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Rochester Dining Landscape

TheDegustationAsian Nov 19, 2010 06:45 AM

Hello Rochester hounds. I grew up in the Rochester area but currently live in Brooklyn, New York. I'm back in the area to visit my family a couple times a year and wanted to know about the restaurant scene Rochester has to offer.

Specifically, I was wondering if anyone has information about Warfield's High Point in Victor: http://www.warfields.com. From the little I've read about the restaurant, it looks nice. I have a reservation next week and was told by the manager that they feature tasting menus (although not posted on their website). Will be sure to report back after my meal.

The other restaurant I'm curious about is Good Luck. I've read many positive reviews here, which in turn has prompted me to make a reservation. If all goes well, I'll be tempted to book a reservation for their Chef's Table when I return for Christmas. Has anyone experienced this, and if so, what format did you choose? I'm very interested to see where they source their seafood from (especially the langostine) and would love to hear any feedback re these experiences.

A couple of restaurants that I've enjoyed on previous trips home have included:

I've been to Lento a couple of times now and love how chef Rogers embraces the same farm to table concept, featured at his previous restaurant Primo, and has brought it with him to Rochester. While the concept is great, execution has been hit-or-miss, and I hope for their sake that the kitchen becomes more consistent.

Been to Max at Eastman's, Rio Bamba or whatever they call it now, Jo Jo's, but not 2 Vine or Black and Blue. Anyways, all of your thoughts are appreciated.

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Good Luck
50 Anderson Ave, Rochester, NY 14607

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    refinnej RE: TheDegustationAsian Nov 22, 2010 03:15 PM

    I also grew up in the Rochester area, now in Philadelphia. Still look forward to going back to Rochester for the food...and not just for my mom's cooking! I checked with my folks...they like Max at Eastman Place for a special meal, although they've been wanting to try Warfield's. Their current favorite is Ristorante Lucano (Northern Italian, with good seafood, is what they say). A place I thought I would mention is Next Door Bar & Grill, the new-ish Wegman's venture in Pittsford. A number of people, including my dad, thought the french fries were exceptional, and the food overall interesting. For me, the Rochester Public Market on Saturday morning is a must! I like the cheese shop (the owner has an olive grove in Italy and there is a house brand of olive oil that I think is excellent), the spicy chickpea / breakfast sandwich stand, pho at Lemongrass Vietnamese restaurant right outside the market, and all the seasonal fruits and vegetables.

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    Ristorante Lucano
    1815 East Ave, Rochester, NY 14610

    2 Replies
    1. re: refinnej
      TheDegustationAsian RE: refinnej Nov 29, 2010 10:01 AM

      Thanks refinnej for the info. Wanted to write a quick report of both my meals at Good Luck and Warfield's High Point.

      Good Luck - Located in the former Fabrics and Findings space, the interior features a semi-open kitchen with an adjacent room for the Chef's Table feature and a lively bar. We arrived on time for our dinner reservations and were ushered to a much quieter dining room that had an industrial feel to it, akin to something you might find in a Brooklyn restaurant, complete with exposed ceiling beams, brick walls and plenty reclaimed wood.

      That said, the cocktails were very good. Between our party of four, we sampled eight different cocktails from both the Original and Classic menus. Especially good was the Guilded Ricky made with Hendrick's Gin. Never got around to ordering wine, but if memory serves me right, they have a decent selection.

      Service was uninspiring. Though I must admit, I'm used to New York standards and may have just gotten a poor server. Specifically, when I inquired as to what the day's charcuterie plate featured, our server did not know and failed to even find out from the kitchen.

      Fortunately, the food was much better. We started with a charcuterie plate with featured a celery root remoulade, pickled red onions, pickled hard boiled egg with jalopeno, and pickled sweet peppers, prosciutto, salumi, duck confit, manchego cheese, McCadam cheddar and a pecorino romano with saffron and peppercorn.

      Next was the gnocchi in a ragu that was topped with a bechemel. The gnocchi were very light, and while not the best rendition I've ever had, it was certainly the most promising I've had in Rochester. The ragu was hearty and the bechemel were nice touches.

      The braised oxtail with tripe in a marinara was my favorite dish of the evening. Tiny bits of honeycomb tripe were super tender (a good indication of the chef's ability) and the red sauce was spiked with a little red chili. Together with some additional bread, this was one of the best dishes I've had in Rochester.

      The Good Luck burger, served with a mountain of fresh cut fries and a special sauce (ketchup, mayo and brandy) was good, but nothing I'd care to order again. The meat was grass-fed and grinded well, but it lacked the crust or funk that I prefer from my burgers, especially at that price.

      The braised beef shank was served over a bed of creamy polenta and root vegetables and was another excellent dish. I enjoyed how tender the shank was and how creamy the polenta was. Much better execution than the duck and polenta dish I've eaten at Lento twice now.

      To finish, we shared the half chicken. This dish, another one I typically use to judge a kitchen, was poor. The chicken was moist but otherwise flavorless and could have benefited from some vinegar or other acid. The briney flavors from the olives were fine from a seasoning aspect, but overall the dish suffered from a lack of texture - no crispy skin - and was the weakest dish in my opinion. All in all, I enjoyed Good Luck, thought the rotating menu was promising and with the addition of some great cocktails will be a restaurant to visit again, next time, for the Chef's Table.

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      Good Luck
      50 Anderson Ave, Rochester, NY 14607

      1. re: refinnej
        TheDegustationAsian RE: refinnej Nov 29, 2010 10:31 AM

        Warfield's at High Point - The restaurant is oddly located in the ground floor of the Constellation's building on High Point Drive. Once we actually found the restaurant we checked our coats and grabbed a glass of cava, only sparkling wine featured by the glass, at the bar while the rest of our party arrived.

        The bar was small and a bit awkward, definately not ideal for large groups. Led to our table, the dining room looked as though we were eating in a corporate office building. Dingy lightening and typical corporate ambiance (complete with odd abstract paintings) culminated in a lackluster start to the meal.

        Luckily, our meal was much better. We arranged a six-course tasting menu with the chef beforehand and selected a Kim Crawford Sav. Blanc to start our meal. The amouse bouche arrived on a spoon: a smoked salmon mousse with a piece of compressed melon and micro cilantro. This was the smallest amuse I've ever been treated to, but it was tasty.

        Our first course, I apologize for all the details, were two Duxbury Oysters (MA). One was served raw and arrived on the half shell with a pickled onion salsa and creme fraiche. The other was fried tempura-style, over a chipotle-onion puree. Both were tasty, but I preferred the raw preparation. The tempura-style oyster could have been warmer temperature wise, but was otherwise, very good.

        My sister, who is allergic to oysters, recieved a roasted beet terrine with goat cheese, olive crumble and avocado puree. Although, she loves anything with beets, she loved this dish, especially the crumble which enhanced the dish by adding a crunchy element.

        Next, was a pan seared diver scallop with honey-glazed pork belly, salsify, brussels sprouts leaves over roasted barley and an ale foam. The rest of my party enjoyed this dish more than I, as I found my scallop a tad fishy and not of the quality I usually find in NYC, but I appreciated the though behind the dish. The barley was especially good, and a nice substitute to risotto.

        Next was King Ivory Salmon that was potato crusted. The salmon was cooked flawlessly, being just medium rare like it should be. My only complaint was that the potato crust was limp and not crisp, which would have lent a nice textural contrast.

        Pan seared foie gras with persimmon and cranberry followed and recieved rave reviews by all in our party. The foie was prepared well and was fantastic with the sweet persimmon and acidic cranberry which helped cut the richness of the foie.

        At this point of the meal we transitioned to a 2007 Malbec, which was quite good.

        Our final savory course was a grilled wagyu sirloin over a sweet potato puree and braised swiss chard. Despite the beef being waygu, this dish fell short on several counts. First, the beef was relatively flavorless and needed additional seasoning. Second, the meat was a bit overcooked and was on the verge of being tough, something I don't expect with wagyu.

        Dessert was a fig and marscarpone torte with a toasted almond ice cream. The torte was good but the ice cream was VERY strong. Fine by me, and good if you enjoy almond flavor, but is something to be weary of in the future.

        With our check we recieved complimentary petits fours, dark chocolate, caramel truffles with Hawaiian sea salt. We were instructed to eat them salt side first to enhance the sweetness of the caramel as they made for a nice ending.

        Warfield's figures to be a welcome addition to the Rochester fine dining scene. Nothing too special compared to some of the restaurants I tend to frequent in NYC, but very good nonetheless. I'd recommend the restaurant for adventures diners who don't mind less conventional options but still want top quality food.

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