Believe it or not, when Char first opened at the Strathallan several years ago, Duffy and I went and vowed never to return. The food was mediocre, the service was lousy. After several months, it came to our attention that Josh Miles, local restaurateur extraordinaire, had taken over management of the restaurant. Suddenly, a miserable culinary experience was transformed into a place that Duffy and I inevitably found ourselves dining at a minimum of two (sometimes three…) times a week. What makes this the restaurant that I dine in more often than almost any other restaurant in town? In short, the service, wine, food, and atmosphere are among the best in Rochester!
SERVICE: Josh has a magical ability to transform the most inattentive of wait staffs into a highly trained and tremendously disciplined force of professionals. You would assume that anybody dining at the same restaurant 2-3 times a week would know the wait staff and would be treated well. Well, that's not always the case. Josh stresses the importance of great service and the need to develop interpersonal relationships with guests. One of my favorite parts of dining at Char is having the opportunity to catch up with the servers, as Duffy and I sincerely enjoy their company. They are incredibly kind and engaging, and it’s always a pleasure to find out what’s going on in their lives.
WINE: As a result of the fact that I eat out five nights a week, I need to be mindful about how much alcohol I’m consuming. So, if I’m going to have a glass of wine, I want it to be great! Thankfully, Char has one of the best wine lists in the region. Culture is created from the top and filters on down. As a result, Josh and the oenophiles who work under him understand a good grape. Char’s wine list spans the globe and varies in price. I'm always looking for something new and different to sample and thankfully, there always seems to be something added to the list to keep us engaged and interested. It was at Char that I first tried Priest Ranch and Dylan's Ghost. In fact, even as I scroll through the online menu now, I’m noticing some new ones that I look forward to trying….
FOOD: I'm not a big red meat eater, however, everybody with whom we dine at Char swears by their steaks. That's what they're known for and that's what everybody loves. Given the ecstasy and enthusiasm with which people consume these steaks, I really do wish that I loved red meat so that I could enjoy it! Most nights I’ll opt for their wedge salad (I know, boring…), but it really is fantastic! They also have great soup options for an appetizer. For an entree, I'll often order the clams off of the bar menu. Delicious!
ATMOSPHERE: There are two things about Char’s atmosphere that I love. First, Char is one of the few places in town to enjoy a great meal outdoors during warmer months. Looking forward to doing so again soon! However, in colder weather, there's no restaurant more lively or sociable. No matter what, it is inevitable that Duffy and I run into someone that we know. Because of this, whenever we dine at Char, we always look forward to catching up with friends. How many other Rochester restaurants can you say have such an incredible atmosphere?