This page is for archiving comments prior to 2010 for Lento.
2007-09-07 09:26:48 I ate there it and was absolutley wonderful. It's so refreshing to see a business that supports local farmers and a chef who knows exactly where his food is coming from. The atmosphere and service were exceptional too. Prices are comparable to 2-Vine or Max at Eastman place but the food quality was much better. I'd definitley go back soon. —YvetteRogers
2007-09-15 15:17:06 Ate here last night for my anniversary. Things started badly as they didn't have our reservation and were packed. But they resolved it quickly and professionally and got us seated right away. Started off with the BLT salad and my partner had the house salad. They were both just ok. I had the quail on black pepper papardalle for dinner while my parnter had the pork chop. They were both delicious and extremely generous portions. We both had wine, and they were great. For dessert we had the blueberry/nectarine pastry thing...which was, unfortunately, extremely dry and un-memorable. I'll be back. It's great that their menu changes so often. —MarcVera
2007-09-28 11:16:46 Not sure how to judge it. We'll go back in order to check whether what we didn't like were just a few sins of youth. Ambiance is nice, just a little too minimalist; tables are small but neatly prepared with nice table cloths, silverware and glassware. We were offered a good focaccia with garlic olive oil. The menu shows good intentions but some dishes give the impression that the chef put different ingredients together just to show off his creativity. Raw ingredients are very good but recipes need better balancing. My entree had too much sweet pepper in it and was a little cold too. Wine selection is limited, no more than 40 wines are listed, and geographical indications are incomplete. Finally, despite being just 7 people in the room, the service was not as good as one would expect: there were 2 waiters, but we had to wait 5 mins to get their attention when needed. The place is full of potential but everything needs more attention to fulfill the ambitions to be an upscale restaurant. —AndreaCogliati
2007-09-28 11:17:53 BTW, the maitre told us that the menu changes every week, not every day. —AndreaCogliati
2007-09-29 21:13:57 Very impressed! Not the same old same old. Unique, varied menu! Delicious! Perfect portion size! BLT salad better than advertised! Squash ravioli was excellent! Limited wine list. Servers & staff very professional! Highly recommend! Anxious to return and try new creations! —SueZee
2007-10-19 21:05:08 I want to give you some general information so that you can understand how our restaurant works.*Our Menu does change daily, however sometimes not dramatically. Sometimes we change the whole thing; sometimes we leave it alone. Our food is Seasonal, Fresh, Organic (when possible) and of the best quality. The chef and owner creates dishes that he feels people will enjoy and find unique to our restaurant based on what he can get from our sources; that is the freshest. Remember to ask for the Manager so that they know if you did not enjoy something. The most important part is telling the kitchen what was wrong so that it can be fixed. If you say nothing, nothing will change. This website is important and so are your comments. Without your honest reviews and opinions, we would not see our strengths and faults. We use this information to grow and change and be the best we can be. Thanks to all of you! -Jason (GM) —JayLongo
2007-11-19 21:25:48 Second time was like the first - excellent! Really enjoy the different menu selections. Delicious!!! Will be back soon. —SueZee
2007-12-04 16:45:42 Went two weeks after it opened. Staff were incompetent and didn’t know the menu. Kept trying to take away plates before we finished eating. Music was too loud and too fast a tempo. Asked them to turn it down or change it to something appropriate for dining. They suggested we look at their website which featured info about the music selection. Uhhh…. That had to be the all-time dumbest response to a complaint ever. I see now they’ve removed the music info from their site. The oily bread with an olive oil dip makes no sense as a combination. The BLT salad with fried green tomatoes was very nice. My steak was cooked as ordered but was just OK flavor-wise. My friends didn’t like their appetizers or their entrees. The calamari had way too much salt. One entrée, a seafood dish had a combination of conflicting ingredients. “Less is more” was needed with that one. The ingredients however were all very fresh. I’m guessing they were suffering from some serious new place jitters so I’ll try them again now that they’ve been open a few months. —ZedOmega
2007-12-06 19:45:31 GM reading and answering to comments? That's great! Another reason to give it a second chance very soon! —AndreaCogliati
2007-12-06 20:16:02 Andrea, Thanks! There should be a whole rebuttal blog on here somewhere, now that would be awesome. Give us another try. It's crazy that I remember customers (generally)who come in the restaurant and have an experience outside of what we consider "the norm", such as Zed's whom I remember. Happy Holidays to all! Now Featuring Thursday Night Vegetarian Entrees! —JayLongo
2007-12-11 23:11:28 I went here a couple of weeks ago for an all-out splurge of an anniversary dinner. It was tasty overall but, even keeping in mind the cost of local ingredients, felt overpriced because none of the dishes were truly "WOW." I'm having a hard time remembering what dishes we even ate (for comparison, I still remember everything we ordered at last year's anniversary dinner because it was so incredible). So, while it felt good supporting local farmers while I dined out, I don't think it's enough for me to justify making such a dent in my meager bank account again.
Also, I know they now have veg Thursdays, but it's strange that the vegetarian selection is SO limited the rest of the time. —ChelseaAllinger
2007-12-12 17:16:50 Just a note about the Vegetarian Menu: The menu is available on Thursdays because it is prepared fresh for that day like the rest of the menu. We have to bring in an extra chef on Thursdays to create this menu for you to enjoy. We order the food we need from the farms on Tuesday, it comes in Thursday at 8am. The Chef also comes in at 8am and works to prepare it throughout the entire evening. This as you can see gets expensive. Most places the food comes in frozen and is heated to perfection for you. We unfortunately do not follow this idea. We generally have one pasta dish on a night that is Vegetarian, and several appetizers and sides as well. Rochester is a "Steak and Potato" dominant dinner market and we need to be wary of that. There is not enough of a Market for Vegetarian Fine Dining in Rochester to be a realistic and profitable venue. Please direct any suggestions you may have about this or anything else directly to us at email@example.com Thanks! —JayLongo
2008-01-07 17:13:39 I had dinner there this past Friday. Had an early reservation due to plans later that evening and was a little concerned that we were the only ones in the place. But within 15 minutes of sitting down, the place came to life. My wife and I found the food to be terrific, and very creative. She had a scallop dish that was tasty and the duck breast I ordered was one of the better duck dishes I've had and it was prepared with a very flavorfull mushroom Risoto. The server was very knowledgeable about both the dinner menu and the wine list, which I agree with a previous review, was somwhat limited, particularly by the glass, but I think complimented the menu very well. We will definitely go back. —KevinHalpin
2008-01-14 15:44:54 I ate there on Friday night at 8pm. The Carpaccio was 1/4" thick and under seasoned. It essentially fell flat. The Duck was cooked to the proper temperature but it was sliced too early as all the juice was at the bottom of the plate. The baby pumpkin gnocchi were burned on one side and started to lose their form from overcooking. I liked the atmosphere and the combination ideas on the menu sounded very wonderful. I believe this experience fell flat due to poor execution from the Kitchen. I read all these other reviews and it makes me wonder if there was a new expediter in the Kitchen or if something had happened that night. Or maybe I just have a much higher idea of what "Fine Dining" is. I am comparing this restaurant to others I've been to in NYC like "The London, NYC" "Morimoto's" and "Craft Steak" to name a few. I hope the next time I try Lento, I have a completely different experience. If not, there will not be a third visit. —JaimeKilpatrick
2008-01-16 12:06:04 Went here for the second time last night. Were seated promptly, had to ask for a new bread plate as the one of the table was extremely greasy. Started with the cheese plate, asiago + stilton + another kind I forget. I had the skate...and it was simply amazing. Huge even, with capers, olives, balsamic glaze, caper berries, cranberry...just a great blend of sweet + salty. My partner had the wolffish, which he thoroughly enjoyed. As our plates were being taken back to the kitchen, so they could pack up the leftovers, we heard an extremely loud "F%$K!" Really? It was like watching 'Kitchen Nightmares.' I'd expect that at Applebee's...but it didn't ruin our meal. We had the profiteroles for dessert. Loved the coffee ice cream + hazelnut sauce...didn't care for the dried out pastry. We def know now to avoid the apps + any pastry desserts here. Entrees are always great. —MarcVera
2008-03-02 21:34:42 Our second visit was much better than the first one (look above). Service was great this time and the dishes were perfectly prepared. The portions are always very generous. I also spent some time studying the menu before going so I had a very clear understanding of Chef Arthur Rogers' idea of cuisine, this time: he likes strong flavors and contrasts. As I mentioned here and in other places, I'd rather prefer more balance and subtleties, but that's just my taste and I fully respect his ideas. Just be prepared! Desserts can be improved though. Have a look at my full review. —AndreaCogliati
2008-03-05 18:09:24 I attended the wine/menu pairing last week. Food was great and fresh and the wines were well paired. I found it odd that the table was resting beside the bar but it's not a huge deal, it just felt odd. The pork was excellent and probably my favorite pairing however, for the price ($90 per person,all inclusive), I would have liked something more. Both Bellini's and Biaggi's does pairings semi-annually for much cheaper and there is much more food. The server was unfortunately very busy attending to a much larger party with the pairing so she couldn't go too much into detail about the pairings and food but this was no fault of the servers - it's just how it happened to be. I always enjoy the fresh food though so I will be back. —NightlifeCher
2008-03-24 20:11:06 My husband and I went there this past Wednesday for the Dine-Out in support of AIDS Rochester. The food was delicious! Unfortunately, we thought Wednesday was vegetarian night, so we mostly had appetizers instead of entrees. We appreciated that the portions were perfect, just enough to eat everything, but not too much to make you feel stuffed. And the greyhound martini was the best I've ever had! Freshly squeezed...mmmm! —MelyssaLembke
2008-03-30 21:39:32 Lento will also be opening on Sundays starting on April 6 of this year, we will only be open for dinner. In addition we've added vegetarian (and usually at least one vegan) option for every night of the week! —ElizabethRidout
2008-04-09 08:06:52 I'm pleased to hear that you've expanded your vegetarian options. I was a little thrown by a response to one of my earlier comments, informing me that there isn't a market for fine vegetarian dining in Rochester. For your average fine dining fare, I'd agree, but for a variety of reasons there is substantial overlap between the locally-grown movement and the vegetarian lifestyle. Perhaps someday I'll be back to give Lento another try. —ChelseaAllinger
2008-04-09 10:00:37 Chelsea: I agree with you, when we first opened we were unaware of the extent of Rochester's vegetarian community. Expanding our vegetarian options to every night of the week has been one of the best decisions we have made and I would wholly encourage you to come back! We also offer 30% off of bottles of wine with dinner on Tuesdays and $1 Oysters on Wednesdays. —ElizabethRidout
2008-04-09 21:03:30 Ive enjoyed two meals at Lento now and the ambiance is enjoyable.
I think they executed the menu and place very well. —MrRochester
2008-04-15 23:05:49 I really enjoyed my dinner at Lento last week. I had a great French onion soup, spaghetti and meatballs (sounds like a boring choice, but it was really tasty) and cardamom ice cream for dessert, which was delicious. The service was friendly and the pace was relaxed (hence the name Lento.) I wrote a detailed review here. In summary, my appetizer and main course were good and my dessert was excellent. There were no problems with the service, and the ambiance is very nice. I'll definitely return. —RachelBlumenthal
2008-04-21 08:55:50 Have always had really good food here. Service has often been below par for a restaurant of this quality. —RobertDavid
2008-04-29 18:28:32 I had a great meal here recently, but I agree that the service was borderline awful. Our waiter was aloof and not particularly attentive. When I asked him about they way the monkfish entree was prepared, he proceeded to explain to me what monkfish is. (Thank you very much, but I am familiar with fish species!) If I'm paying this much for food, I expect servers to have some understanding of what they're serving. I'll give Lento another try, and I hope my expectations are met. Rochester certainly needs more restaurants that cater to die-hard foodies, and Lento is certainly on the right track. —DougPortman
2008-06-04 22:28:18 went last night with 3 girlfriends and had a fantastic time. The menu is varied and the food is presented well and is very tasty. The server was very friendly yet professional. We will return. —RocDiner
2008-07-10 20:38:18 I know this has been long overdue, but I would personally like to thank everyone who has come in to dine and has been spreading the word about Lento. A lot has happened over the past year and we are growing and evolving into a fine restaurant. I am thankful for all the comments and criticisms both positive and negative, they have helped make us a better restaurant. If you have not tried us in a while, or ever, I think you will be pleased by the improvements, especially in regards to service. With the hiring of Steven Rees as GM in the Winter he has worked tirelessly and without compromise to deliver the most hospitable, knowledgeable and friendly service we can. I would also like to thank the die hard Lento enthusiasts who want to know where their food is coming from and realize that all proteins and produce are not created equal and this and this alone is the reason for the high end prices. A special thanks to the vegetarians and vegans of Rochester, you understand more about the slow food movement than anyone, and with the state of factory meat production in America I can see why you made this decision. I would also like this time to suggest Lento as a restaurant to just grab an App and a glass of wine and not feel like you have to go all out and get a huge, expensive meal. Lento is also happy to split almost any dish and many can be done as half portions. Finally, I realize that many of you would like to meet and get to know the owner. I would also like to meet and thank my valued customers, please ask your servers and I will try to come out to your table. If it is too busy, I am behind the grill every night, pop your head back behind the line and introduce yourself. I am proud of my clean kitchen and have no problem meeting you there. There are no secrets at Lento either, so if you want a recipe or the info on a local farmer or producer just e-mail me <arty124 AT hotmail DOT com> and I will try to respond quickly. So thanks for a great first year and hopefully we will be around for many more. Art Rogers —ArtRogers
2008-07-14 16:18:10 Had a nice meal here last weekend. Bread was flavorful, but a bit dry. We ordered an appetizer of vegetables fried tempura-style. They were nice and firm, with just the right amount of batter, and a tangy honey-vinegar dip.
My entree was grilled duck breast covered in berry sauce alongside crepes filled with smashed peas, herbs, and duck. The duck breast was cooked to a perfect medium, with a nice bold but not gamey flavor. The crepes were an excellent blend of flavors.
My companion ordered canneloni filled with feta and vegetables. The cheese and vegetable filling was nicely balanced. The tomato sauce was superb, with a very present taste of fresh tomatoes.
For dessert I had a slice of blueberry pie, which was a nice finish to the meal. My companion ordered ice-cream with a bourbon sauce that came on a HUGE slice of brownie. She found the brownie to be a bit bitter, but I liked the strong chocolate taste.
Service was polite and well-timed. Nice decor and layout. Two entrees, two appetizers, two desserts, coffee, and a bottle of wine came to around $110 - quite reasonable. —EastSideStephen
2008-07-25 14:14:31 Went on Wednesday night for their 3-course "taste of" menu featuring Morocco. I won't gush, since I already wrote a long review, but this was a great deal for only $25. In addition to the food, I think this is one of the most well-run restaurants at which I have dined. The staff are all excellent, and really know the menu/pairings. —EastSideStephen
2008-07-28 15:46:18 Had a fantastic dinner here with three friends. Service was polite, knowledgeable, and attentive. Dishes were well presented, creative, and generous. Drinks were imaginative. Desserts were amazing and easily large enough to split. I would unhesitatingly recommend this place, especially when you want to impress out of town guests with the gastronomic bounty of Upstate New York. —JasonHaremza
2008-07-30 12:09:04 We love this restaurant - this was our 5th visit. We took our chef son who was very impressed. The food was cooked to perfection and the presentation was flawless. The service was relaxed - there was just enough time between appetizers and entrees and we did not feel rushed. The only negative about this place is there is a very limited wine menu. We'll be back! —SueZee
2008-08-12 13:28:09 This is a wonderfully unique and refreshing experience. All the food is local and grown without chemicals or hormones. How and where can you eat better than that? The variety of dishes offered is staggering: fish flown in fresh every day, pasta dishes with homemade pasta, locally grown veggies, eggs, chicken & beef. Even in the winter, this talented chef uses the freshest ingredients available. To top it all off, the serving staff is beyond reproach. They'll do everything possible to make your dining experience superior to any you've had before. The delightful and varied wine list rivals any restaurant in the area. I plan to return again and again. —JaneDever
2008-08-24 16:10:36 Ate here last month. The service was at crawl speed. The prices do not match the quality or service. Charging NYC prices for subpar food and service. Was seated near the door leading to the outside dining area. Continuous parade of customers entering the restaurant via this door. Should be labeled better as to appropriate entrance. My duck entree was overcooked as far as duck breast goes. Didn't not send it back as it took an eternity to get it. —jmw2323
2008-08-25 12:28:47 My family and I have been to Lento four times in the last two months or so. We are all vegetarians and are delighted to have a white tablecloth option with creative and tasty food. We found the service to be attentive and great overall. The food is prepared well and is imaginative. We plan on returning as much as our budget allows. —RxScabin
2008-09-07 13:44:04 A little pricey however for us the service was good and the food was very good. Won't be here all the time but for a nice meal out we'd definitely go again. —DottieHoffmann
2008-10-27 16:05:40 Enjoyed dining at Lento for the second time this past weekend. The wait staff seemed excited and knowledgable about the menus, both food and drink. The meals were large and outstanding. Prices are certainly up there, but for a very special night out, there is no better place in Rochester. —BGR
2008-11-17 14:44:53 Had a wonderful meal there this past Saturday and was incredibly impressed. We LIKE to take our time eating and do not want to feel rushed, and we found that the waitstaff were knowledgeable about the product they were serving, and had an appropriate amount of friendliness without it being too much. Pre-dinner cocktails were inventive and delicious. We shared a cheese plate (Three NY cheeses - loved the Red Mech) and then I had the lamb stew and my guest ordered the pheasant. Prepared perfectly, the portions are significantly larger than you would expect in a restaurant of this caliber. The restaurant was appropriately busy without being packed, which created a nice ambience. Wine selection was superb, and Stephen helped us choose a wine that paired well with what we were eating. When we were finished, they called us a cab. Excellent service, and definitely NOT overpriced, considering what you are getting, in our opinion. Entrees were between $12 and $30, which covers a large range. This is true local fine-dining, and something that we have not seen in many of the cities we have visited. Rochester should be very proud to have something this unique and this eco-friendly available. Lists of the farmers that supplied produce to them are on the back of the menu, and they have "meet the farmer" nights. If you want fast and cheap with huge portions, go elsewhere. If you want really GOOD fine-dining, with true local seasonal fare, then seriously try this out. —StuartDavis
2008-12-23 15:11:43 Nice place, quiet and clean environment. Our waiter was very peppy and helpful. Meal was good too. Arrived in a timely manner and was delicious. They have great creme brulee. —SaRoyal
2009-01-24 10:21:16 Probably the best food I have had in Rochester. The place has an intimate feel even though it is not that small. The service was excellent, and the menu was very unique for Rochester. Please support this place! —JaredStrohl
2009-02-22 08:46:59 We've been many (maybe a dozen) times. Our experiences at Lento have never been anything other than stellar. Certainly one of our if not our very favorite restaurant in Rochester. Fantastic local wine list, inventive, seasonal cuisine that consistently arrives at your table the way the chef intended. Our servers are always attentive and often go above and beyond the call (our last server was downright adorable and when she forgot my wife's cappuccino and brought it promptly to the table insisted on not charging for either of ours). Still not convinced of exceptional service? This is how the matrie 'd accommodated us one night when our reservation had been "lost" at another nearby restaurant: found us browsing Bop Shop records after we had finished our glass of wine at the bar, came and got us, apologized profusely that we had to wait 45 instead of 30 minutes and comped our wine. And the desert complaints? De gustibus non est disputandum. I find them exceptional and often dislike the syrupy-sweet concoctions found on most desert menus. When company visits and expects a good meal this is always the first place we take them to. —RochesterGuy
2009-04-08 07:31:11 We have been to Lento several times and it is one of the best restaurants in Rochester. Went there last night for $1 oysters - great deal, and great oysters. We have never been less than satisfied with any of their food. Service is great as well. Desserts are to die for. Last night we had a cardoman creme brulee which was amazing - their ice creams are great as well. I would highly recommend Lento. —goldengirl217
2009-04-08 14:20:25 Lento is the place to go for a nice meal when you'd like to converse with your dinner companion(s). I love the decor with exposed brick walls, wood beams and white table clothes. I've tried the prix fixe dinner, carnivore menu selections, and Thursday vegetarian menu and have enjoyed them all. The portion sizes are perfect...you'll want to clear your plate because it is so good - but won't feel too stuffed afterwords. —EllenKelsey
2009-04-09 23:01:14 I finally tried Lento tonight with a group of friends after having drooled over the online menu for months. We went later than regular dinner hours so the setting was very calm but even so our table was set and we were promptly and comfortably seated (for 8). Not only were we promptly greeted, but we were greeted by the general manager himself who encouraged and clarified the Thursday night Vegetarian special for college students. I wasn't expecting such friendly treatment from an upscale restaurant (being a poor college student) and was even a little anxious to try Lento but I was very pleased with this greeting. The food was good, I had the sweet potato tamales that were offered on the vegetarian menu and a friend of mine had the gnocchi in spinach, radish and mascarpone sauce. Although the food was quite good, I do agree that it seemed to be trying too hard to be creative by throwing together a lot of (sometimes overpowering) ingredients, so I would hope to see some more clarified and supported flavors in the future. I very much enjoyed my experience and can't wait to go again. —JaredDavis
2009-04-15 21:06:20 I've been waiting to try Lento and the $1 oysters gave us the perfect excuse. We were very pleased with the visit from start to finish- the decor is very upscale but not pretentious, the servers are attentive, knowledgeable and friendly, the food delicious and fresh. My two companions had oysters which they enjoyed and each also had a spring roll appetizer which was also very fresh and tasty. I had chicken served over beans and it was fantastic. We all shared the apple crisp dessert. It lived up to our expectations and then some. We will most certainly be back. Highly recommended. —ShawnaLusk
2009-05-31 00:09:44 Love it!!! My husband and I went this eve. for dinner. It was fantastic!!
Duck Pate was outstanding.
Does anyone know who their rabbit supplier (farmer) is by chance? Looking for rabbit to cook @ home.
I plan in taking my in- laws when they come to visit from Australia.
Great job, keep it up —GretaKat
2009-05-31 10:59:53 Rabbit comes from Saturn Farms in Penfield. Their information is on the Lento website.
Charlie R. —CharlieRogers
2009-06-09 10:55:31 Went there this past Saturday (6/6/09) with a friend. Even though we arrived 15 minutes early for our reservation, we were seated immediately - even with the restaurant being moderately full. Service was attentive, but not pushy. The waitstaff kept a watchful eye on us as we dined, but did not interrupt us. Our waitress even waited to take our orders until there was an appropriate break in conversation.
My friend has very specific dining requirements, and as such, she relayed them to our waitress. The waitress checked with the kitchen staff, and quickly came back with options for her. I was quite impressed. I decided to try the rabbit cannelloni, and was not disappointed. My friend's tamales were also fantastic.
I would highly recommend Lento to anyone looking for a high-end dining experience, while still trying to be as good to the earth as possible. Hats off to everyone at Lento for this! —AdamLynch
2009-08-25 02:53:44 I'm vegetarian while my girlfriend is not, and we both love it. Their veg options are creative and enticing rather than after-thoughts like at most other fine-dining establishments. The ambiance and service is classy. The indian-spiced carrot cake with cream cheese ice cream and pistachio butter is one of the best desserts I've ever eaten. —JustinKramer
2009-08-26 15:11:44 Love this place. Great service, innovative menus and great drinks. I asked the waiter about our coctail and he sent the bartender over to tell me how to make it at home, so nice! I would go there for any special occasion. My huband's lamb stew was amazing and my vegan empenadas were to die for! —CrissiH
2009-11-09 21:03:25 Lento is our favorite restaurant. When we lived in Rochester, we went whenever we had a special occasion to celebrate, and we never had a bad meal there. The wait staff is excellent and very knowledgeable, their menu is exciting and dynamic (it always changes, you can never get bored!) and the prices are amazingly reasonable for the quality of meal you receive. We recently got married in Rochester, and made the excellent choice of having Lento host our wedding reception. They did an incredible job, and it was the PERFECT place to have our reception. We have sinced moved away from Rochester, but we have made a pact to always get a meal at Lento whenever we are in town.
If you are in the mood for an amazing, seasonal meal, go to Lento!!!!
-jon and caty —JonHusson
2009-11-24 10:33:02 My girlfriend and I dined here last week to celebrate our three-year anniversary—our first experience with Lento. It was a perfect venue for the occasion. The setting made for lovely conversation— low lighting, plenty of space between tables, soft-playing live guitar. The service was wonderful—attentive and very cordial— and so was the meal. The Wednesday night wine special (two dollar glasses) helped take some of the sting out of the check. We are already planing to go back. —JeffreyL
2009-12-27 11:39:52 After enjoying Lento several times in the past we were frankly disappointed with the food last evening when we went to celebrate my wife's birthday. The Verdura Mista was fresh and light, allowing the taste of the vegetables to shine through. The yellowtail in the daily crudo was delicate but needed a touch of acid to bring out its full flavor. My lambchops were quite underdone, while the 1/4 inch thick polenta cake was pretty meager for the $30 price of the entree. My wife's entree was probably the most disappointing: the John Dory was nicely cooked and presented but the crab risotto underneath was strong and "fishy" and the garlic sauteed rappini on the side was so bitter it was inedible. My wines were the highlight of the evening. We enjoy the setting and the service, but will probably not rush back for a while after last night's experience. —JGerek
2010-01-10 11:23:59 One of the best in town. If you want steak then Max's Chop, if you want fine dining then Max's East or Tournedos. If you want organic, locally sourced food that is fresh and healthy then Lento. It is the best of its type and one of the best in town without doubt. —sieats
2010-02-15 11:56:14 Had dinner there with my wife last night for Valentine's Day. It was our first time there and we were both very impressed. We had the warm goat cheese and leek tart for an appetizer and loved it. When the runner tried to deliver a second one by mistake we almost didn't tell him b/c it was so good. We ordered a bottle of the Enrique Foster IQUE Malbec which was listed as a staff favorite and I now know why. It is a wine I will be adding to my home collection shortly. The Entree's (Filet + Halibut) were equally delicious. The sides to me would be able to stand alone themselves as they were full of flavor while still complementing the proteins they were paired with. Our server was very attentive without being intrusive. Lento will definitely get added to our list of options when looking to dine out. —coopdel4
2010-02-18 13:05:51 Insanely attentive service with a twist of personality. Vegetarian options are pretty impressive (and this from a lifetime carnivore). Would recommend for a romantic date or small group gathering. Menu is quite eclectic, so be sure to look at their website before going (in case you have your heart set on a particular dish). —BryanHarrison
2010-03-17 11:58:13 My wife and I went here and were very impressed. She ordered the perogies, which were a bit sweet for my taste but she loved them. I had the monkfish, which was absolutely fantastic. The mussels it came with almost stole the show; the only other time I have had mussels that tender was in an oceanside seafood restaurant in Seattle. They have some interesting house cocktails which are worth sampling (and reasonably priced as far as it goes; I had one for $6, which is dirt cheap these days for specialty cocktails!). The best part, though, was that since we came on a Tuesday, it was $1 oysters. Oh my god, awesome. We are planning on going back on a future Tuesday and just sitting at the seafood bar and ordering cocktails and oysters.
Two minor quibbles: Our first round of drinks took an inordinately long amount of time. The waiter profusely apologized and seemed genuinely embarrassed, so hopefully it was an isolated incident (subsequent drinks were delivered in a reasonable time frame). In retrospect, they probably should have given us some kind of comp to make up for it, but the meal was so good we didn't even think to be annoyed about the lack of a comp. The only other issue — and this seems easily fixable, in case the owners are reading this! — is that I didn't get a steak knife with my monkfish. Not TOO hard to cut through it with a butterknife, but still, I should have gotten a steak knife.
And seriously, those are the ONLY complaints. It was fantastic, and we'll definitely be going back! —JaySweet
2010-03-17 12:58:19 It's difficult to heap enough praise on this place, except to say that it's the best restaurant in Rochester, in my opinion. The chefs take care to prepare each dish properly every time. There are many restaurants in many towns that attempt to do what Lento does, or attempt to present an upscale experience from a different angle, but it is uncommon for any restaurant to pay as much consistent attention to detail as Lento does in the execution of their dishes.
I had recently read an article on cassoulet, which I had never heart of before, in Cook's Illustrated. The article went into rich detail about the ingredients, flavors, and textures that should be present in this centuries-old French cuisine, along with the intense sense of nearly-religious reverence the French have for preparing it properly. I have no idea if Lento's version of cassoulet holds up to the standards of the French, but I do know that it tasted exactly how I thought it was supposed to based on the article I had read, and included all of the ingredients that are required in an authentic example.
One more thing to add: if you are a lover of game meat, you are in for a treat here. Duck, lamb, and rabbit are frequent visitors to the menu. —ErikReinert
2010-03-27 20:37:24 Went on a recent Friday with another couple and had a great dining experience. We all shared in some seafood apps (mussels,calamari, and shrimp) . Our entrees were all off the Vegan menu ( Sheperds Pie, Pierogies, Mac &Cheese ) and My wife had a soup and salad combo. All 4 diners were happy with their choices as well as the deserts. The service was excellent. —almorinelli
2010-04-06 19:28:30 I've been here a couple of times, both on Tuesdays. The first time we went we started with the cheese platter, which was tasty but a little small. In addition to the cheese plate (which included bread), were also served the house bread with a nice olive oil. It was great, but we realized that all that bread was too much. The cheese plate would have been better for us as a light dessert rather than a starter.
I ordered the pirogies on our first trip and they were too deeply fried and too sweet for me, more like amusement park funnel cake than pirogies. I think the dish could have used more acid, less sweetness, and been lighter overall. The cabbage served along with the pierogies was tasty, but it wasn't enough to save the dish for me. I appreciated the creativity, though, even if it didn't suit my palate. I could see some people enjoying the unexpected twist, but it wasn't for me.
My husband and I both absolutely loved his entree of monkfish, mussels, and polenta, which we thought was beautifully balanced, luscious, and lovely to look at. Either of us would definitely order that again. It was a dish that shined, combining some unusual elements with striking effect.
Our drinks were interesting and yummy both times, but in retrospect I think they could have been served slightly more chilled and with a bit more oomph. They tasted a little tame to me for some reason, a little too delicate. Lento does have a really smart selection of bottled beers at reasonable prices, so we usually try a couple cocktails and then switch to beer. We haven't tried the desserts yet, but we will in the future!
Both visits we indulged in several platters of oysters and, wow... I couldn't even begin to say enough good things about those. During the second visit we sat at the oyster bar with our one-year-old son and the staff were remarkably friendly. One of the oyster guys even brought us his own son's toys for our little boy to play with, which helped greatly with keeping him entertained. The three of us showed up early in an attempt to avoid disturbing other diners with a toddler, but even so we didn't expect the staff to be so delightfully accommodating. It's a pretty upscale restaurant (my single shrimp from the oyster bar was presented beautifully), so their hospitality with our little boy was a pleasant surprise and much appreciated.
Both times we visited the service was courteous and attentive, pacing was pleasant, food was creative and yummy, music was cool and atmospheric, so we'll definitely be back. Love that they use local farms and keep the menu fresh, along with having an ample selection of vegetarian/vegan options. I usually eat vegetarian and my husband doesn't, which can making dining challenging, and Lento really nails it with their thoughtful menu choices. This place is much needed in Rochester. —MariahBetz
2010-05-02 14:33:29 This is my favorite spot in Rochester to go for an excellent meal. I have never been disappointed in the creative dishes they serve. I also really appreciate their commitment to local food sources. The service is polite and attentive, the pacing is relaxed and enjoyable, and the decor is cozy yet elegant. In several visits the only thing about this place that I HAVEN'T enjoyed were a couple cocktails that were very strong and very sour; I will be sticking with wine or beer in the future. Overall, I heartily recommend Lento to anyone, and I wouldn't think of going anywhere else in Rochester for a special occasion dinner. —SusanVanCott
2010-06-04 14:35:20 This is what it's all about! No, seriously. THIS IS WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT!
Lento is the best restaurant in Rochester. You'd be hard pressed to find another restaurant where they pay as much attention to variety, seasonal ingredients, inventive dishes, fantastic drinks, and excellent service.
Every time I go here the menu is entirely different. Which I think is testament to the passion of the chefs and staff. Given that, the only thing that is a bummer is when you find a favorite dish and then it goes out of season. Also is why I can't comment on any particular dish, since by the time someone reads this, it'll be different.
But I can say that I have traveled all over the world and Lento is in my top 3. It feels like it should belong NYC or San Francisco or Portland, but we're lucky to have it here in little Rochester.
One of my favorite meals was when they did an entire 4-course heirloom tomato dinner, with wine pairings. And I don't even like tomatoes...
Oh, and Stephen is truly talented at wine and food pairings. Ask for him! —pdx87
2010-06-21 21:35:22 I soooooo wanted to love this place. After reading all the reviews, my own brother - who I feel knows a thing or two about food - really enjoys Lento. I suggested we go there for his birthday, as I know he and his wife really like it, and I was looking forward to going. Alas, my experience was underwhelming.
My wife and I sat at the bar for about an hour, as we had a babysitter and wanted to have a couple drinks beforehand. I remembered the raw bar from their website, so while we sat there with our drinks, we each got a couple things. My wife had two shrimp - which were small, lacking in flavor, and overpriced ($2 each). The crab claws were good, and the oysters I had were excellent (both raw and roasted were very good). What was interested was, while sitting at the bar we mentioned we were going to get something from the raw bar. They quickly gave us a menu, but then took a loooong time to see if we wanted to order. I had to do the "eyeball" thing to get their attention.
Oh, and their wine list is really lacking. Given their desire to elevate the restaurant scene in Rochester (per the owners' own admission during his interview on WXXI radio), they really really really need to bring in a wine consultant to improve their selection. I buy a lot of wine when I go out. Jordan Cabernet for $100 a bottle? No, sorry. That shouldn't be more than $75.
I started with the Tartare of wild Alaskan salmon. This was very very good, and ample. Flavors were great, and the quality of the fish was top notch. My wife and sister-in-law each had the vegetable spring roll, and again, excellent. Brother had the softshell crab... ditto... it was great. The appetizers are definitely a strength. The dinners are not there yet. My wife had wild sockeye salmon. The fish, again, was very good. The pan seared cannellini bean stew was, um, very al dente. I had the cannelloni with the braised rabbit. The rabbit was done perfectly. The chard was too bitter for my taste (and I like chard) and the tomato sauce was really nothing special. It reminded me of plain ol' tomato sauce out of a can that wasn't seasoned. We skipped dessert as my wife had to be up at 4am for work the next morning, so can't judge them.
SO, the food was, all in all, a mixed bag. It seems a little like this is still a "hobby restaurant" that hasn't quite matured - but they're getting there. I thought the real weakness was the waitstaff (at least, that night). Our waitress was remarkably inattentive. Maybe she thought the "slow food" thing also included the speed at which she took orders and brought food to the table? The bar staff were also really slow and confused about what wines they had or where they were located. Oh, and someone needs to learn how to cook shrimp... they're already dead - no need to kill them again! My wife and mom have no interest in going back. I probably will give it another shot on my own some night. I saw another review in here that mentioned Craft, Morimoto, et al. Yeah, I ate at Le Bernardin two weeks ago, followed by Veritas the next night, and LOVE Morimoto in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, Rochester's dining scene is not only not in the same league as those guys, it's not the same sport. —DavidGottfried
2010-06-25 10:34:11 We started out with the salad with strawberries, feta, and snow peas, and it was delicious. Also had a slider burger which was downright amazing (guac on the side, pickled onions). The term slider doesn't really do it justice, as it was fairly decent in size (they even ask you how you want it done..and they cooked it exactly right). I had the lamb stew for an entrée which contained rice, peas, mushrooms, and artichokes. Something about the sauce didn't do it for me, and it certainly wasn't lack of flavor..I suppose it was a little too strong. No complaints from the wife about her steak. After reading other comments about service, it was indeed very good, and met expectations. —JohnBarry
2010-07-06 19:14:57 Fourth visit to Lento last Saturday, and by far the worst service I have ever had there. Seated for twenty mintues before the waitress came to our table and at most there were 8 other tables there. Drinks and dinner were delicious, albeit the portions were small. Had to find another server for our check and left overall disappointed. Will not be rushing back anytime soon. —LaurenEdwards
2010-12-09 18:30:17 Definitely recommend going on a Tuesday for their $1 oysters; very tasty and fresh. They had a good selection and the waiter seemed pretty knowledgeable about each. While our first platter came out somewhat quickly, our second order of oysters took a fair amount of time (a large party put in a big order right before us) so our waiter did not charge us the second glass of wine I ordered. Great service. We will be back for the oysters! —MarkRizz