Next Door by Wegmans

I wanted to take my wife somewhere nice for dinner, as it was her birthday.  Traveling was not a problem so I began to look a little farther afield than downtown Syracuse.  Doing some searches, I found a number of positive recommendations for a place in Rochester.  The place is called Next Door.

Next Door restaurant
Next Door restaurant

What shocked the heck out of me is finding out it’s run by a supermarket!

Next Door is almost quite literally next door to it’s parent – Wegman’s.  Actually, if you want to be picky, it’s across the street.  If you’ve stumbled on this review by accident, and you’re from out of the area, you might recognize that name as one of the top places to work in America.  If you used to live here, you probably wish you had a Wegman’s in your area.  And supposedly, all the product served at Next Door can be bought at the supermarket.

The exterior is fairly unassuming, but just inside the door things get. . . real nice.  The waiting area walls are artistically done with wood; I mean like logs.  The bar looked very nice – large, open and nicely lighted.  We had an 8 PM reservation on a Thursday, and the bar had one person in it.  While we waited for our table, I heard what I thought was a live jazz ensemble start, but it was only their amazing sound system.

We were taken through a short hallway lined with (justifiable, in my opinion) awards.  The dining area where we were seated allowed us an unrestricted view of the kitchen, which is situated behind a 3-counter sushi bar.

Let’s get this straight.  There’s a lot of sushi and other Asian cuisine on offer at Next Door.  Get over it.  You don’t want any?  Don’t have any.  There’s plenty of other stuff on the menu.  We started with an order of steamed pork belly buns.  These were on par with what we were served at Momofuku in Toronto, and less money.

If you’re a foodie, this place is a place to visit.  If you like sushi, it’s a place to visit.  If you like pleasing interior architecture. . . well, you get the idea.  The decor could be right out of a 19th century British gentlemen’s club, if it weren’t so large in there.  Lots of dark wood and stone, but since it’s not pressing down on you, it’s more artistic.  There’s a separate room that can be closed off with giant rolling doors, and looks like it can be divided as well.  There’s also a test kitchen, and something they call the Red Room.  If you have a (semi) private party you want to throw, this might just be the place.

After our pork buns, we each had the Long Island Duck breast.  It was done medium, but the skin. . . The skin!  Marvelous!  And the breast was tasty as well.  They came with sides of Asian-style matchstick veggies, which were delicious.

For dessert, we shared a blueberry tart with limoncello gelato & candied almond glass.  What a way to wind up a special meal.

Dinner and sodas were around $80, and we left a 20% tip.  Without alcohol it came to just under $100.  You could easily spend more if you got a dry aged steaks and a bottle of wine.

My recommendation?  Save up and visit for a special occasion, or better yet – no occasion at all.  You’ll enjoy it!


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Welcome , today is Thursday, May 13, 2021