Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Favorite Thing This Week

I had another entry all set up for My Favorite Thing, but then I went out to dinner last night and encountered a new Favorite Thing.

Mr. Kim Chee and I were set up to go on a rare, childless date, and were in Rochester for the weekend. We wanted to go somewhere we hadn't been before, and somewhere we knew we would have a great time and a great meal. We got a recommendation to go to The Restaurant.

From the restaurant's website
 The Restaurant is in a beautiful old house. Even though it's downtown, it's got a great ambiance and really, for the location, a great view.

It used to be known as Chardonnay. I always wanted to eat there, but as a high schooler with unromantic boyfriends and then later as a poor college student, it just didn't fit into the budget. I was so glad to finally get the opportunity to try it out!

The Restaurant tries to use local ingredients--a true farm-to-table experience. I noticed on their menu that the trout in their Trout Piccata is from Bullfrog Farm, one of my Favorite Things from the past.

And their food is amazing. We opted not to have any starters (as amazing as they sounded), because we wanted to save room for dessert. So we went straight to the entrees.

Their specials sounded so appealing (including lobster mac 'n cheese with black truffle oil, pan seared scallops served with lobster risotto and wilted arugula, and pork tenderloin with butternut squash risotto, wilted arugula, and peas finished with a lavender honey sauce), but I just can't turn down duck when I go out to eat. And I was not disappointed.

We started off with soup or salad--I chose the soup. There was a red seafood chowder, a Greek avgolemono soup, and a broccoli and cauliflower soup, which is what I picked. Mr. Kim Chee had the salad (which unfortunately I didn't get a picture of), but it had some beautiful greens and was tossed in a vinaigrette sweetened with honey.

Here's a pic of my duck (sorry for the cell phone pics, I forgot the camera :/ ). It was perfectly done, and topped with a sweet Grand Marnier glaze. On the side were steamed carrots and green beans, a citrus-y wild rice, and a puree of butternut squash, which was flavored with what I suspect was maple syrup and creme friache. Oh my. I could have eaten a bucket of this. I'm going to have to give recreating at home a try.

Mr. Kim Chee had the Steak Au Poivre. It was a gorgeous New York strip steak, crusted in peppercorns, served medium-rare, and topped with a rich sauce made of cognac, cream, and Bourdelaise sauce. His meal had steamed vegetables, too, and the surprise of two starches--the butternut squash puree as well as a mound of garlicky potato puree, made with blue potatoes.

Our service was excellent (the person who recommended The Restaurant to us mentioned their incredibly friendly staff, and she was not kidding!) and the food even better. Very rarely do we have the time for a leisurely meal, but we spent nearly two hours at The Restaurant, sipping wine and very locally microbrewed beer (which unfortunately we forgot the name of. Sorry, nameless stout...) The only thing that made us leave was the fact that our movie was about to start.

To prevent dinner from coming to a close, we decided to linger over dessert. There were quite a few desserts to choose from (including an apple pie made of local, organic apples, a chocolate torte, Italian cream cake, a raspberry white chocolate baklava, and a strawberry parfait made with spiked whipped cream), but I just couldn't say no when the waiter said they had creme brulee cheesecake.

We also chose pears poached in red wine and filled with an almond liqueur-spiked cream. It reminded me of the recipe for pears poached in champagne in my possession--yet another dessert that will someday become a blog entry ;)

I would go back there in a heartbeat. The service, the ambiance, and the food together combined to make the perfect evening. Food was reasonably priced and there was plenty of it (did I mention that I have an entire duck breast left to nibble on tomorrow?)

If you're ever in the Rochester area and looking for a high-quality meal with an intimate atmosphere, I recommend giving The Restaurant a try! You will not regret it.


  1. Thank you for the review! I'd been wondering if anyone has been to The Restaurant. Never been to the Chardonnay either. I think my problem is there are too many things I want to try so I'd have a tough time choosing from the menu!

  2. So glad it was helpful! I wanted to try The Redwood Room (another "grownup" restaurant that I hadn't had the opportunity to try), only to discover that they made it into Pazzo, an Italian restaurant! I haven't lived in Rochester for more than 8 years so am not always "in the know" about where to eat, so thank goodness for local recommendations!