boudin noir at Florent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking of trash, that garbage plate in the garbage plate thread bears no resemblance to what I know of them - I once watched two guys eat garbage plates at some place in the 19th ward, and they had two hamburgers on top.  (Never had the urge to go that route myself).  :wacko:

Believe it or not, the one on the right does have two cheeseburgers on top, they're just under the mustard and hotsauce and onions...

gallery_23992_2291_51248.jpg

The sharp-eyed, and steady-stomached might find the burgers on this angle...

gallery_23992_2291_20226.jpg

When I lived there, NOBODY went to Nick Tahou's (or admitted to it).  Not unless you wanted to pick up a tranny hooker or get shot. Or both.
That about sums it up... part of the charm, all gone now that the original location closes early.

But if you're going to have a Garbage Plate, I say you go to the spot where they started, and if you happen to meet some folks you normally wouldn't, well, such is the journey of life!

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...