In the February issue of Rochester Magazine, we get the annual rundown of the tastiest dishes and drinks, as well as the best culinary talent in the area.
But as you make plans to check the various restaurants off your list, what do you order when you get there? Well, that’s why I’m here. Here are my picks at some of Rochester’s “best.”
Best Brewery: Forager Brewing Company
In my opinion, Forager‘s best brew is its namesake, the Forager IPA. Orange zest and pine pair up with a dry hopped bitterness that’s perfectly balanced. Their Sherpa’s Survival Kit is a very coffee-forward stout, and I’m also a fan of the Starry-eyed Blond, which is a Belgian-style blond ale.
If you’re also planning to eat, don’t miss Chef Jordan Bell’s Cuban sandwich, pan roasted Cornish hen, beer chili or cast iron mac and cheese made with gouda, cheddar and kimchi — plus you can add house smoked bacon and hot sauce, which you should absolutely do.
Best Restaurant Worth The Drive: Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery
I’ll say it again: go for the food, stay for the wine. Chef Erik Kleven is as much a wizard in the kitchen as winemaker Justin Osborne is with Minnesota grapes, and both are worth the drive.
Chef Kleven’s menu changes daily, but if you’re lucky, you’ll get to taste the duck potstickers, oven-roasted cod, maple barbecue shredded pork lettuce wraps or the seabass tacos, served with chimichurri, red bell pepper salad, pico de gallo and black beans.
Best New Restaurant: Terza
If you’re among those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of dining at Terza, you need to remedy that immediately. I first suggest the pizza, which tastes like you’re eating outdoors in an Italian piazza on a midsummer’s day. Wood-fired, hand-stretched crust, fresh tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella, and that’s all I need most of the time.
If pizza’s not your thing, try one of Chef Vincenzo Giordano’s fresh pasta dishes, including wild mushroom tagliatelle, butternut squash mezzaluna or cheese-filled ravioli. And just so you know, Terza can get as fancy as the occasion calls for, but they have plenty of dishes for reasonable prices, including a “10 for $10” lunch menu that’s perfect for your first time there.
Best Bread: Great Harvest
My pre-teen daughter loves running into Great Harvest while I wait with my littler kids in the car. It gives her a measure of independence, and she loves chatting with the employees and, of course, getting a free slice of bread. “They’re SO NICE mom,” she says. “Every single time I go in there!” I know what she means.
Our favorites at Great Harvest are the good old honey whole wheat and challah, and for a treat, the white or wheat cinnamon chip or if we get there on Wednesdays, the cinnamon supreme. I love their cookies and scones, too.
Best Coffee: Bravo Espresso
What fun that this small, locally owned shop got a shout-out. Grab some chocolate-covered espresso beans with your cappuccino or Americano, which will be crafted by talented and knowledgeable staff.