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Polizzi's offers Mediterranean fare at Village Gate

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A common misconception when it comes to Mediterranean cuisine in that people assume Mediterranean food is strictly Greek food — hummus and pita, gyro, and the like. The Mediterranean region includes all countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea, including Spain, Italy, France, and Greece. Tom and Debbie Polizzi wanted to represent the cuisine of the different countries of that region in their new restaurant, Polizzi's (274 North Goodman Street) in Village Gate.

Tom Polizzi started washing dishes when he was 16 years old and has worked in every position in the kitchen since, cutting his teeth at such restaurants as The Olive Tree, Tournedos Steakhouse, and Richardson's Canal House. He has assembled a team that he has either known or worked with for years, including Sous Chef Marty Moriarty and Pastry Chef Janice Plant.

You'll find traditional Greek and Middle Eastern dishes on the menu at Polizzi's, including Moussaka ($22), a dish that covers ground beef, pork and veal with eggplant and béchamel sauce. The Calamari Frito ($14) can be prepared Greek style for an additional $3 in which the fried squid is tossed with Kalamata olives, pepperoncini, roasted red peppers, feta, lemon, wine, and garlic.

Where Polizzi's cuisine really shines, however, are the dishes that honor his Italian heritage — like Grandma Carmella's Minulotti ($10), his grandmother's recipe for Italian sausage-stuffed bread that is finished off with melted mozzarella in the wood fired oven. Polizzi has tried to find the origin of minulotti, but after many attempts at Googling the dish with no results, it was decided that it must have been what the dish was called in the region of Italy that his grandmother was from. Another dish with Italian origins, the Pork Osso Bucco ($24), pairs fall-off-the-bone, red wine braised pork shank with vegetables and a demi-glace.

The bar program, helmed by Elizabeth Donnelly, features a selection of wines, most from Italy, Spain, Greece, and France as well as craft cocktails. Polizzi's is not open for lunch or on Sundays as Polizzi wants his staff, like him, to spend time with their families.

Polizzi's (274 North Goodman Street) is located in Village Gate, and is open Monday through Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. 363-5100. Find them at polizzis.com.

Quick bites

The Roc City Meat Hot Sauce Fest will take place on Thursday, March 1, at the Burgundy Basin Inn (1361 Marsh Road). Tickets are $20 and include burgers and hots topped with meat hot sauce from participating restaurants and one drink ticket. Participants will vote for their favorite for the People's Choice Award. Purchase tickets at eventbrite.com.

Boxcar (127 Railroad Street) and Black Button Distilling (85 Railroad Street) have teamed up to offer the Railroad Street Sunday Brunch Pass on March 4, March 11, and March 18. The pass is $30 and includes a Brunchfast Sandwich, donut, and coffee at Boxcar and a Bloody Mary or Gin Mimosa, Bourbon Cream tasting, distillery tour, and $5 off a 750 ml bottle of spirits at Black Button. Tickets are valid from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Boxcar and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Black Button. Visit blackbuttondistilling.com to purchase tickets.

The Erie Grill (41 North Main Street, Pittsford) will host a Chef's Table Dinner on Thursday, March 15, at 6 p.m. The five-course dinner will be prepared by Executive Chef John Freezee and Sous Chef David Sangiacomo. The menu is local-farm inspired and each dish will be paired with wine or cider. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased eriegrill.com.

Closings

Zebb's Deluxe Grill & Bar (1890 South Clinton Avenue) has closed.

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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