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Raw bar The Vesper opens in former Nikko space 

When Joe Frocchi and Eric Aubriot set out to open their new restaurant, The Vesper (1 Capron Street), they wanted to find a way to create elevated food, but still keep it fun. Aubriot, a James Beard Rising Star Award nominee, moved to Rochester after running his own restaurant, also named Aubriot, in Chicago. Frocchi has worked in the Rochester food scene for years, including behind the bars at Tap and Table and West Edge.

The Vesper is a gastropub and raw bar. According to Frocchi, you should feel as comfortable going there for date night as you would stopping in for a Genny and some chicken wings. Mild renovations were done to the space, which once housed Nikko, to warm things up — including a new bar top and eclectic decorations on the exposed-brick walls.

Selections from the raw bar include oysters on the half shell (sold at market price) and ceviche served with corn and plantain chips ($10). If you're feeling extra fancy, The Trust Fund ($48) is a Vesper martini, two oysters, two shrimp, ceviche, a half an ounce of caviar, and stuffed olives.

The restaurant's main courses run the gamut, from a bone marrow crusted 8-ounce filet ($29) to a classic American burger ($13). The Vesper Burger ($15) comes with seared foie gras, caramelized onions, and garlic mayo. Vegetarians will find corn fritters ($7) served with a garlic chili sauce, or the endive salad ($9) combining pear, frisee lettuce, goat cheese, and a port wine vinaigrette.

The cocktail menu's focus is on the classics, like the Tom Collins, the Sidecar, the Dark and Stormy. The Vesper ($10) is a take on the classic martini, using Ketel One, Plymouth, Lillet Blanc, and a lemon twist — shaken, not stirred. (Fun fact: The Vesper is James Bond's iconic martini, named after Vesper Lynd, 007's partner in "Casino Royale.")

The Vesper will start serving lunch the second week in October with some carryover from the dinner menu but with mid-day options added.

The Vesper is located at 1 Capron Street, and is open Monday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. 415-2946; rocthevesper.com.

Quick bites

The Owl House (75 Marshall Street) will host an Italian Wine Dinner on Monday, October 17, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Chef Nate Stahl will create a special menu to pair with five classic wines from Frederick Wildman Imports. The dinner is $65 per person (not including tax or gratuity), and reservations can be made by calling 360-2920 or at owlhouserochester.com. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options can be available with two days' notice.

Joe Bean Coffee Roasters (1344 University Avenue) will hold a Root Stock Cider tasting on Friday, October 7, as part of Cider Week FLX. Root Stock will be providing samples from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Joe Bean's kitchen will also be open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Friends in Good Taste will take place on Saturday, October 15, at Lovin' Cup Bistro and Brews (300 Park Point Drive) from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event is presented by Friends of Strong and will feature beer and food pairing stations, live music by Alphonso Williams, and a silent auction. Tickets are $30 and all proceeds will benefit patient care. More information can be found at event.urmc.edu/smhbeer or 275-2420.

Openings

Tryon City Tavern has opened at 2300 East Main Street.

Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to food@rochester-citynews.com.

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