There has been a collaborative trend in Rochester restaurants over recent years with restaurant owners partnering on events and sourcing products from each other. Unter Biergarten (120 East Avenue), which held its grand opening last Thursday, is no exception. Chef and owner Derrick DePorter has created a menu of what he calls "Bavarican" cuisine — a combination of Bavarian and American fare — for his new restaurant and beer garden that has replaced Victoire on East Avenue.
DePorter was the original chef at The Revelry and brings his experience of melding different types of cuisine there to Unter Biergarten, where they are "using German techniques and ingredients and putting a New American twist on it," he says. The menu is built of small plates, large plates meant for sharing, and Wurst (sausage) that is currently sourced from Swan Market. Also on the menu is a charcuterie board with meats provided by McCann's.
DePorter plans on adding a smoker to the kitchen over the summer and will eventually start to make sausage in-house. He's done a thoughtful job in blending classic Bavarian dishes with more experimental dishes like the House Terrine ($14) and duck pastrami. The types of terrine showcased on the menu will change regularly and the duck pastrami is featured in two dishes on the menu. The Loaded Bavarian Tots ($10), tater tots covered in duck pastrami, beer cheese, and scallions. The duck pastrami is also featured in a sandwich, served on rye bread with apple slaw, Swiss cheese, and root beer molasses mustard, and paired with beef fat fries on the side ($14). Each day of the week will have a different special as well — for example, Mondays will feature different types of wings and Thursdays are dollar oyster days.
The restaurant serves lunch and dinner six nights a week, and Sundays are strictly for brunch. The brunch menu features salmon bacon (smoked and cured) served on an everything bagel with a schmear of cream cheese, capers, pickled red onion, and beets ($10). The Belgian waffle ($14) is made with a coffee-infused batter, and served with vanilla Chantilly cream, espresso powder, and local maple syrup.
The theme of sharing doesn't just apply to the menu items — the tables in the front room and (eventually) on the patio are communal, for that authentic beer hall feel. "It's a real family mentality we have here and an atmosphere we are trying to create," DePorter says. That extends to ownership as well, as DePorter owns the restaurant with his father, Al, who has run the Water Side Wine Bar in Phelps for the past ten years.
The beer program, overseen by Bar Manager Drew Pearman, consists of 24 taps, four of which will always be dedicated to German-style beers — Paulaner, Bitburger, Spaten, and Gaffel Kölsch. The other draft lines are dedicated to American craft beers, including local breweries such as Swiftwater. The German-style beers, as well as a few others, are served by the half liter or full liter (stein). The other beers will be served by the 13 or 16 ounce snifter, depending on the ABV (alcohol by volume). The restaurant also has a wine program and offers eight different craft cocktails.
In the spring, DePorter hopes to offer a stein club membership with access to a private lounge and locker, and a personalized beer stein. Members will get discounts and be the first to know about new beers coming on draft and events.
Unter Biergarten is located at 120 East Avenue, and is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; and Sunday for brunch, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 360-4010. Find them at unterbiergarten.com.
The 2018 NY Ice Wine & Culinary Festival will take place on Saturday, February 24, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Casa Larga (2287 Turk Hill Road). Tickets are $65 in advance, $75 at the door, and include samples of ice wines from New York State, an ice-wine infused menu, a horse-drawn wagon tour of the vineyard, and live entertainment. Purchase tickets at Wegmans, the Wine Shop at Casa Larga or at casalarga.com.
Rohrbach Railroad Street Beer Hall and Black Button Distilling will host An Evening on Railroad Street on Wednesday, February 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. Guests will start the evening at Rohrbach Beer Hall (97 Railroad Street) for beer and wood-fired pizza, then get a behind-the-scenes look at how the beer at Rohrbach and the spirits at Black Button are made. The evening ends with a cocktail at Black Button Distilling (85 Railroad Street). Tickets are $40 per person and include two beers, a wood-fired pizza, the production tour, and two cocktails. Guests will also receive a $5 voucher towards any 750ml bottle of spirits at Black Button. More information and tickets at rohrbachs.com.
The Owl House (75 Marshall Street) has teamed with Embark Craft Ciderworks for a Cider Dinner on Wednesday, February 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. The tasting menu will feature pairings with Embark Craft Ciderworks, and a gluten-free option will be available upon request. Reservations are $50 per person and can be placed by calling the restaurant at 360-2920. View the menu at owlhouserochester.com.
Sambuca Italian Restaurant & Bar (146 West Commercial Street) in East Rochester is now serving Sunday brunch. Menu items include breakfast pizza, crab cake benedict, stuffed French toast and specialty cocktails. Visit sambucabargrill.com for more information.
Tai Chi Bubble Tea (1367 Mount Hope Avenue) has opened in College Town.
Yellow Elephant (6687 Pittsford-Palmyra Road) has opened in Fairport.
Khong Thai Cuisine has opened at 260 North Winton Road.
Nathan's Soup and Salad (691 Park Avenue) has closed its original Park Avenue location.
2 Vine (24 Winthrop Street) has closed.
Hot Rosita's (17 East Main Street) has closed.
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