There's something kind of sexy about descending into a restaurant without windows; time just seems to stop, and you could be anywhere in the world. So if you find yourself at the East End's newest eatery, Victoire, order one of the eight beautifully presented preparations of moules et frites (a/k/a mussels and fries) ranging from classic Marinières to a Thai take, and then spend some time with an informative list of beers that might have you believing you're on vacation in Belgium.
Victoire, which opened at the end of last month in the Rochester Club Centre, bills itself as a Belgian beer bar, and everything — from the warm wood interior to the lower-level outdoor seating to the soccer on TV to Chef Ryan Dalton's food offerings — supports that claim. Sure, you can get a salad or a burger, but the menu's true stand-outs are classic Belgian dishes like Flemish onion soup, duck-fat fries, as well as the hearty beef-and-beer stew known as carbonnade. And while fans of the brewing arts will likely be impressed with the beer program, those who don't know their Dubbels from their Tripels can find all the guidance they could want in Victoire's enlightening beer menu.
Victoire is located at 120 East Ave. It is open daily 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Food prices range from $5 to $21. For more information, call 325-3663.
With the downtown skyline sparkling to the north and the Ford Street Bridge spanning the Genesee to the south, the view from the river side of Corn Hill Landing is positively stunning. Chef John Green is enjoying this panorama from the Tap & Table patio while he can. In the very near future, Tap & Table should be in full swing, putting Green at the head of a kitchen that serves lunch six days a week and dinner all seven. But after six-plus years as executive chef at the RIT Inn & Conference Center, Green is used to feeding a crowd, and he's ready to go: "It isn't just what I do; it's who I am."
Tap & Table is the latest venture from Joe McBane and Casey Walpert, partners in the South Wedge's Tap & Mallet. The new restaurant — it's in the site that once housed Virtu — is a handsome, multi-level space anchored by a sprawling 60-foot teak bar that will feature an epic beer selection in the Tap & Mallet tradition, as well as craft cocktails. And Green reports that the menu is "nothing too fancy; just American comfort food, with a little pub fare."
Much of Green's time leading up to Tap & Table's debut has been spent seeking out the best suppliers of local and sustainable ingredients for an ever-evolving menu that he says will reflect the abundance of any given season. His flatbread pizza, for instance, will initially be topped with braised fennel, blackberries, blueberries, and herbed goat cheese. The 100 percent grass-fed burger hails from Lima's Seven Bridges Farm and is served with roasted garlic aïoli and mizuna greens on toasted brioche. Hoping to use a fork? Try the seared pork belly with a bok choy and shiitake stir fry (maybe with a side of grilled leek and mascarpone risotto). And watch for Tap & Mallet's luscious Scotch Ale crème brûlée to cross the river; you're gonna need a spoon, too.
Tap & Table is located at 284 Exchange Blvd. The kitchen is open Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; and Sunday 4-10 p.m. Bar stays open until 2 a.m. Food prices range from $9 to $29. For more information, including details on the official opening date, call 319-3388 or visit thetapandtable.com.
The newly launched Artists & Artisans series at the Canandaigua outpost of Simply Crêpes is devoting the third Thursday of the next few months to the cheesemakers of the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail. As part of "Meet the Cheesemakers," artisans like King Ferry's Keeley's Cheese Co. (July 19) and Interlaken's Lively Run Goat Dairy (August 16) will present their products, discuss the cheesemaking process, and demonstrate how to serve, taste and cook with their cheeses. Admission is $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Call 394-9090 for tickets.
The Little's popular program Food & Flicks returns Tuesday, July 17, with a feast of Italian favorites inspired by Woody Allen's latest film, "To Rome With Love." Starring in the buffet-style meal are chicken and eggplant parmesan, with cannoli and espresso providing the happily-ever-after. Tickets, which include dinner and admission to the film, are $25 each; call 258-0400 x404 to make reservations.
Now that you've recovered from the recent Roc City Rib Fest, head on over to Highland Park for the food and music of The Big Rib BBQ and Blues Fest, going down Thursday, July 12, through Sunday, July 15, and celebrating two tasty American institutions. Admission is free before 3 p.m. and for the 12-and-under set; otherwise tickets run between $5 and $10. Get 'em online at rochesterevents.com or call 888-512-SHOW.
Lunch at 89 State St. has closed just shy of its first birthday.
Coffee Connection, a non-profit organization that sells fair-trade, organic coffee and provides jobs for women in recovery from addiction or trying to escape poverty, has taken over the Greenhouse Café at 2271 E. Main St. For more information, visit ourcoffeeconnection.org or call 902-3384.
MacGregor's Grill & Tap Room recently opened its fifth location in the former home of Anchor Bar, 355-359 East Ave. Visit macgregorsgrillandtaproom.net for further details, or call 413-3744.
Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.