Friday, January 7, 2011

The Chef's Table at Good Luck

Just last month I posted about a dinner my family and I enjoyed at Good Luck. Rapidly becoming my favorite restaurant in the Rochester area, Good Luck's combination of great cocktails and inspired food more than convinced me that a return was in order. So after seeing that the restaurant recently started to offer a Chef's Table, I immediately began planning my return. In my previous post, I concluded by saying that with Chef Dan Martello's talents, Good Luck would soon establish itself as a heavyweight in the Rochester dining scene, eventually requiring a bit of "luck" just to secure a future reservation. If only I had known how true my own words were at that moment...and as fate would have it, I would end up needing that luck (via a last minute cancellation) to reserve the Chef's Table.

After playing telephone with my family, a true nightmare exercise in patience, we eventually decided on the 5-course Nautilus menu. Through a flurry of emails with Chuck Cerancosky, the restaurant's General Manager, I requested my family to be placed in the capable hands of Chef Martello. With the lone exception being my sister's oyster allergy, we gave the chef no further restrictions, allowing him to personally craft whatever he thought best for us that evening, a prudent decision in hindsight.

Anticipating my family to be running late, MW and I arrived at the restaurant early, settling in at the bar as they slowly trickled in. Eventually, the rest of my family arrived, and with cocktails in hand, were led to the "Chef's Table." More of a private table sitting across the restaurant's open kitchen rather than an actual table inside of it, our server took the two bottles of wine (corkage was only $10/bottle) we brought while we examined our menus.

The first course, an Organic Scottish Salmon Crudo with Fennel, Ginger and Meyer Lemon, was just OK. Instead of letting the fish star, it almost seemed that the fish was an afterthought. While the salmon was fresh and nicely sliced, it tasted rather bland and was a bit overpowered by the fennel and ginger. Certainly not a bad first course, but not a standout either.

Our second course alleviated any lingering doubts concerning the remainder of our meal. Listed as Pan-Roasted Scallops with Braised Artichokes, White Beans, Thumbelina Carrots and Salsa Verde, the dish consisted of two perfectly seared scallops over a bed of white beans and artichokes, then topped with pork rinds for some added texture. The sweetness of the scallops was emphasized by the incredible sear achieved on their exterior, marrying beautifully with the creamy beans and crunchy pork rinds.

Our third course, a House-made Spaghetti with Lobster and Fine Herbs, picked up where the second course left off. A mound of al dente pasta came topped with a butter-poached lobster claw tossed in a light tomato sauce, chock full of pieces of fresh tomato and even more lobster meat. Each bite was filled with wonderfully chewy noodles, bursts of sweetness from the fresh tomato and plenty of delectable lobster-- a good substitution considering they weren't able to acquire any langoustines.

The last savory course was a Seared Halibut, Potato Purée, Baby Root Vegetables, Saffron and a Yellow Beet Sauce. Sadly, as good as the middle two courses were, this dish fell short. The halibut was overcooked, and while it remained relatively moist, it was quite apparent. The baby root vegetables were sweet and were a nice accompaniment, but as good as they were, even they couldn't compensate for overcooked fish.

Following the halibut, we thought there was only one more course. However, Chef Martello literally took it upon himself (no pastry chef) to send us off with two desserts, a very nice gesture. First, a Meyer Lemon Tart with a Berry Sauce and Candied Lemon served as a nice palate cleanser. The miniature tart sat atop a pool of berry sauce and was surrounded by pieces of candied lemon, preventing the dessert from being too sweet.

Our real final course was a Warm Chocolate Cake with House-made Vanilla Ice Cream. Although skeptical, as the dessert appeared similar to the ubiquitous "molten chocolate cake" served at countless restaurants, my family was pleased by how light and moist the cake was, tasting more like a soufflé than an actual cake.

After our meal Chef Martello made an appearance to see how we had enjoyed our food. We all thanked him for an incredible meal and had a nice conversation about his thoughts regarding the restaurant (menu progression, seasonality, etc.), the Chef's Table, and where he sources his products. Thoughtfully constructed and well executed, our experience at the Chef's Table was truly unique, further cementing what we already knew, that Good Luck continues to emerge as one of Rochester's premier restaurants. Looking ahead, I wish both the Chef Martello and the restaurant nothing but "good luck," but have a good suspicion that luck is something neither of them need.

Good Luck
50 Anderson Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607
(585) 340-6161

To see all the pictures from this meal click HERE.

Good Luck on Urbanspoon


  1. Your description of the scallop dish made me jizz in my pants. I want it. Now.

  2. It happens. Steve truly has a gift...

  3. Sounds like a great experience. I'd love to do something like that.