ROC Restaurant Series - FLX Table

One would think that in order to dine in one of the country’s top rated restaurants, you’d almost certainly have to travel to New York City, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. Remarkably, here in Rochester, driving 45 minutes east to the quaint town of Geneva allows you the opportunity to enjoy a privilege usually reserved for our big-city brethren. In case you haven’t heard, Geneva’s FLX Table was recently voted as one of the top ten restaurants in the United States. I've now dined there on two separate occasions and have enjoyed myself enormously each time. As is the case with any great restaurant, the food was magnificent, the wine was exceptional, and the atmosphere at this establishment was unparalleled (in a rather unusual way). Read on…
 

FOOD:
The evening began with a few pieces of sliced Spanish ham, a great wine accompaniment, and some relaxing conversation. As you’re enjoying your amuse-bouche in a side room, the small staff of four are clearing plates and glasses in the dining room from the evening’s previous seating. At the appropriate time, you’re then casually invited to take your place at the only table in the restaurant – a table that comfortably seats fourteen. The $49 prix fixe menu begins with a Farmer’s Board to be shared by two (that’s not a typo – the dinner really does cost just $49 per person). The board includes a freshly baked loaf of rustic farmer’s bread, accompanying pickled vegetables, and locally sourced cheeses. The next course is an amalgam of various roasted, tickled, and raw mushrooms, button mushroom hummus, ramps and olive oil – delicious! The Smoked Polenta includes a 64-degree egg, drizzled with truffle puree and foie gras. Although I’m personally not a big fan of heavy, fattier meats, everybody else at the table seemed to really enjoy the entrée – Lamb Sausage with a pee-wee potato, black olive puree, ramp, and seaweed. Needless to say, don’t expect to have a bad meal at FLX Table!

WINE:
In addition to the $49 meal, guests have the option to include a wine pairing package that ranges from $35-$150 extra per person. Your options are playfully entitled- Fun, Baller, FLX Baller, and Big Pimp’n. On both occasions, we happened to be feeling a bit more “Baller” than “Big Pimp’n”, so we paid an additional $55. The pairing selections were probably amongst the most eclectic and unusual of any dinner that I’ve ever had. As I enjoyed the first sips of each wine, I was shocked to learn that both were bottled locally. It turns out that, with this package, there were two Finger Lakes reds that were paired with different courses. The Finger Lakes region is known primarily for its Riesling-rich wine growing climate. Slowly, that perception is starting to change as vintners and wine makers become more skilled and selective in their wine making processes. If you have the chance, go out and buy a bottle of Element Syrah. You’ll be surprised – if not shocked – that this remarkable red is grown on Seneca Lake. It has all of the attributes that one would associate with a great California red.

ATMOSPHERE:
I would be remiss in reviewing FLX Table without mentioning the unique and refreshingly casual atmosphere. One of the difficulties often associated with dining in temples of haute-cuisine is having to cut through the sometimes suffocating layers of pretense. At FLX Table, the opposite spirit seems to prevail. This establishment manages to position itself as the “cool girl” of restaurants without a whiff of haughtiness or arrogance. Upon arriving, you’re greeted by a warm, attentive, and knowledgeable staff of four, dressed casually in jeans. You almost get the sense that they’re physically holding back their desire to warmly embrace you and welcome you to their tiny eatery. 

I also can’t mention the atmosphere of FLX Table without making note of Michaelas, a Greek immigrant whose earnest, inviting, and electric personality would help to ensure the success of any restaurant at which he was employed. Michaelas is a Master Sommelier with a generous smile and kind demeanor. He acts as the ring master of the show, although, not in the way that you might expect. Throughout the course of the evening, you'll find that both he and the Master Chef step in to wash and dry dishes, sweep the floor, or fold napkins. They do so to help out the wait staff when they find themselves in need of an assist. No prima donnas here! Part of the fun at FLX Table is witnessing the casual and lighthearted banter that is exchanged among the fourteen assembled guests and their team as they go about their tasks, no more than ten to fifteen feet from where you're seated. There is a sense of confident excellence and blithe expertise that is not often found in fine dining establishments. Truly a breath of fresh air! Check it out – you’ll be glad that you did!