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