Hi folks. I'm Los Angeles Chowhound who made the pilgrimage to my "ancestral home" (to steal a phrase from current events) in Rochester in July. I haven't been going to Rochester every year (though based on the report below, maybe I will now!), so it was fun to get an out-of-towner's viewpoint on the place.
Here are some of the more notable places I ate:
1) Dave's Village Bakery, 104A Village Landing, Fairport. My niece works here, so I popped in to embarrass her in front of co-workers :) She said the best seller is the pepperoni-cheese bread, so I bought a loaf. Very tasty!!! Nice pizza flavors with the bread instead of a crust -- interesting texture. I highly recommend it.
2) Ristorante Grappa, 145 N. Main Street in Fairport. Nice little neighborhood Italian place I WISH we had more like this in LA. Good food, friendly service (and the bartender made a good apple martini!).
3) Lindburgers, 2157 Penfield Road, Penfield. They have something like 50 burgers on their menu. Good burgers, (they serve them on nice big rolls, too) and I like the number of choices, but VERY filling. Best to go there if youre pretty hungry! The condiment selection should be expanded, however that would be my biggest gripe.
4) The Dinosaur BBQ, 99 Court Street, Rochester. Fun environment, though it got annoying how the hostess would call peoples names over the loudspeaker when the table was ready. In all honesty, the barbecue was just average, though Im admittedly not a barbecue connoisseur, but it wasnt as good as some of the stuff Ive had at more down home places, even in LA. But it is fun, and Id go back. Children seem to like it, as do the bikers! They also seemed to have a big selection of beers (though mostly in bottles, not on tap, if Im not mistaken)
5) Tastings, 3195 Monroe Ave, Pittsford. WOW!!! This is one of the real treasures of Rochester. What a wonderful meal we had here. Definitely order from the tasting menu if you go (at least the first time). They do an excellent job pairing wine with foods, and the staff is very knowledgeable. Seriously if you are in Western New York: Go here!! I saved the menu, so I can detail what I had I was very pleased with these selections, by the way. I also had a bite of the New York strip steak that someone else ordered, and that was also nice:
Chilled corn soup with Roederer Estates sparkling wine
Pan seared wild Alaskan king salmon with a Hermann Wiemer gewurtztraminer (a Finger Lakes wine). The scallion dressing with the fish was excellent
Lemon grass grilled rack of lamb with Rosemont Estates show reserve shiraz from Australia
Strawberry and rhubarb tart with Deinhard Beeren Auslese Riesling, from Germany. Usually Id pass on a German Riesling as being too sweet, but it complemented the dessert VERY nicely.
6) Finger Lakes wine tasting: We went to a handful of vineyards around Keuka and Seneca Lakes. As you'll see, I'm no wine expert, but I'm learning:
-Fox Run I liked the 2000 sable, a nice, smooth dry Red
-Prejean they had a very interesting *white* merlot
-Glenora my favorite. Unfortunately, I lost my notes, but I enjoyed their fruity wines not frightening like the Bartles & Jaymes of my youth!! We had a spectacular lunch at their restaurant overlooking the lake I highly recommend stopping at Glenora just to eat, even if you skip the winery (but why would you do that?)
-Bully Hill - we saw the whole tourist trap thing they have going, took a walk around, and left without tasting anything. Actually, I object to something Bully Hill does with its wines: Everything has a cutesy name, like Love my Goat, but the bottle doesnt tell you anything about what kind of grapes are used
-Dr. Konstantin Frank My family members are big fans of this place, so we saved it for last. I really liked the 2002 Rkatsiteli, and the 2001 Pinot Noir reserve. My brother really loves the cabernet sauvignon he turned me onto the Frank vineyard years ago .
Anyway, thats my visit, and my recommendations! And Im RARELY so thorough in my recollections about restaurants I visit in Los Angeles somehow, it seems more special when youre on vacation