Dining Review: FLX Table – Geneva, NY
FLX Table had been one I was sorry to miss on our first Finger Lakes trip so I knew I needed to included this spot. When I wrote up the rough draft during quarantine and realized – hey, we should just go, I immediately checked FLX Table. At that time, the restaurant was still closed for COVID so I left it alone and continued wrapping up details of our trip to Acadia National Park. When we got back from Maine, FLX Table not only resumed operation but opened up reservations out six months in advance! Everything was booked for our weekend trip. You had to pay in full at the time of reservation and it was non-refundable so the odds of grabbing a cancellation was really small. I kept checking up until we left and a stroke of luck occurred – a space for two opened for the 5:45PM seating on Thursday. Not our ideal day or time but we were going to make this work. At $80 per person for a four course meal, I was so excited that we were able to nab this reservation.
We drove straight from work to FLX Table, not making any stops along the way and driving through some of the craziest thunderstorms. This was the carrot at the end of the journey for us and what a reward!
Our experience may be different than a normal night at FLX Table due to COVID precautions. Upon arrival, we were asked for contact tracing information and seated socially distanced in the bar area while the other guests arrived. We had the option of ordering a welcome drink and we had our first opportunity to get a glance at the wine menu. I knew we were in for a fantastic dinner just by this wine menu – full of diverse grapes and regions, well representing the gems throughout the entire world.
As we waited to be brought into the next room for different, each member of the FLX staff introduced themselves to the guests and somehow committed our names to memory. This was the first touch of some of the best hospitality we can recall. Each staff member was great about properly wearing their masks at all times. They also wore gloves and while I am very hesitant about the practice of gloves due to the high risk of cross contamination – we watched each of them changing their gloves constantly, even needing to bring out two more boxes during the night.
Like clock work, after Kevin and I completed our glass of Chenin Blanc and Brut we were escorted to our table in the next room. There were only six tables each spaced apart and for those that did not meet the six feet, there was thick and large Plexiglas. The room was small but I felt very comfortable with the way the tables were set up.
On the other side of the room was the kitchen – you could see everything that was going on. This was like dining at someone’s house. In speaking to the staff, normally all the tables are together as one big one to mimic a dinner party atmosphere. The environment was very relaxed and the interior gave a farm to table / farmhouse flare. It was very comfortable, even if we were able to eat fine dining level food.
Our tables were already stocked up with all sorts of goodies. First and foremost, each table had their own hand sanitizer provided. A container of fresh silverware was also brought out for the guests to access – servers did not touch the silverware. There were also a few plates already assembled, complete with beautiful glass dome that were removed only once everyone was seated.
Farmers Board – vegetables, spreads, dips, bread
Our first course! An array of fresh farm vegetables complete with four dips: baba ganoush, cottage cheese, chimichurri, and hummus. Additionally, a giant piece of bread was included with the four butter options: a regular white butter, a brown butter, an herb butter, and the yellow duckie (which was like a BBQ potato chip – yes its crazy, yes it was amazing). And of course, hand sanitizer at the ready!
This was such a fun display of food that ending up having so many different flavors to mix and match. First, the veggies were so good and I am not someone that eats raw veggies often – if they all tasted as good as these maybe I would! I think we both enjoyed the baba ganoush as our favorite but the others were equally tasty. I cannot continue without mentioning this bread… I do not think there are enough words to describe this bread. It was the best bread ever – it was soft on the inside and so crispy on the outside but held such a taste – I think it was fried or something because I can’t think of another reason this bread was so fantastic. Playing with the different butters was so fun – and that duckie was so stinking adorable and delicious! Just like a BBQ potato chip as a butter. The brown butter was also delightful and sophisticated. We held onto that bread and butter for the entire meal and left nothing behind.
After seeing the wine menu and hearing from the staff, we opted for the “Baller Tasting” wine pairing option. Picking one bottle to enjoy off this wine menu was going to be impossible. What interested us the most was that it was a customizes pairing which is not something we have seen before. They did not have four stock bottles that would be served or a pre-selected bottle for each dish – it really was a varied and sometime each table got something completely different even though the meals were the same. So so so cool!
The first wine was slated for a champagne but we asked to jump right into the wine. And to our delight two bottle of white wine appeared for the Farmer’s Board pairing – a French Chardonnay (Louis Latour En Caradeux, Pernand-Vergelesses Premier Cru, France) and an Austrian Gruner (Schloss Gobelsburg Ried Lamm Gruner Veltliner Erste OTW Lage, Kamptal DAC, Austria). We each got to try one and that means we both we able to try both! The Gruner was refreshing and the Chardonnay was just elegant. Both were fantastic and we were so thrilled to have picked the wine paring option.
Phew! That was a lot of writing and that was only the first course!
Hors D’Ouvers – snacks, joy, and heart
Next a series of small plates (I mean one bit small) came out, almost amuse bouche style but not quite.
Prosciutto and Apple
The first item was four slices of four year old prosciutto with four slices of compressed apples. Just to smell the prosciutto… took us right back to one of our final trips before COVID quarantine in Bologna where we saw the entire process from start to finish of making prosciutto. And boy does that funky smell carry through. We were so happy!
Smoked Chicken Broth
In a tiny cup but a powerful punch, this packed quite a kick on the back end which I was not expecting but the smokey flavor was just too good not to drink.
Pickled Duck Heart
It was hard to tell on the plate when it was brought over – what is this? A mushroom? It was definitely pickled- but of what? Apparently this is one of the dishes that put FLX Table on the map and the owner’s favorite – pickled duck heart. While some in the room grimaced at the thought of trying this, Kevin and I smiled, cheers!’ed our forks and nom nom nom’ed. Delicious, as expected. I think we could have used a few more of these they were so good – quarter of a heart is not enough!
A single chicharon on a block. Nothing wrong with that! This was also wonderful and could have used an entire container to nibble on throughout the meal.
And with that, our hors d’ouvres second course was complete! Another fun and creative way to give guests a wide variety of flavors to showcase the chef’s abilities.
Yellow Zuchinni – tomato, picked daikon, extra virgin olive oil, capers
What a beautiful dish! The colors were so vibrant, you did not want to touch it. The first surprise was that it was not a warm soup but a cold one. I was concerned about the cucumber over powering the mild zucchini flavor but it was just enough to add a refreshing touch to it. Additionally, there were tomatoes and capers. But not just any capers… fried capers! This was our new favorite thing. Among the freshness, cool, and bright features of the dish where crispy, salty fried capers. So great!
Our wine pairing was technically classified as an Italian white wine (Paolo Bea Santa Chiara Bianco Umbria IGT, Italy) but it certainly did not look so in the glass – orange! (It is not classified as an “orange wine” since that color is a result of the wine making process) And this is why we love wine pairings because we would have never had the opportunity to try such a unique wine! I don’t think I could have an entire bottle of this one but it was super fun to learn about and try.
Lamb – preserved lemon, cucumber, black olive, couscous
When I saw lamb on the menu, I expected a leg or filet of sorts. No, no – these guys turned it into a terrine! A tasty couscous accompanied the lamb along with some spectacular mushrooms. I am not an olive fan but they were easy enough to pick out. Not sure what the yellow cream was – like a mayo of sorts – but it was a great compliment to the terrine. We both really loved this course – delicious!
Our sommelier disclosed he recently relocated to the Finger Lakes from Washington and so our next pairing reflected that. Echolands Syrah Les Collines Vineyard Walla Walla Valley AVA was a lovely Syrah, nicely settled in between the French Syrah complexity and the California Syrah boldness. Sounds like we have another wine region to add to our list!
Cherries – tonka bean panna cotta, elderflower
If you had followed any of my dining reviews, you know that I am all chocolate or go home. And cherries are definitely not my fruit of choice. But this is why these tastings are great – it forces you to try things you would never order and potentially discover new favorites. While I would not say it was a new favorite, this was actually a surprising delicious! The cherries were not tart but sweet and juicy. The panna cotta was fresh and so creamy. The pieces of meringue were a fun addition for added texture. While it was not chocolate, this was pretty darn alright. Oh, and do not forget that elderflower to top it off … #fancy.
But more impressive was the dessert wine our sommelier brought over. A 1990 Chateau de la Guimoniere Coteaux du Layon Chaume, Loire, France – all the feels for this! Strong apricot, honey, melon with low “alcohol” flavor that can accompany dessert wine. I know we could have easily had another glass of this one.
And then the final bonus dessert was in the building next door – conveniently owned by FLX as well – FLX Provisions – and a creative way to get guests out of the restaurant for the next seating at 8:15PM. We entered through an adjoining door into FLX Provisions. The place is full of wine top to bottom! Another staff member greeted us and showed us our last dessert … freshly roasted marshmallows.
What a treat! Especially after all these weeks in quarantine this really did feel like the most luxurious thing ever and we felt super safe doing it (thank you to everyone for all their efforts around COVID precautions!). This meal far exceeded our expectations and we almost did not get in. Heck, I would drive five hours again just to eat here and do nothing else it was that good. The menu turns over completely around every month… we have done crazier things and this was (and would be) well worth the commute.
Even if you are not into wine pairings or alcohol, the food stands on its own and I felt like it was a good value. We also did not leave feel enormous which is a huge win for us these days. But if you are into wine, this was a great place to add the tasting option! The Sommelier we had (and I hate that I forgot his name, it is not like me!) was so incredible. He worked hard all time tapping into their enormous Coravin to pour wines from all sorts of bottles to customize everyone’s tasting experience. So unique and thoughtful. Thank you for a great wine evening!
Speak of the staff, they were all fun, personable, and super attentive. It was a small operation much like those we observed in Paris – two people in the kitchen and three working the floor. They all learned our names for the meal (impressive) and took time to speak with all six tables individually. Since this was unlike their normal set up on a convivial meal, about half way through the meal they put dry erase signs on all the tables as an ice breaker. The signs faced the opposite of the people at that table and indicated the names of that table and something about them so the other tables could read and start a conversation. Very creative way to bring everyone together even if we had to be six feet apart.
Overall, we loved this meal, would go out of our way to experience it again, and would tell anyone asking for recommendations in the Finger Lakes to do whatever you could to snag a reservation at FLX Table.