Restaurant: Ox and Stone, 282 Alexander Street, Rochester, NY (585) 287-6933
Chef: Robin Banister
Latin American cooking is making its mark on Alexander Street by way of a new restaurant called Ox and Stone. You may remember this former location as Bamba Bistro, yet the décor, menu, and ambiance have been completely transformed.
Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the Victorian architecture with the round archways and grand stairway. The candlelit lighting elicits a romantic and mysterious atmosphere providing a very welcoming feel to the bar and seated tables. The menu you’ll find has influences from both Latin Flavors and American Fare.
The paella dish is one of Ox and Stone’s house specialties and is a vision from start to finish. The excitement begins when you see the hot paella pan placed in the middle of your table. All your senses are heightened with the beautiful array of colors, the fresh ingredients, and the fragrant smells swirling from the pan. You take your first bite and you are reminded of why you ordered this dish in the first place.
I would be remiss if I didn’t walk you through the ingredients of this dish. I’ll start with the bomba rice which has been simmered in broth with saffron imported from Spain, smoked paprika, along with garlic, tomatoes, and onions. Next, is the chorizo that is made in-house and packs a ton of flavor. The mussels and shrimp bring in the fresh and tender seafood component. The fire-roasted poblano peppers add more flair and spice to the dish. The best surprise ingredient is the culantro. Not ‘cilantro’, but ‘culantro’. Culantro is a heartier version of cilantro with a stronger flavor. Ox and Stone sources their culantro locally from a hydroponic farm in Hilton,NY called Bolton Farms. The ingredients as mentioned above are carefully chosen and prepared to make their expression of a tasty paella.
Be prepared to bring your appetite and a friend or two when eating this dish, as it’s a very large portion as Paella should be. If you are looking for a dish that is wonderfully comforting and flavorful, then here is your winning dish.
Linh Phillips, A-List Contributor