Culture » Restaurant News

Chow Hound: What's happening in Rochester's dining scene




A beloved Thai and Vietnamese mainstay since 1984, Mamasan’s Noodle Caboodle has moved to what the owners are calling its ‘permanent home’ at 1400 Mt. Hope Blvd. in College Town. The menu features spring rolls, dumplings, rice and noodle dishes in all of the lemongrass, pineapple, basil, sesame, tamarind and other dreamy flavors, and dishes can be made spiced to your liking and come with meat, vegetarian, or vegan. 461-3290,

For some Syrian comfort food, head to Jasmine Restaurant & Cafe, now open at 1761 Mt. Hope Ave. Menu highlights include falafel, kabobs, fresh salads, and pitas with veggie and meat fillings such as chicken shawarma, gyro, and salmon. They also offer baklava and fresh juice, as well as halal options. Jasmine has seating inside and on its patio, and its hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. 319-3534,

B + Healthy Fresh Food Market has added a third location to its existing two (at 1508 Dewey Ave. and 442 Genesee St.) in the Temple Building at 14 Franklin St. All locations offer a menu of fresh fruit smoothies and juices ($6-$8) — some with greens, ginger, and other health-minded ingredients — as well as a variety of veggie wraps ($5-$7) to grab and go. Open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. 644-9639,

Just about a 15-minute drive south from Henrietta is The Normal BBQ & Drinks, at 1887 Rochester St. in Lima. Owner-chef Adam Peterson nods to his Scandinavian roots with elements such as the lingonberries he incorporates into his house made BBQ sauce, specialty margarita, and even the lemon-buttermilk pie. The website and menus have a fun, retro sci-fi vibe and feature pulled pork, brisket, and chipotle-lime sausage sandwiches on brioche rolls, wings, dry-rubbed ribs, and vegetarian fare. Picnic-like sides include German potato salad, slaw, and the like. Beer, wine, and an assortment of cosmic-themed cocktails round things out. The Normal is open from 3 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, and from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The Buffalo-area business Bar-Bill Tavern opened a Rochester location in early July at 1129 Empire Blvd. Styled Bar-Bill East, the Roc location offers chicken wings with dozens of sauce options, beef-on-weck, and pizza, beers, wine and signature cocktails. It’s open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, but closed Tuesdays.
Blitz Bar Room opened in early July at 6720 Pittsford Palmyra Road in Fairport at Perinton Square Mall. It offers standard bar fare of wings, quesadillas, burgers, soups, salads, and wraps, and has outdoor seating. Hours are 3 p.m. to midnight on Monday through Thursday, and noon to midnight on Friday through Sunday. 364-0393,

The dining options in and around the Rochester Public Market have expanded once more. Flour City Bread Co.’s anticipated restaurant, Public Provisions, opened at 45 Rochester Public Market in late June, and offers a full-service casual gourmet menu of burgers, sandwiches using breads from its bakery, and a full entree menu featuring savory salads and bowls, vegetarian bibimbap, pork tenderloin and short rib steak. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. 504-4617,


Laughing Gull Chocolates has developed a bar from a delicate variety of chocolate tree that historically wasn’t considered as commercially viable as hardier varieties, but is emerging in the craft chocolate world. Based in Latin America, only a handful of these pataxte (pa-TASH-tay) trees are in cultivation. Also known as jaguar cacao, the beans are used to make a nutty-floral flavored bar that’s light in color, even at 80% cacao. Laughing Gull works directly with growers to source beans that it has processed into small squares of Jaguar Chocolates, which are available at the shop now.

After more than six decades in business, Grinnell’s Restaurant closed in late July. The Brighton eatery was established by brothers Fred and Al Grinnell and remained in the family until now, most currently owned by the founders’ cousin, David Grinnell, and run by his son Matt. Another restaurant is soon to follow in its place — Richard Reddington (Redd) and Marty O’Sullivan (Marty’s Meats) are taking over the building at 1696 Monroe Ave.

Rebecca Rafferty is an arts writer for CITY. She can be reached at [email protected].