Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lively Dinner at Jojo

As you know, last weekend we took a trip to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.  I've already shared the details about an amazingly authentic Mexican lunch we had in Canandaigua.  We also did some wine tasting and spent time at the New York Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua (details to come later this week).  That evening, we had our early anniversary dinner at Jojo Bistro & Wine Bar in Pittsford, New York.

We had had a difficult time deciding where to go to dinner that night.  We had several options and weren't initially going to go to Jojo since we've been to its Buffalo location.  Ultimately, we decided on Jojo and made a reservation for 7:30 p.m.

When we arrived, the place was quite busy.  One thing you noticed immediately was the incredible volume of the place.  It was so loud.  Too loud.  Listen, I'm not an old guy, but it was too loud even for me.  My wife and I had to virtually yell at each other the entire evening.  I don't mind a lively restaurant with a pulse and decent buzz, but this was too much.  I felt like Steve Carell, turning to my wife and yelling, "I don't know what we're yelling about!!"  But, I digress...

We were seated immediately upon arrival and shown to a nice booth with great, direct lighting.  We sat down and took a look at the menu:

We made our drink selections first, as our waitress came over shortly after we sat down and asked what we'd like.  We both went with a flight of wine: my wife chose the "Bright Whites" and I went with the "Purple Lips Big Reds".  This is a look at my flight when it arrived:

From left to right, I had a tempranillo/grenacha blend from Spain, a red Zinfandel and the Reserve Meritage from Robert Mondavi.  While the price for all the wines by the glass were on the high side, the flight was worth it solely for the Mondavi Meritage.  The tempranillo/grenacha blend was full of fruit, but not much else, and, while not looking like a robust red Zinfandel, it was quite good with big ripe fruit and high alcohol to balance it.  The Meritage was well oaked, had balanced fruit on the nose and palate and was delicious.  My wife's flight was less successful  largely do to a bland pinot grigio that was over shadowed by a very floral pinot gris.

While enjoying our wine, we reviewed the menu.  It has many options of things that pair well with wine and are great to share.  As was true with our trip to Jojo in Williamsville, none of the entrees jumped out as being a worthy selection, specials included.  We ultimately chose to get a few salads and small plates that would go well with our wine and would be easily shared.

My wife chose the Spinach & Walnut salad which featured fresh spinach, tomato, onion, prosciutto and strawberries in a toasted walnut vinaigrette.  The greens and vegetables were fresh, but the dressing lacked flavor.  We were expected a luscious flavor of walnut with the walnut oil in the vinaigrette, but that never came through.  My salad was more successful.  It was a grilled romaine salad with house-made horseradish-caesar dressing.  This was the best dish we had all night.  The dressing was fantastic.  It was just as good, if not better, than the house-made blue cheese dressing you get at most places that offer a grilled romaine salad.  Here it is on my plate:

Shortly after the salad plates were cleared, the waitress brought the remainder of our meal.  This was the first choice we'd made after the salads:

Grilled flatbread with fresh figs, gorgonzola cheese, caramelized onions, arugula, and rosemary.  This was quite good, although the balsamic glaze was a bit overpowering.  The gorgonzola, however, was bold and flavorful.  It played nicely with the sweetness of the figs.  A tasty selection.

The other small plate we ordered arrived looking like this:

Raclette:  house-made thick cut potato "chips" topped with melted gruyere and blue cheeses.  These were decadent and went incredibly well with the red wine.  The perfect guilty pleasure to end our shared meal.

All in all, the meal was good.  The noise of the place, however, was off-putting.  In the end, I liked more than I disliked.  Would I come again?  The jury is out on this one. 

Stay tuned for details on the remaining meals and experiences on our trip...


© The Nittany Epicurean, 2013.  All Rights Reserved.

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