It's 9 p.m. on a Wednesday, and you've just gotten out of a movie or show, but no one's ready to call it quits just yet. While it may not be the right evening to paint the town, a slice of something sweet and a glass of wine might strike the balance between opening the whole bottle and going to bed early.
If you're looking for a quiet, intimate way to end a date or evening with friends, dessert and drinks can be as low-key or as elegant as you want. For those late evenings when you want to stay out just a little bit longer, CITY has rounded up five places you can sip and nibble until you're ready to call it a night.
It's no mystery what the specialties are at Chocolate and Vines (757 University Avenue; 340-6362; facebook.com/chocolateandvines). The green and purple house in the Neighborhood of the Arts has a cozy but stylish dining room where guests can sip on both regional and imported wines — available by the glass or in flights — and graze on desserts and cheese. The cafe is known for its colorful chocolate truffles ($2.25 each), in flavors that range from the traditional (hazelnut praline) to the whimsical (cookies and cream). If you're looking for a more substantial chocolate fix, the chocolate fudge cake or flourless chocolate cake can deliver on the decadence. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Corn Hill's Flight (262 Exchange Boulevard; 360-4180; winebarflight.com) specializes in thoughtfully-curated three-glass flights with evocative names like "Dark Star" and "Bare Essence." The servers are extremely knowledgeable and willing to share their recommendations, including tips on food and wine pairings. If you're in a sweets mood, you'll likely save the cheese and meat plates for another time and skip right to the chocolate flight, which consists of dark chocolate truffles, dipped candied orange peel, and sesame milk chocolate leaves, all from the South Wedge's Hedonist Artisan Chocolates. Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.
There's nothing like having a good neighbor, and Apogee Wine Bar (151 Park Avenue; 755-0457; facebook.com/apogeewinebar) is taking full advantage of its proximity to Scratch Bakeshop. Every weekend, Apogee serves up a different selection of cakes from the bakery at 113 Park Avenue, with flavors like lemon-lime, chocolate pistachio, lavender black raspberry, and chocolate caramel cookie dough. It can be a challenge pairing the constantly rotating cakes with Apogee's wines, but the servers will meet the challenge. If your timing is good, cozy up in one of the window booths, or in nicer weather, settle at an outdoor table and watch Park Ave go by. Tuesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Henrietta institution Phillips European (26 Corporate Woods; 272-9910; phillipseuropean.com) may serve a variety of classic, continental European dishes, but it's the desserts that win people over. The restaurant's dessert menu is so massive it's split into five categories, including one just for chocolate desserts (always a positive sign). European classics like crème brulée and Viennese meringue torte are offset by American favorites like apple pie and peanut butter torte. Once you've managed to make your choice, pair your selection with a local or imported wine to finish off the evening. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Fiorella (5 Rochester Public Market, 434-5705, restaurantfiorella.com) in the Public Market has made a name for itself with its homemade pasta and crispy, wood-fired pizzas, but this casual, minimalist spot can also satisfy your dessert craving. The chocolate olive oil cake is wonderfully moist, with a healthy drizzle of chocolate sauce spooned over it. The house-made gelato is also a strong contender — go for the trio of vanilla, chocolate, and Nutella if you're having trouble settling on just one flavor. The fruit crostata features rotating selections of seasonal bounty, so summer is the ideal time to try it out. A small but well-selected wine list (mostly Italian) can help round off the meal. Wednesday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where do you like to go for a late evening dessert or wine? Let us know in the comment section below.