Restaurant: Genesee Brew House, 25 Cataract St., Rochester, NY (585) 263-9200
Beer and pretzels. As iconic a pairing as peanut butter and jelly. So when the Genesee Brew House restaurant created its beer-centric menu naturally they knew they would have to offer pretzels. And they would have to be good. Fortunately for all of us these pretzels go way beyond good, making them not only a Best Dish, but the Brew House’s most popular item. Every Brew House menu item was designed to complement or incorporate beer from the Genesee Brewery’s numerous offerings – some of which are available only at the Brew House restaurant. Here Genesee’sfamed Cream Ale gets a new incarnation as an impossibly light, complexly flavored beer cheese sauce that is so popular that when it temporarily disappeared from the menu, regulars demanded its return. The sweetness of the Cream Ale is a perfect complement to the crispy, salty pretzels. Anyone expecting the standard yellow cheese sauce is in for a surprise – and a treat. But while I could have gladly mopped up every last drop, this mustard lover was careful to leave room for the dish’s other choice of accompaniment, a spicy whole grain beer mustard made with J.W. Dundee Honey Brown lager. Both sauces are made in house and alone would have been enough to elevate thesepretzels to Best Dish status. But then there are the pretzels themselves. A deep rich brown with that almost-nutty-yet-distinctly pretzel flavor, these are not ballpark pretzels. Crackling crisp on the outside and soft, moist and bread-y on the inside, these pretzel sticks will remind you of your favorite pizza crust in all the right ways. While definitely still a soft pretzel, unlike their commonplace counterparts, these pretzels boast multiple textures and flavors, making them a true classic done right. Just like the brewery itself.
– Allison Zimmer, A-List Contributor