Saturday, September 25, 2010

Restaurant Review: Next Door Bar and Grill

This green is the "signature" color!
I don't know what it is, but when I make up our grocery list every week (and menu), I just can't come up with seven dinners. Six, no problem. Seven, impossible! That was the case this week, so we went out last night. Instead of sushi, our hands-down favorite, we tried The Next Door Bar and Grill. For non-Rochester readers, NDBG is owned by a local grocery store chain. Doesn't that sound dismal? Well, Wegmans is not like any other grocery store you have ever been in, believe me. The Pittsford Weggies (dubbed "Taj MaWeggies" by our friend Sherri) is actually a tourist destination! You can read Yelp reviews about it here.

So last night we headed over to the Next Door. Right off the bat I loved the place because they have complimentary valet parking. The two young men were wearing apple-green polo shirts that exactly matched the sign. Nice -- I always wonder about a place when the valet help looks like they might steal your car. The boys were fresh faced and very welcoming.

When you walk in, you are greeted by floor to ceiling shelves with green apples, I assume Granny Smiths. They were very novel looking, but I had a hard time getting a decent picture so you will just have to let your imagination do the work.

The restaurant is very noisy in a clattery, bar room kind of way. Walking in I could hear J say, "oh, noisy!" so I asked the receptionist if they had a quiet table. She took us in to a side room that was quieter, although not really quiet, if you know what I mean.

 Our waiter asked if we would like a drink while we looked over the menu. I asked for a Cabernet, and she suggested a Spanish wine that they were featuring: Payra Tempanillow 2008. It was lovely -- fruit forward but full bodied. I got the name and am hoping to find some locally.

Bibb Salad
The menu was very creative. There were  two pages of sushi offerings -- which looked nice but the reason we were there rather than at our favorite sushi joint was because I wanted something different. We both ordered a bib lettuce salad, which had thinly slice radishes, asparagus, applewood smoked bacon, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and what they called a herb vinaigrette. The dressing was very lemony, not in a bad way, but very strong tasting. They used a very light hand putting on the dressing, which is to our liking.

J's Mixed Robata Grill. 
J ordered the Robata Grill mix, which was little skewers with pork, chicken, beef, eggplant, and asparagus. It was a beautiful dish, but I don't know that she would order it again. One of the meats (I thought it was the beef, she thought it was the pork) was about half fat. Now, I like my fat as much as the next girl, but Miss J is not a fan.

I ordered the salmon, which came with a very novel slaw. The slaw was made of a little grated red cabbage, arugala, sea weed, and cilantro leaves, dressed with a sesame dressing. I think it needed a little more salt, but it was really interesting. I never thought to put wakame in a slaw. Or cilantro either. I think this slaw would be great on my fish tacos and will try it next time.

Grilled salmon with slaw and wontons
The salmon was served with a ginger vinegar dipping sauce and two fried wontons filled with minced salmon dressed with mayonnaise. The wontons were my least favorite part of the dish -- they were really thick, more like an old school fried pie than a thin delicate crispy wonton. I am a girl who never met a dumpling that she didn't like, but from now on when I say that I am going to add , "Except for some salmon filled fried wontons I had once."

Almond apple cake and snickerdoodle icecream
We didn't order an appetizer, so we had room for dessert. The dessert menu had a number of interesting things, including a creme brulee sampler with three different creme brulees. But we decided to share the almond apple cake, served with a scoop of snickerdoodle ice cream. This picture is really washed out because my phone was having a hard time capturing the ice cream on a white plate. But the ice cream was wonderful! I make apple pie with cinnamon ice cream for Thanksgiving frequently. (Not frequently enough for my daughter!). This dessert reminded me of that. The apple cake was very thin slices of apple, that had been stacked in a ramekin, and then a batter poured into it. It kind of made me think of a cobbler. The ice cream was on some pulverized sugary crumbs, and was the best part of the dish.

Bathroom sink
The restaurant was beautiful, including the bathrooms. Well, I can't really speak for the men's room. But the ladies' was lovely. The sink, which took up one entire wall, was made of a piece of heavy glass that was attached at a 45 degree angle from the wall. The water came out of a spigot that looked like a metal version of a Japanese water garden spigot. The water turned on automatically when you stepped up to the sink, and miracle of miracles, the water was warm! I hate cold water in bathrooms. This isn't a good picture, but maybe you get the idea.

Log decorations. Go figure!
Outside the bathroom was a wall decorated with hanging logs. Yes. Hanging logs. I know that sounds weird. It looked kind of weird too! But it must have been economical and definitely was thinking outside of the box!

I don't know if I will get J to go back. She tends to like to try new things rather than go back to a place. And I had the better meal of the two of us. But I would go back. I  thought the Next Door Bar and Grill was lovely and recommend it to you!

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