Nosh, open only since the start of summer, has gained recognition for their diverse flavor profiles, their take on comfort and classic recipes and beautifully presented dishes and cocktails. The interior is eye-catching with it’s high ceilings, impressive woodwork, and an electrifying chandelier hanging above the large 3-sided bar. Roomy seats make you feel as if you are sitting comfortably at home while enjoying a satisfying meal. The servers always have a smile on their face and are knowledgable about the menu items, sharing recommendations when asked.
The concept of Nosh began as co-owners Pete Leseska and John Nacca joined together to create a space with delicious food to welcome the increasing customers into the expanding Neighborhood of the Arts. Looking for a chef to head the restaurant and produce a menu that would draw in customers, Chef Joe Zolnierowski was up to the challenge. The opportunity to go into partnership with Pete and John was alluring. The original concept was an Italian restaurant and Joe was very familiar with this type of cuisine. After working his way up at Mario’s Italian restaurant, he became the Executive Sou Chef. Joe agreed that the original concept of Nosh would do well as an Italian restaurant, but he set up the challenge to create an innovative menu and promised to give 120% into the creation of this concept.
Joe explains that he has a true passion for “southeast and Asian cuisine.” He welcomes “bold, spicy, slow cooked food…with a depth of flavor” which he experienced in New Orleans. Joe grew up in Tuscon and spent endless summers in NY. He was introduced to Asian flavors from his mother’s side of the family and polish food from his family that lived in NY. Living on the West Coast created an atmosphere for eclectic flavors and Mexican food. With exposure to so many types of cuisine and flavor profiles, Joe has developed an ever-expanding palette that he draws from to create a diverse menu at Nosh.
The menu at Nosh is “fun and interactive” says Joe. “Whether you come in in flip flops and shorts or a suite and tie, [we want you to be] comfortable and have a sociable atmosphere.” The menu allows for culinary freedom from Joe to create dishes that come from classic dishes that many of us grew up on, but infused with a modern twist. Look for “underlying meanings” in the names of the dishes, such as The Howard, which is a pizza with duck confit, fontina cheese, rosemary, bacon and onion jam. The name comes from Howard the Duck (portrayed in comic books and later a film) that Joe grew up watching as a kid. The Tickled Pig is a 12 oz. porterhouse pork chop rubbed, or “tickled,” with spices. Drawing from these memories, Joe hopes that “the way food affects me will affect [customers]”.
The Brick & Wood fired oven allows for a perfect pizza. The open kitchen concept allows the customer to feel right at home. With a diverse menu to choose from, there is a dish that will appeal to everyone. My recommendation: order several items to share because you will want to take a bite off of everyone else’s dishes! Some of my favorites include the Conquistador Pizza, which is lightly topped with a guajillo chili bbq sauce, chorizo, roasted green chiles, queso fresco, monterey jack, and cilantro. The Korean Lettuce Wraps are also a must-try. I have typically had Korean lettuce wraps with bulgogi (Korean BBQ, typically beef). Nosh serves up this dish with fermented chili marinated chicken thigh meat. The dish is a “build your own” that includes bibb lettuce, some of the best kimchi I have ever had (seriously!), jasmine rice and quick pickles.
If you are feeling adventurous, take on the challenge of the Tomahawk Cut 34 oz bone-in rib eye, served with house fries and a marrow porcini butter! Nosh also serves up some delicious seafood, including their Specked Scallops, which are served atop an asparagus puree risotto. Crispy smoked prosciutto fans out of the center of the plate. The dish is then drizzled with a brown butter sauce to add a slight nutty tone. The charred lemon also served on the side of your plate is not a garnish, but is meant to be squeezed on top of the entire dish. Chef Joe explains that each ingredient in the dish is meant to be eaten together in one bite, which balances the flavor profile.
Randy Maier, the Head Mixologist crafts the delicious cocktails at Nosh. Randy and Joe worked together when they both lived in Tuscon prior to moving to Rochester. Randy was the bar manager of a hotel that had the largest tequila bar in Tuscon. Randy brings his own creative flair as he is able to concoct drinks using fresh ingredients. Each drink is beautifully presented. One of my go-to cocktails at Nosh is the Why Nosh which Randy describes as marrying a South West vibe with Rochester-style.
Nosh also serves up lunch so whether you are heading out for a business meeting, playing hookie from work and want to treat yourself, or just hanging out with friends for a casual lunch you are in for a delicious meal. My absolute favorite lunch time special is the Chi Town Top Round. Shaved top round beef is sandwiched in between Italian-style bread, topped with homemade giardiniera, melty provolone cheese, and served with oregano au jus for dipping. This is what lunch should always be like!
What to look for at Nosh in the future? Nosh is continuing to draw from creativity, as well as collaborate with nearby businesses to bring a fresh twist to the Neighborhood of the Arts. Look for a special Nosh brew at Three Heads Brewing. Also, bring in your receipt from Nosh and then head over to Three Heads to get a beer on the house! Don’t worry, if you decided to stop at Three Heads before dinner, you also WIN. Bring in your receipt as well, and you get TWO tacos and ANOTHER Three Heads brew for only $8! Also look for some upcoming seasonal changes in the menu, as well as brunch served up Nosh-style!
Watch Randy in action on my Facebook page to learn how to make their famous Why Nosh cocktail! At the end of the video, you will see a recipe so that you can re-create this drink at home! Be sure to stop by to Nosh and let Randy know that you re-created his cocktail for yourself or friends!
Also head over to my Facebook page to see Chef Joe’s cooking demo for the Specked Scallops served at Nosh. This dish is out of this world and easy for the at-home cook to prepare, whether it is your average dinner night or a date night. Recipe is also posted at the end. Let Chef know that you were able to re-create this dish at home when you next stop in at Nosh! Also head over to Rochester A List and check out the review I wrote on the Specked Scallops making the Best Dish List!
47 Russell Street
Rochester, NY 14607