Think you’ve been to all the new restaurants in Rochester?
Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, Papaya Bay, Five West, Casablanca, La Vetta, Blind Pig…
(cue record scratch)
Oh wait. You’ve never been to Blind Pig? That’s because up until a few weeks ago, it was an actual secret, but now it’s out: The Blind Pig is a new “occasional restaurant” in the basement of Grand Rounds Brewpub where Chef Alex Sjoberg and his culinary team can try out different recipes, combinations, and experiments on a willing audience — usually using lots of seasonal and locally produced ingredients.
The Blind Pig is typically open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, but not always — it’s closed when the space is used for private events, for example. Psst: This week, they’re open all three nights (that means starting tonight!). Hours are from 6 to 10 p.m.
But if there’s no official entrance and no sign, how do you get in?
This is the fun part: Walk up to the host stand and say “Blind Pig.” And exactly like a magic password, the host will lead you to the “secret speakeasy” for your dinner. Fun!
If a secret location and unknown menu aren’t your bag, you’ll find plenty to love upstairs at Grand Rounds, too. In addition to Brewmaster Steve Finnie’s always excellent brews, Sjoberg’s fall menu recently debuted with lots of cool-weather flavors.
Check out the pan-seared Brussels sprouts with pancetta and maple syrup glaze for a starter. If you’re in the mood for a sandwich, the “Too hot to handle” burger is topped with jalapeno and habanero peppers with pepper jack cheese; or for a vegetarian option, check out the portabella mushroom sandwich with mozzarella, bell peppers, and onions. For a heartier meal, order the new grilled pork chop with confit sweet potatoes, market vegetables, and apple butter.
Just this week, Grand Rounds started a happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. During those hours, Grand Rounds tap beers are just $3 a pint, and appetizers are $2 off.
Don’t forget to pick up some beer on your way out, which is sold in 64-ounce glass growlers, or their new, smaller “crowlers” — 26 oz. cans that are sealed up and ready to go. Finnie’s newest brew from last week is called Mosaic Double IPA, which is similar to their popular Nelson IPA but brewed with mosaic hops for a fruitier aroma.
Grand Rounds is at 4 Third St. SW in downtown Rochester.
More menu updates
I know Grand Rounds isn’t the only shop in town updating their menu for fall (or for fun). A couple weeks ago, The Lost Cajun introduced several new menu items, including a Cajun alfredo with penne pasta with Cajun-spiced alfredo sauce — add chicken or shrimp for extra deliciousness and protein.
Catfish lovers will be excited to see blackened catfish as a new item on the Lost Cajun menu as well — tender, sweet-water catfish fillets dredged in Cajun seasonings and seared, then served over a bed of rice and blackened vegetables.
Finally, don’t miss the boudin balls, a unique pork, rice, vegetable mixture, seasoned and formed into a ball, then lightly battered and fried. These are served with Cajun honey mustard for dipping.
It’s been killing me to see Salute Wine Bar and More teasing their upcoming menu changes lately. First, they introduced a brand-new menu of specialty cocktails for fall, including a maple bourbon sour, as well as a pumpkin pie martini. Then my mouth really started watering when they offered a glimpse of a new menu item: a mouth-watering plate of Burrata mozzarella cheese, oven-roasted tomatoes on the vine, almond pesto and baguette slices.
I’ll have more details here when they unveil the new menu.