More than you bargained for

As a delayed Valentine’s Day/Anniversary celebration, my boyfriend and I went out for dinner with our friends Mike and Kelli. Inspired by a $10 Rochester Dining Card coupon, we decided to try The Rabbit Room in The Lower Mill Restaurant and Galleries in Honeoye Falls. I’ve heard really good things about the restaurant. And our experience exceeded my expectations.

For starters, the building is breathtaking. You can just feel the history as you approach the entry way of the large limestone structure. According to the website, The Lower Mill was built on the banks of Honeoye Creek in 1827. In its prime capacity, the mill produced 200 barrels of flour, and was considered one of the finest flouring mills in western New York. In 1901, the interior of the mill was destroyed in a fire. After the Depression, it was used as a creamery to store aging cheese and then sold to the Village. It was sold to the Elmer family in 1977, restored and is now used as shops, art galleries and The Rabbit Room.

The restaurant is only open for lunch Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Dinner is only available on Thursday nights. The bulk of the business is centered on catering and special events. I think that’s what drew me, knowing you can’t just enjoy this cuisine any night of the week. I called about a week in advance for reservations and it was already so booked up, we had to settle for an 8 p.m. reservation.

We arrived shortly before our reservation, giving us a chance to check out their beer selection, which included a bunch of my favorites imports such as Rogue Dead Guy Ale from Newport, Oregon, as well as local favorites like Brooklyn Brown Ale and a plethora of Honeoye Fall’s very own Custom Brewcrafters. I started off the night with a tequila-based El Diablo martini.

I really began to feel “at home” when I turned to my right and saw my old and dear friend Michael Belmont. Michael and I met back in my days as the Penfield Post Reporter, when he was the President/CEO of the Charles Finney School. He’s now president of his own company SkyPillar. Later, on a visit to the bathroom, I noted a poster for a project by another friend from the paper. Kris Dreessen’s photojournalism surrounding the humanitarian effort “Rebuilding El Sauce” in Nicaragua will be on display Tuesday, February 21st from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Lower Mill Gallery.

Dinner was absolutely fabulous. The meal began with homemade herb bread and honey butter, a half order of Parisienne Gnocchi with cherry tomatoes and local roasted mushrooms sautéed in butter with fresh herbs, lemon and truffle oil accompanied by an order of Arancini, which is fried risotto balls with smoked mozzarella and roasted garlic marinara sauce.

For my dinner, I opted for the Roasted Beet Salad. The flavor of the winter root, roasted golden and candy striped beets perfectly complimented the toasted almonds, Lively Run Feta cheese and curried honey vinaigrette.

In addition, I ordered the special oyster soup.

Sean got the braised pork shank with rosemary pan sauce, sweet potatoes and fresh vegetables.

Mike got the grilled, brined chicken breast with garlic mashed potatoes, braised kale, black oak ham and caramelized onions.

Kelli opted for a special as well – a four cheese ravioli with vegetable pan sauce.

Everything was incredibly delicious, the service was top-notch, and we came up with some classic one-liners such as “shady friends”, “My drink is fancy, but I’m not”, and “Sure, I’ll spend $150 to save $10.”

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