Scallops Gazpacho with Black Bean Risotto

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Restaurant: Bad Apples Bistro, 42 Nichols Street, Spencerport, NY 14559 (585) 352-2231

Chef/Owner: Christopher Kisiel

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So long, meatballs. We’re trading you in for a couple of Bad Apples. With the invention of Bad Apples Bistro in Spencerport, Rochester’s West Side finally has a true emerging food culture, proving to the rest of the world that we are not just pizza and Chicken French anymore. Pioneering food culture west of the river with his creative and unexpected reinventions of familiar flavor profiles, owner and Chef Christopher Kisiel is making waves out west where his restaurant, opened in 2011, is a spirited shout rather than so much dining white noise. Everything here is house made and the menu changes seasonally to maximize each seasons’ unique flavors and bounty. In today’s Best Dish list Chef Kisiel is combining fresh, juicy red and yellow tomatoes with cucumber, bell peppers and a touch of poblano pepper and piling them on top of perfectly seared, incredibly tender, beautifully browned scallops served medium rare in the center, the way they should be. At first glance it would have been easy to dismiss the colorful array of vegetables and their beautiful juice as yet another salsa topping or an ambitious garnish. That would have been a mistake. This is a true gazpacho flavor, immediately recognizable and beautifully executed, and the perfect fresh, sweet, crunchy and ever-so-spicy accompaniment to the briny scallops. Familiar flavors, perfectly balanced and presented in an unexpected way. And I loved it. And like the rest of the Bad Apples menu, the risotto is not in any way an afterthought, but a carefully crafted dish meant to complement and underscore the scallops. Creamy, light and full of an herbaceous springtime brightness, I could have been served the risotto alone and left satisfied. Thank goodness I didn’t. Don’t miss out on the changing menu at Bad Apples, a hidden gem on the west side that, we fear, won’t stay hidden for long.

-Allison Zimmer, A-List Contributor

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