Finger Lakes Restaurant Week Spotlight: Veraisons Restaurant at Glenora Wine Cellars
Chef Orlando Rodriguez at Veraisons has been working to cultivate relationships with area farmers and food producers for years, making the creation of a menu for this year’s Restaurant Week easy as local rhubarb pie.
A graduate from the Culinary Institute of America with a keen understanding of flavor and nuance, as well as a passion for fine dining with a casual flair, Rodriguez presides over one of the most visited restaurants in the Finger Lakes.
Between weddings and special events, locals looking for a getaway and wine trail travelers,
is jam-packed with discerning locavores and foodies. Rodriguez manages it all smoothly, making every diner feel like they’ve discovered a small, casual joint that just happens to serve up food with a distinct “wow” factor.
Because Glenora is also a winery, the restaurant has a real handle on how to perfectly pair the kitchen’s dishes with the right glass. Restaurant Week devotees will appreciate the thoughtfulness and care that went into both the food and wine options.
I asked Rodriguez what dish on his menu he’s most excited about, and he immediately mentioned a pork loin dressed with chimichurri (an Argentinian vibrant green sauce traditionally made with parsley, garlic and olive oil). It originally appeared on the dining room’s spring menu, and was so well-received that Rodriguez wanted to share it with Restaurant Week goers.
With such a bustling kitchen, Rodriguez doesn’t have as much time to browse farmer’s markets as he used to; instead, he has cultivated relationships directly with farmers. He’s even working with some of his connections to grow the things he craves for his spring and summer menu: cipollini onions and sweet baby carrots with their greens in tact, for example.
This dedication to sourcing from regional farms means that the majority of the plates at Veraisons are “about 75% local,” says Rodriguez. So it looks like creating a menu that was 100% local, as per the Restaurant Week rules, wasn’t too much of a stretch for the team at Veraisons!
Veraisons at Glenora - 800.243.5513
Rochelle is a food and wine writer with a focus on seasonal cooking and sustainable agriculture. She’s also a classically-trained chef who spent the last year working on a full-diet, draft-powered farm in Central New York. Visit her at rochellebilow.com, on Twitter at @RochelleBilow or on Instagram at RochelleBilow to learn more.