For a while there, the notion of good luck seemed everywhere. Edible Finger Lakes even took it up. Yep. by good luck in this context I mean the restaurant in Rochester called Good Luck Restaurant. We visited it recently, and while it was good luck to get a reservation on very short notice, and we had an adventure, there were unlucky (aka aspects we were critical of) aspects of the night. A great place to visit, but well, that's partly because this is upstate NY.
What did we drink? Well, first of all they brought a nice bottle of water (unlabeled and presumably tap?) to our table. Why do I say nice? Well, it was not too cold, and it was in an attractive (clearly reuseable) bottle which had a sort of old fashioned feel. Then, eventually, we ordered -- in my case a "Black Cat Iced Tea" which involved earl gray tea and some liquor. It was good and I actually stuck with it throughout the meal, ordering two. (Not moving to wine was a mistake, alas.) Also tried at the table: a merlot.They do, by the way, have a nice list of beers; the phrase "hoptical illusion" made me smile.
What did we eat? Well, our waitress (see service notes below) started us with "Have you been here before?" And she followed common opening with something less common: "well, you better like each other a lot because we serve for sharing." Rude at best. After that somewhat off-putting start, we ordered a small charcuterie plate, which is a large part of the reason we had come to Good Luck. (Yes, we love charcuterie.) Advertised as coming with pickles and vegetables, the plate had two sliced cheeses, two meats sliced thinly, and a bowl of assorted olives. One cheese was a manchego, the other a local macadam. The two meats -- one was a soppressata and the other, we learned from our server's response to repeated queries, was a pork based meat with peppers in it. (I admit I love pork; I found the texture of this unattractive, though in discussion it might be because I often do not like really fine grained meats.) We also inquired why no pickles. Turns out the chef chooses to give you either olives or pickles. In any case, the olives were swell, I liked the soppressata -- and it went well with our drinks.And, I should have read the menu (also our placemat) which did say it was a chef's selection of various items.
To follow, we ordered a carrot salad that had immediately interested us as well as a rack of lamb. The salad was described as "with shaved fennel, candied hazelnuts, and orange blossom honey vinaigrette." It came as 6 or so whole barely blanched carrots with the listed accoutrements beautifully interleaved. This was really really good, a sort of take on a moroccan carrot salad. We did debate the oraneg flower (one for, one against), but we both really really really liked this. The herb crusted rack of lamb with tagine of chickpeas was also good. We each had two chops (cut as one), and tomato/chickpea side encouraged a discussion of what exactly fresh chickpeas might be. The lamb, cooked perfectly, came atop a sauteed green, probably a red chard.
Yes, we had dessert. In
fact, we had two. One was a fruit bowl, which came with two little
bowls, one of cinnamon sugar (which we did not use) and one with basil
syrup in it which we definitely (most definitely) used. The syrup was
the best part of this dessert, not too cloying and quite basil-y. The
fruit itself was a great idea, but served (alas) cold and the apricot
was nowhere near ripe. The grapes, blueberries and cherries were swell.
And the idea of the presentation was lovely. Tuned up, this would be a
nice dessert. We also had a tart which was served in a quite large
piece. The second dessert, which came as a fairly large slice, but was
lighter than it looked and thus wonderful, was called "Blueberry Almond
Butter Cake." The redundancy, which was not an error, probably explains
its wonderfulness. I especially liked the crust, with a tiny bit of the
basil syrup on it. . .
Service? As the notes with regard to the charcuterie plate indicate, our server left something to be desired. She simply could not answer questions -- or did so only after asking several versions of the same questions. It might now have been entirely her fault, since it is possible they are simply not training them to know enough about the food they are serving. For example, in asking about the herbs in teh vinaigrette on the carrot salad, we asked "what is in this?" And we got the answer "herbs." So we had to ask "can you find out what kind this is?" Yes, she was good enough to ask and it was a form of red basil. (very tasty by the way.
Ambiance and setting? Well, the building is near-ish and/or part of Village Gate in Rochester, which is nice. The interior is exposed brick with high ceilings, and it is quite roomy. If there were something to fix: it is noisy. There is nothing to cut the sounds or absorb them. And the mix of chairs, which seems to be everywhere trying to announce their hipness, wasn't really hip. But, having said all this, I liked the setting. The trees out the window were really dandy and the whole made me feel I had left upstate NY.
Bathroom Review: The anonymous bathroom reviewer said, when she returned, you hav e to see the chef's tarles and cooking area, so off I went, with the excuse I wanted the bathroom. And yes, teh bathroom rates a review -- it has lovely small black and white tile, hand mirrors hung along one wall, nice wood doors, and . . . is nice. It could, like many things, use a bit of editing. On the other hand, the hallway to the bathroom had gvreat album art, including a very old Ike and Tina Turner album cover and a Nina Simone cover.
How much did we spend? With the cost of drinks, $120. Without, $70, Yes, it felt a tad over priced.
Quibbles: well, most of these appear above. Mainly, teach your staff to know what you are doing more fully -- and edit your food to strengthen it. Do not serve cold fruit bowls with unripe apricots. And, yes, keep that Black Cat Iced Tea on the cocktails list.
For other reviews of Good Luck, try here. Or keep your eye on Urban Spoon!
Where is it and how do you reach them?
50 Anderson Avenue, Rochester