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Rooney's tops readers' fine-dining picks

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Rooney's Restaurant is at 90 Henrietta St. in Rochester.
Rochester Business Journal
May 9, 2014

After tying for first place in 2012 and slipping to fourth place last year, Rooney’s Restaurant is back on top among RBJ readers.

With 9 percent, the Rochester eatery received the most support in this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll, which asked readers to name their favorite fine-dining restaurant in the Rochester area.

Black & Blue Steak and Crab and Restaurant 2 Vine each garnered 6 percent of the vote. Restaurant 2 Vine topped last year’s ranking of favorite fine-dining restaurants to recommend to out-of-town visitors in the Rochester/Finger Lakes region.

Rounding out this year’s top five this year are Richardson’s Canal House and Good Luck, each with 5 percent of the vote.

Good Luck made a significant jump this year, rising from 1 percent of responses last year. Richardson’s Canal House ranked second last year.

In a similar poll in May 2012, readers named Rooney’s Restaurant and Black & Blue Steak and Crab as their favorites; the two restaurants were named by exactly the same number of respondents. Restaurant 2 Vine followed the top two, getting just four fewer votes.

Roughly 700 readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted May 5. Readers were given a list of more than 40 restaurants drawn from the RBJ’s most recent top 25 list of fine-dining restaurants and from responses to the 2012 and 2013 Snap Polls on favorite restaurants. As before, readers were able to write in the name of a restaurant not on the list.

What is your favorite fine-dining restaurant in the Rochester area?
Rooney’s Restaurant: 9%
Black & Blue Steak and Crab: 6%
Restaurant 2 Vine: 6%
Richardson’s Canal House: 5%
Good Luck: 5%
Grinnell’s Restaurant: 4%
Max of Eastman Place: 4%
Lento: 4%
Ristorante Lucano: 4%
Max Chophouse: 4%
Tournedos Steakhouse: 4%
Hedges Nine Mile Point Restaurant: 3%
Tavern 58: 3%
Next Door Bar and Grill: 3%
Phillips European Restaurant: 2%
Michael’s Valley Grill: 2%
Mario’s Italian Restaurant and Catering: 2%
Red Osier Landmark Restaurant: 2%
TRATA: 2%
Crab Shack: 2%
Park Avenue Pub: 2%
The Revelry: 2%
Rocco: 2%
The Erie Grill at the Renaissance Del Monte Lodge Hotel & Spa: 1%
Avvino: 1%
Char Steak and Lounge: 1%
Joey B's: 1%
Remington's Restaurant: 1%
The Rabbit Room: 1%
Clark House at Shadow Pines: 1%
Horizons Restaurant at the Lodge at Woodcliff: 1%
Edibles Restaurant LLC: 1%
North Shore Grill: 1%
One: 1%
Tapas 177 Lounge: 1%
Pultneyville Grill: 1%
Jojo: 1%
The Inn on the Lake: 1%
Other: 3%

COMMENTS:

As in the last Rochester Business Journal poll of the readers' favorite fine-dining restaurant, the selections are dominated by East Side restaurants. On the West Side, there are almost too many good Italian Restaurants to count. The Italian restaurants have to be very good on the West Side or else the Italians will just eat at home. My favorite fine-dining restaurant in Rochester is Agatina's on Buffalo Road.
—Clifford Jacobson M.D.

The truly wonderful thing about this survey is how many excellent fine-dining establishments have successfully opened and stayed open in the last few years. This makes the choice hard. Rochester is truly experiencing a foodie revolution, and it’s about time.
—Lee Drake, CEO, OS-Cubed Inc.

Restaurant 2 Vine. (It was) difficult to choose. There are several favorites, also including Richardson’s and the Erie Grill.
—Emily Neece

Phillips European Restaurant. It’s the showcase of baked goods similar to one that greets you—more like hypnotizes you—at the Cheesecake Factory. That display sets the mood for the evening ending on a high note—a sugar high note.
—Mark S. Duemmel, Allpro Parking

Max of Eastman Place: consistently outstanding service, high quality, creative, tasty dishes.
—Jeffrey Larson, Excellus BCBS

(Max of Eastman Place) exceeds expectations every time; consistent year after year. No. 1 recommendation to visitors. Menu and specials great and cooked to perfection. Friendly staff. Great views of gently falling snow, spring and summer rains, trees swaying in the breeze, urban park and the Eastman Theatre.
—Dan Karley

Edibles is a true “gastroteque” in the French tradition of casual farm-to-table, quality food. The bar attracts an interesting group of people of all ages, from young professionals to retired denizens of the neighborhood of the arts. It’s fun, and the food is creative and consistently great!
—Kathleen Massimilian

Joe Brophy and his team at Joey B’s never disappoint. The prices for fine dining are a bargain. And the view from the deck during the summer of the foot, bike and boat traffic on canal and the Fairport Lift Bridge create a wonderful ambiance.
—Chris Veronda

I would like to add the Johnson House in Churchville to your list. The diverse menu is complemented with savory desserts. The individual dishes are specialties unto themselves. The service is welcoming and “friendly professional” with just the right touch. When you’re looking for a cozy, intimate setting, this is the place to be.
—Lou Romano

You should offer to rank your top 3. It would reduce favoritism—and would make it more valid as there are many fine restaurants. It would be a much more valid survey.
—Rod Mattingly

I like the variety and quality of the food (at the Revelry). Service and management friendly and knowledgeable.
—Beverly Tartaglia, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack

You should add Joey’s Pasta House as an option; they now have two restaurants, Penfield and Victor.
—Laura Passantino

Bernard’s Grove House!
—Tom Shea, Thomas P. Shea Agency Inc.

Tavern 58 continues to please my wife and me after many visits. The food is excellent, and so is the service. It’s great for meals before concerts at the Eastman Theatre.
—Al Schnucker, Schnucker Packaging Inc.

A restaurant you might want to include on your list in the future is Eric’s Office, aka The Office in Canandaigua. Excellent food and beverages and rather reasonably priced.
—Dale Stell, City Hill Construction

Tavern 58 is one of the greatest gems Rochester has. It’s great for families or business meals. The specials will always surprise you.
—Alex Molinich, president, Aldon Corp.

Nikki’s restaurant is our favorite. Warfields at High Point is closed and would have been our first choice.
—Emily Jones

Zeppa Bistro.
—Joyce Schmidt

Edibles has been my favorite restaurant in Rochester for about five years. It has a wonderful atmosphere to share a romantic evening out with my husband. However, I have had a few business lunches there, as well. The food is delicious.
—Gloria Brent

Always a great experience at Black & Blue; you can’t beat their oysters! Crab Shack is a close second for food and service; they just need to spruce the place up a bit.
—Lou Calarese, Applied Audio & Theatre Supply

The atmosphere (at Black & Blue Steak and Crab) is very special, the food is amazing and the service is fantastic.
—Lou Anne DeMagistris, RC Imaging

Your list should include the choice "other" and allow for a "write-in" selection. Since your survey doesn't do this, one is left to wonder—do the restaurants listed pay their way on to the list? By the way, my favorite restaurant is Agatina's—and they didn't pay me to say so.
—Harry Caruso, Caruso Asset Management

5/9/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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