In world of claims to fame, there are frequently debates over discovery and credit taken: Amerigo Vespucci vs Christopher Columbus on the new world, Leonardo Da Vinci vs Karl Benz on the automobile, and apparently Fernand LeChance vs Jean Paul Roy when it comes to poutine.
Poutine, natively from the Canadian province of Quebec, is a popular side dish, made with french fries, cheese curds, and topped with a light brown gravy. LeChance contends that this invention comes from a late night customer in late 1950s who demanded fries and cheese be thrown in a bag together to meld. In his 2005 obituary, the alleged customer, Eddy Lanaisse, came forward as that once-demanding customer. But Roy is noted for the creation of the famous sauce (gravy, for argument’s sake) and poutine has stuck with this signature topping from the 1960s onward.
So why the history? Because through the 1970s and beyond, this storied side dish made the short drive across the border, gained fame and notoriety, and landed firmly in the Rochester dining scene. Once considered an “embarrassment” due to Montréal’s notability for fine dining and French cuisine, poutine strikes the perfect balance between high brow and low brow, while also entrenching itself as seasonally appropriate whether you’re taking in the sun, Lake Ontario, or a festival in the warm months, or looking to heat up in the cold months, as the snow coats our trees.
If you’re looking for a poutine compass I’ve got you covered with what you need to know and order, wherever you may find yourself in the Greater Rochester Region:
Le Petite Poutine Truck
Le Petite Poutine is the pièce de résistance when it comes to poutine. It makes its way around the area’s most popular locations and events. It’s not uncommon to see a line of folks wrapped around a park or parking lot as they queue up for this fan favorite. Of note is the breakfast poutine, which can be enjoyed all day. It features french fries, beef gravy, fresh thyme, bacon, and an over easy egg, wrapped for your convenience in Le Poutine’s signature take-out carton.
Legends Sports Bar & Grille
If you find yourself downtown on business and short on time, Legends Sports Bar & Grille at the Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside, located adjacent to the Joseph A. Floreano Convention Center, can provide a poutine fix. While the venue sports an impressive bar ideal for post-meeting gatherings, an abundant menu of American favorites, and plenty of seating, I suggest that the poutine here is worth the visit alone. Made with light brown gravy, fries, and cheddar cheese curds, it’s a huge helping for only $9, so if you can’t handle the large helping yourself, split it with a friend or colleague. I also dig their other selections, such as the weekly burger challenge, which boasts a dueling duo of sliders.
While Orbs is known for its signature meatballs, their gourmet poutine shouldn't be overlooked. I’d recommend pairing it with a selection from the extensive craft cocktail menu, where big-city drinks are available at a reasonable price. The poutine comes doused in beer cheddar, duck fat gravy, queso fresco, an egg, and smoked paprika, which seems to be the real clincher. For those seeking a real meal, you add your favorite proteins for an extra $3.
The Old Toad stands tall as a truly authentic British Pub, offering a hearty selection of libations from local purveyors, as well as those from across the pond. While poutine is frequently featured as a special, it’s not standard to the menu. But it appears on this poutine-focused list because both beef and vegetarian are gravies always available as a side to their British-style chips, so with a kind word, a polite guest can almost always get the fine OT staff to craft a custom poutine. As your pint is being is being poured, your toughest decision will be whether it should come smothered in cheddar jack or bacon.
Founded in Syracuse, but never overlooked in Rochester, this once-mobile “BBQ out of an oil drum” operation has turned into a regional gem. As its name implies, there menu sports an abundance of southern-smoked favorites, but even the ‘Dino’ couldn’t escape the influence of Montreal, offering poutine consisting of hand-cut fries topped with a beef gravy, housemade pimento cheese, and pulled pork. It’s a great way to sample the area’s poutine craze as well as Dino’s excellent pork.
Commonly thought of as a library of cocktails, Nox in the Village Gate is a secret hideaway for comfort food. “It’s a Trap!” is the name given to their take on poutine, which is made of hand cut fries, a smoked gouda cream sauce (which plays the part of both curds and gravy), and a sprinkling of gluttony. Worth noting are their unbelievably comfortable barstools, highly knowledgeable staff, and the book your check will arrive in.
Ox and Stone
Continuing the tour of duty, just outside the core of the city you’ll find Spanish Poutine inside the friendly confines of the warm and inviting Ox and Stone . Here poutine looks like roasted potatoes covered in gravy, romesco, queso fresco, manchego, and crema. Order it “plain”, as described, or as I would recommend, with a smattering of chorizo for just $2 extra. The Ox has tremendous cocktail knowledge and is adjacent to a number of nightlife destinations near Alexander St and East Avenue.
Victoire, a Belgian Beer Bar is accessible on foot from most of the downtown locations you’ll find yourself. Besides their significant menu of gourmet mussel dishes, Victoire knows its way around the kitchen with duck as well. This is shown off no better than with duck poutine, made of hand cut fries, duck gravy, local cheese curds, and duck confit. The venue boasts a world class beer selection, but cocktail and wine lovers will be happy to learn that a selection of both are available as well. I’d suggest an easy seat at the bar for a solo lunch, or working your way towards a patio or fireplace, depending on the season.
Anchoring the foot of the Hilton Garden Inn Rochester Downtown is Drifters. The venue offers the standard configuration of fries, gravy, and cheese, topped with freshly cut scallions. The bonus here, though I’ve never had occasion to stay in the hotel personally, is that most of the standard menu, including this shareable option, are available on the room service menu. Poutine in bed!
Still not enough poutine? Then be sure to try these Rochester and Finger Lakes spots for more cheesy curd goodness:
Jeremiah's Tavern: Available at all three locations throughout the Rochester region.
B-Side: Find this location is the charming village of Fairport, NY.
Upstairs Bistro at the New York Wine & Culinary Center: Featured item for Saturday and Sunday brunch.
Harts Local Grocers: The cafe offers a delicious poutine of root veggie fries topped with shredded turkey, cheese curds, gravy and a fried egg.
The Exchange at Corn Hill: Get your classic poutine and then enjoy a stroll along the Genesee River.
Mark's Pizzaria: Not a fan of poutine? Then try the American style cheesy fries at any Mark's location.
This post was originally featured on the Visit Rochester blog. Visit Rochester is the official tourism promotion agency for Monroe County, with over 400 members representing, lodging, retail, restaurants, services, and community organizations.
Edit: Open Face is closing it's doors in December 2016, but leaving this one here for the memories!
PHOTO COURTESY OF OPEN FACE
By Ryan Arnold
Big, spicy flavors and fresh fare can go hand-in-hand with this One True Pairing. Hailing from Rochester’s Open Face, today’s dashing duo is composed of a salad and a bottle of soda, which may seem a little odd from the start, but this South Wedge eatery is one of my favorites so I went with it. One of the most surprising takeaways from my experience was that the food actually enhanced the beverage, rather than the expected opposite.
Open Face is unassuming and easy to miss, especially in the gray of winter. But now that spring has officially arrived, sidewalk bistro tables, flags, and a bright red scooter out front more accurately reflect the liveliness of the kitchen inside.
Owned by Jared Valentine, Open Face has an inspiring menu with tons of fresh, health-conscious options. Surprisingly, perhaps, a cornerstone of the menu is a soda called Moxie with roots that stretch back to the late 1800’s. Soda is pretty polarizing these days, Moxie is one of the few that still employs cane sugar. It’s also made with a somewhat rare Himalayan ingredient called gentian root. The root is commonly known for its very bitter flavor and its required maturity period of nearly a decade before harvest. Gentian root is also the likely source of the polarizing opinions that surround the beverage’s appeal.
I wanted to find a pairing that suited the drink’s flavor well. I opted for a salad of greens, peppered houseroasted turkey, spicy jalapeño mustard, and a parmesan wafer as garnish. At Open Face, diners can also choose from one of four housemade sides, and I opted for the ginger carrots, which are bathed in a ginger and vinegar pickling-style bath before being roasted, rendering a sharp yet surprisingly balanced flavor.
The resulting pairing was powerful. First up were the conflicting heat sources in the mustard, then umami fireworks from the vinegar and ginger, and finally the addition of a mellowing bittersweet beverage. Each bite was downright hot at times, but before climbing out of control with spice, the heat level seemed to deescalate, urging me to take another bite. This can probably be attributed to the appetite-inducing properties of the gentian root and ginger. Mind blowing, really.
Open Face is great for a quick lunch under $15, as well as take out. For those less willing to take a heat plunge, I’d suggest sandwich version of this preparation, where the bread can help alleviate some of the heat, or adding baguette chips instead of the ginger carrot side. But if big flavors aren’t your thing, try pairing Moxie with some of Open Face’s other interesting fare, it has something unique to offer to any number of flavor profiles.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANCA
By Ryan Arnold
We’ve all heard that one should not wear white after Labor Day, but sometimes old adages are just plain old fashioned. Take for example the idea that red wine and seafood are natural born enemies. Bucking tradition in that regard, I call to your attention a recent lunch I had at Rochester’s Branca in Bushnell’s Basin.
This One True Pairing is composed of shrimp with handmade cavatelli and a New York Sour. Created with specific attention to detail, the handmade pasta was served with rock shrimp, eggplant, broccoli, and a flavorful lemon butter wine sauce. Light and healthy in feel, the dish also managed to simultaneously impart a sense richness.
Barkeep Nick suggested I pair my pasta special with a drink he called the Western NY Sour, which is crafted with rye, sugar, lemon, and topped with Prodigo Nero D’Avila.
This cocktail’s incredible smoothness is credited to the presence of an egg white. A classic addition to many a Prohibition-style drink, an egg white imparts suppleness to a beverage, as well as frothiness when shaken. But the real star of the show here is the aforementioned red wine, which is added to the sour as a float, adding the bold spice and tannins of a good red wine. It’s a beautiful complement to the drink’s punchy acid and earthy rye notes. (Make one at home!)
PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANCA
The drink and pasta paired well—the lemon in the pasta sauce married the bright citrus in the cocktail, but the drink’s other components added a depth of flavor to the overall experience. While my entree was a daily special, the restaurant’s seasonal menu and well-trained barkeeps provide the opportunity for you to find your own Branca OTP.
By Ryan Arnold
[Publisher Note: The Cut (at post bottom) spent March discussing brunch spots worth heading into the city of Rochester for. So, in April, as our focus turned to foods improved through the careful application of smoke and flame, we’re taking the opportunity to look at places worth a drive outside of the city.]
SMOKE ALARM 1: SIX50
Six50’s trio of owners are still working through the struggle of an accidental fire that burned their two-year-old Chili location to the ground. Many of the employees have persevered through the tragedy, and some even commute to Victor from the west side of town. Their experience complements the new location’s all-star kitchen staff.
The theme of Six50 is “black oven cooking,” a concept that places food directly next to flame during preparation. But it might as well be “local black oven cooking”, since Six50 sources its hardwood locally, as it is not only a renewable resource, but also produces a unique flavor and burns at a very high temperature. At Six50, ingredients are also sourced locally and the entire preparation takes place in the restaurant’s open kitchen.
A few weeks ago, we spent some time at the bar for a weekday lunch. We learned quickly that regulars love the Adriano Pizza, which features a sausage and cream sauce base embellished with bacon, banana peppers, scallions, mozzarella, and asiago cheese. A few bites in and we could tell the pizza was balanced, well executed, and sized perfectly for one. The woodfired oven imparted unique smoky notes to the pie, and just enough char to be appetizing.
Whether you find yourself at the mall for the day, or are passing by the Victor exit on the NYS thruway, trust us, it’s worth the quick detour down NY-96 to watch your food move from farm to fired.
Pro tip: Check out Six50’s inventive Moscow Mule variations.
SMOKE ALARM 2: BAD TO THE BONE
If your Rochester radio station starts to fade, and the familiar divided highway drifts back to the two-lane road representing route 104 heading east from town, you’ve almost arrived at a piece of the south, up north, in Williamson, NY with local favorite, Bad to the Bone Barbecue.
You’ll find yourself pulling into an unassuming parking lot and up to a low-rise eatery, but even during the week you will likely find a small enclave of guest’s cars wedged in between mobile smokers and grills at this roadside food haven. Inside, you’ll find end to end knotty pine and a counter full of trophies, reminiscent of some of our other favorite BBQ hideaways we’ve encountered.
Owner Mack Cobb grew up in the area picking apples with the family at local farms, and in 2003, translated that work ethic and a building the family owned into Bad to the Bone.
You’ll quickly stumble onto some southern oriented favorites on this menu, particularly noted by sides such as fried okra, collard greens, and smoked green beans with ham hocks, which can be picked up a-la-carte or alongside your favorite center-plate stars. Of course, the focus at B2B is truly on a wide range of low and slow cooked meats, such as quarter and half chicken, brisket, pork, and ribs.
Meats are cooked with a hand-rubbed spice mix, which the family wouldn’t let us into the secret recipe vault on, but we were able to learn the cooking process all happens on-site, with up to 16 hours of cook time in a hardwood pit. A true sign of well-smoked barbecue is the pink smoke ring, which is evident in situations like we found in our brisket sandwich platter, though it was a bit hard to discern with a great tomato-based sauce added to top off the pile of meat, as opposed to a vinegar style you might find if you hail from the Carolinas.
Smoked meats retain this pink due to the presence of myoglobin. In high-temperature cooking, such as a grilled steak, this quickly disappears due to the heating process, and your meat loses this pigment and turns brown. However, when using an organic heating source such as wood, nitrogen dioxide becomes a byproduct and through a chemical reaction it’s absorbed into your meat and makes this color stable. Cool, huh?
Bad to the Bone offers a value-priced menu, with many platter options under ten dollars, a huge win in our book considering the generous two sides offered alongside your main choice, though there are some more expensive choices great for spreading out to share. Also worth noting, there are simple kids and seafood favorites, such as southern style chicken tenders and fried catfish to round out the menu.
SMOKE ALARM 3: FIAMMA PIZZA E VINO
PHOTO COURTESY OF FIAMMA
Rounding up smoky fare in and around Rochester, we ventured out to Fiamma Pizza e Vino on Buffalo Road in Gates, NY.
Fiamma reminds me of the occasion on which I tried to locate a late night nosh in Rome, where mealtimes run much later than they do stateside. Amazing food need not take too long, and the key to Fiamma’s pizza success is speed.
The ovens at Fiamma clock in at one thousand degrees Fahrenheit. These temps cook a pizza in just forty-five seconds, leaving little room for error. The fast and hot cooktime delivers unique texture and taste, regardless of which of the fourteen pizza varieties a guest might select.
Our winner is the Regina Margherita (pictured above), which blends San Marzano tomato sauce, Buffalo milk mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, oregano, basil, gran cru cheese, and extra virgin olive oil. We also dig the Rochester (pictured below) made of mozzarella, taleggio, thinly sliced prosciutto di parma, and a smattering of truffled oil. The precision and attention to detail in both the sourcing of ingredients and overall preparation deliver an unforgettable taste and texture experience. In addition to pizza, diners have a variety of hot and cold appetizers, pastas, and other entrees to choose from.
Pro tip: There’s a lean amount of parking at Fiamma’s easy-to-miss strip mall location, however you can generally find a spot at the adjacent Italian-American sports club.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE OWL HOUSE
By Ryan Arnold
Overall, brunch in Rochester tends to fall into one of two categories: at mom’s house or near your house. Brunch has plenty of fans, and it should. But it’s also the meal of the week when most of the suburban crowd plays it safe. By this, I mean they most often choose to dine at the brunch spot adjacent to their favorite neighborhood supermarket or church, never wandering too far—especially into the city.
While city locations serving brunch are already insanely popular, it would wise for suburban diners to take the trip and learn why. During brunch, these urban gems serving contemporary cuisine and cocktails can be enjoyed at a fraction of the cost one might spend on a similarly delicious and exciting dinner. The downtown brunch scene is accessible in under half an hour from most of the metro area, so suburban diners can expect to reach every Rochester option featured this month by traveling less than twenty miles from porch to plate.
The Owl House is a favorite. It’s charming, boasts a lovely staff, and at brunch it serves a very wide range of breakfast and lunch favorites until 3 p.m. In addition to the vegan, veg- and omnivore-friendly diversity demonstrated by finding a smoked duck and waffle sandwich (pictured above) positioned on the menu next to a tofu scramble, diners can indulge in craft cocktails like Putting Up Your Dukes, which features Joe Bean Coffee, vegan bourbon cream, and dark walnut bitters.
(Pro-tip: True to it’s name, The Owl House is located in an actual house with multiple levels, so call ahead if any of the members of your party have mobility needs).
PHOTO COURTESY OF ATLAS EATS
When we’re on the hunt for culinary adventure, Atlas Eats is the litmus test to which all other neighborhood gems are measured. Buried in the middle of a suburban residential area, this very busy bakery-turned-foodie haven actually features breakfast Thursday through Sunday, which is good to know if you’re on a flexible schedule and can squeeze into this very small eatery on a random weekday. The must-have staple is resoundingly an order of kimchee pancakes, which boast Korean fermented cabbage sandwiched between whole wheat pancakes, along with a poached egg and dragon sauce. At Atlas, there is always a slam dunk, and it’s the special-du-jour, with far-reaching options like pork belly with eggs, syrup, and apple (pictured). Coffee comes as a specially-roasted Java’s blend in a glass, globe-shaped mug. (Pro tip: If you don’t save room for a sweet finish, you’ll want to be sure to take home some bread pudding—it’s not to be missed.)
PHOTO COURTESY OF BUTAPUB
ButaPub is a great destination for groups with a range of needs. Whether you’re a foodie or someone looking for simple breakfast and lunch favorites, ButaPub is a safe and fun bet. Chef Asa Mott serves up the Pub’s standard Asian-inspired fare like Tonkatsu Ramen and Korean Chicken and Donuts, but there are plenty of mainstream offerings like Belgian Waffles and Eggs Benny. If you’re shaking off Saturday night, don’t miss the hair of the dog special which asks you to match your fave Genesee brew with a shot, just like a Tinder date.
PHOTO COURTESY OF NAPA WOOD FIRED PIZZA
Napa Wood Fired Pizza’s brunch flies under the radar, but there is rarely a better seat in the late morning or early afternoon than on the newly-renovated deck at the South Wedge location. Ideal for the value seeker, the “Wake Up Call” (pictured above) is a tasty BLT panino escorted by a generously sized 20-ounce bloody mary (or perhaps it’s the reverse). In addition to this favorite, there is also a slim, but diverse brunch menu, and as always, a litany of gluten-free options.
With twenty takes on the omelet and seven benedicts on offer (including the crab cake version I had above), The Frog Pond is a solid brunch spot. The restaurant has certainly served tens of thousands of both since opening on Park Avenue in 1975.
Frog Pond is an exception to the rule, as it serves a polished menu featuring a ton of options all the while avoiding the suburban-chain-four-colors-of-faux-syrup-and-everyone’s-just-a-number feeling inherent with most places serving menus of that size. We’re proud of their ability to keep each meal time anchored to a single page, but yet provide such a wealth of a-la-carte choices that it’s safe to bring your perpetually indecisive mother-in-law along with you. There isn’t a ton of real estate here and reservations aren’t accepted for brunch, so plan accordingly if you’re traveling with a group. Pro tip: Flying solo can quickly net you a stool at the breakfast bar sometimes.
IMAGE COURTESY OF BAD APPLES BISTRO
By Ryan Arnold
If you heard that a former downtown chef opened a fresh, inventive, and family friendly date night location which challenges the sometimes pretentious and intimidating category of fine dining, you might also be surprised to hear this location is in a low-rise strip mall on the west side of Rochester, NY. But that’s part of what makes Bad Apples Bistro in Spencerport such an unexpected gem.
A native of Spencerport, chef Christopher Kisiel returned to the area after spending a significant amount of time in hipper—but also noisier—food-focused neighborhoods around the city. With a departure from downtown to the West Side, this chef isn’t really interested in a trendy street address.
Bad Apples’ décor isn’t quite minimalist, but it does lean toward simplicity, allowing the food and drink speak to for itself. It offers romantic candlelit dining, and a vibrant, ever-changing menu.
But the truly undervalued feature at Bistro is the wine list. Bottles are available at a number of very approachable price points and there’s good representation of both local wines and those from around the world. My pick is from the chef’s reserve section, Ravines Dry Riesling. It’s well-rated and a great buy for under $40. Regulars might might feel they’ve seen this bottle anchor Bad Apples’ wine list for too long, but the entry-level purchaser will really appreciate this option.
In Order to impress like a real date night professional, you’d be well-served by ordering the tomato bisque, which isn’t on the menu, but is made in the kitchen daily. Another of my favorite dishes includes the braised lamb shank, which is a two-pound, bone-in delicacy. Bad Apples’ menu is focused and seasonally driven. This is what happens when a decisive and experienced chef is in charge, so sit back and enjoy the ride.
Ryan’s Date Night Scorecard
Mood: Casual Upscale, Romantic, Okay for Kids
Ideal For: Young Lovers, Timeless Romance, Small Family Dinner, Lunch Date
Budget- Mid-range, with options for both Inexpensive or pricier meals
PHOTO OF LENTO’S POUTINE COURTESY OF OUR FRIEND, LINH PHILLIPS OF SIRROCHASAYS
By Ryan Arnold
[ Publisher Note: As February began, The Cut was in the mood for a little romance. In the interest of sharing some of our favorite locations for hot dates, my first pick was Rochester’s Lento.]
“You never take me anywhere,” Jenny, my wife, playfully jokes with me as I kick back after work for a few minutes, taking in the comforts of my couch, scrolling through Instagram.
To her credit, she’s an awesome mom to our daughter, and while she’s not entirely correct, I do enjoy the benefit of visiting few more of Rochester’s locally owned restaurants than she does under the guise of “work”.
So when she suggested that Grandma babysit for a few hours on New Year’s Eve, I knew we had to visit one of Rochester’s go-to restaurants, the warm, inviting confines of Lento in the Village Gate. In a world where the term ‘farm-to-table’ is overused, I was excited to try Lento, reputed for its local ethos, but also a haven of big city talent and charm, quarterbacked by 2015 James Beard Awards nominee, chef and owner Art Rogers.
We were impressed with the restaurant’s atmosphere and attentive service. Our server, Beau, was everything you’d expect from waitstaff at a fine dining establishment. Upon learning it was our first time to the restaurant, he walked us through the menu, offered a few suggestions, and told us about Lento and its commitment to using produce sourced within fifty miles whenever possible. Lento also has a pretty remarkable raw bar that uses very intentional sourcing too, no purchasing from commercial fisheries is allowed.
Dinner was bookended with lovely wine and cocktail offerings. My wife opted for a bubbly holiday cocktail while I enjoyed the more potent Smoking Cowboy, a blend of High West Double Rye Whiskey, Casamigos Tequila, mezcal, lime zest, and bitters—both Peychaud’s and molasses.
PHOTO COURTESY OF LENTO
Our meal began with a platter of local cheese that also featured freshly-baked fruit bread, which, served warm complemented each of the cheese selections. Whether you opt for cheese or pass, each table is served a basket of fresh, local bread with seasoned oil.
Jenny dubbed her entree of roasted wild Coho salmon with roasted romanesco, wild rice, and maple rosemary buerre blanc “Christmas in your mouth.” The flavor of my smoky cocktail was the perfect match with an order of stuffed cannelloni. Simply prepared, the dish featured rappini, black trumpet mushrooms, tomato sauce, and Provolone Stravecchio.
If you’re on more of a cocktails and snacks adventure, I recommend the poutine made with fresh cut duck fat fries (pictured above).
It’s not a date night dinner without a dessert to share, and we selected the Caramel Apple Mousse. The portion allowed each of us to enjoy a bit of sweetness while still saving room for the ultimate goal of having a few more cocktails to ring in the new year.
Over my lifetime, the Village Gate has slowly revitalized the Neighborhood of the Arts. What used to be a purely industrial zone—occupying the same space an old printing company did prior to it’s sale in 1982—the building now houses some of the area’s most prolific local artists, who open their doors to the public on a monthly basis. If you visit Lento, or one of the other great options within just a few steps, be sure to end your night with a truly unique cocktail experience. Wander across the walkway to Nox, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary. We stopped by before finding a safe ride home, and it was the perfect way to christen our year of food and drink adventures.
Ryan’s Date Night Scorecard
Mood: Romantic, Upscale, Impress the folks, Rustic and fresh
Ideal For: Happily married, Business dinner, Cocktails with a group, Quiet meal at the bar
Budget: Mid-upper range, Dinner for two under $100
PHOTO COURTESY OF LABEL 7
By Ryan Arnold
Word of Label 7, located just outside Rochester, NY, has traveled among local circles and beyond since its opening in 2008. Self-described as a Napa-style restaurant, Label 7 applies California’s approach to simple, fresh, and healthy cuisine to the fare served at its canalside eatery.
Label 7 takes inspiration from the ingredients native to the thirty-eighth parallel, common to the culinary and grape-growing regions of Sicily, Napa, Virginia, and Athens, and combines them in a compelling manner.
As we looked for Fit as a Fiddle dishes this month, Label 7’s Magenta Greens came to mind. A combination of mixed greens, sweet and spicy pickled onion, chévre, toasted almonds, grapefruit, and pomegranate, this salad dish can be made heartier with the addition of a Faroe Island Salmon fillet or free range, antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken.
Label 7 sources an abundance of its ingredients locally, and because of this, the menu changes several times per year. The fresher food is, the more nutrient and vitamin rich it is, so a meal at Label 7 puts you ahead of the game, no matter what you order.
Stay tuned to The Cut this month to catch the rest of our Fit as a Fiddle series, featuring #healthyish dishes from independent, local restaurants across the country.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CURE
By Ryan Arnold
If you ask Rochester’s foodie crowd for pro tips, you’ll likely end up at Cure. Located on the edge of the Rochester Public Market, this quirky and quaint eatery is one of the local restaurant scene’s brightest spots. For those who may not know, Cure is the smaller, more intimate restaurant belonging to Dan Martello and Chuck Cerankosky. The team’s portfolio also includes the wildly popular Restaurant Good Luck.
While Cure’s everyday menu of fresh, classic bistro and brasserie items never fail to please, each Thursday the restaurant offers its Menu du Voyageur, or Menu of the Traveler. Chef James Revels uses the opportunity to deliver an array of surprising, themed preparations. For example, this month has included entire menus dedicated to les oignons (onions) and le beurre (butter). Sometimes these weekly menus also focus on regions, like Loire, or other subjects, like last year’s Escoffier-theme.
[Publisher's Note: In December, 2015, The Cut (below) sized up healthy dishes from locally owned restaurants across the country, and Cure’s December cauliflower menu certainly caught our eye.]
In addition to a starring role in dishes featuring monkfish and chicken, the brassica gave a proud performance on its own, as a salad made with thin slices of red onion, pine nuts, capers, and fresh lemon, or, for those less inclined to cauliflower in its natural state, as a roti served with sweet peppers, arugula, parmesan reggiano, and balsamic.
Brought to you by the cooking temperature known as BROIL, cauliflower has made a major comeback, particularly in whole roasted form. Formerly found overcooked and dressed in orange cheese sauce or languishing on a crudité at your family holiday get together, today cauliflower is widely seen as a trendy, versatile vegetable. It’s also packed with vitamin C. We think vegetable-focused menus are an ideal way to explore the versatility of the vegetable world, so we love that Cure spent December celebrating cauliflower. Even if you don’t eat well all the time, remember that eating more produce every day is a sure and simple route to a healthier diet.
Join this beautiful, eclectic little eatery for one of its upcoming Thursday night dinners, and be sure to leave room before or after to enjoy a drink at its impeccable little cocktail bar.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF EFFORTLESSLY HEALTHY
By Ryan Arnold
When thinking about fitness, Rochester’s famed Garbage Plate probably doesn’t come to mind. For those unaware, this delicacy—frequently served in a Styrofoam to-go container alongside some slices of questionable white bread—might sound like a vast departure from today’s healthy food trends.
But Shaina Sidoti, owner of Effortlessly Healthy, has a different take. She’s crafted a healthier version of Flour City’s favorite indulgence and has a range of options available. Whether it’s served from the window of the EH food truck, delivered to your door, or grabbed on the go from EH’s newly opened storefront, guests are bound to revisit this local favorite offering a fresh, never frozen, twist.
Sidoti began her business with meal delivery, but despite EH’s many outlets and offerings, today all roads lead to her signature item, The Healthy Trash Plate. Made with a base of sweet potatoes and a healthy coleslaw, the toppings are selected by the guest based on their personal preferences.
It’s easy to start with a sound base like sweet potatoes, but some might take a step backward by covering their plate in not-quite-so-healthy items (here’s looking at you, side salad with buttermilk ranch dressing) so here’s some advice from a seasoned consumer of EH’s healthy trash plate:
(Learn more about the garbage plate, a regional food favorite, from our friends at Huffington Post.)