By Christopher Malone
Eatery on Alexander Street takes care of out-of-towners pretty well, too
Before the pandemic, one of the greatest trends — and let’s be honest, it’s not really much of a “trend” but you know how people get on social media and try to “influence” — was Sunday brunch.
Restaurants jumped on this (they ate it up) and Sunday brunches seemed to get bigger and better with more complex meals and craft cocktails.
Mimosas, although still a favorite, seemed to be playing second fiddle.
When at brunch, all seems right with the world. You look to the group of friends or relatives you’re with and think of the great atmosphere, meal and that you could probably do this every morning for the rest of your life. Well, maybe. At least Sunday brunches give you something to look forward to.
And then there’s Locals Only, located on Alexander Street in Rochester.
It’s the only building winking at people passing by. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast and lunch. They serve coffee and cocktails. And for third shifters, like myself, it validates having a morning or afternoon beverage as a treat.
Although I only imbibed water while eating breakfast for dinner, the thought of a nice bourbon drink crossed my mind.
The shareable cauliflower bites ($13) is a great starter. The bright small plate is presented with a smear of avocado sitting below a stretch of lightly fried cauliflower, pickled red onions and banana peppers, basil and a dusting of parmesan cheese. The cauliflower, lightly fried, was delicious. The singed cruciferous veggie never seemed more appealing.
For burrito fans, Locals Only’s take on the breakfast handheld ($16) is not a small one. The small log consists of eggs, cheese and potatoes, plus avocado and chipotle mayo to liven it up, all contained in a tight, slightly seared wrap. Along with the spicy mayo, the dusting of pepper on the outside of the wrap adds to a slightly creeping kick. It’s not overwhelming, however.
Not only are the ingredients wrapped up snuggly, the seared outside really helps keep the food all together — literally. The burrito is easily cut and easily shared. If sharing isn’t your thing, expect to take home leftovers.
The sweet home avocado ($14) will get you singing. The open-faced sourdough toast is topped with an egg cooked to your preference. With the avocado as the food glue to hold it all together, my over-easy egg was joined by chickpeas. To top it all off: balsamic glaze and everything seasoning.
Aside from its look, the toast dish was nice and light. There was no shortage of flavor, especially with the balsamic drizzle. The chickpeas and the seasoning added crunch and heartiness. It disappeared off the plate faster than it came out.
This is a great spot to point out Locals Only’s online menu has photos to go along with each item. It’s a great little touch, especially if you want to get an idea of what you’re ordering. It’s a little spoilery, if you’re in to that sort of thing.
However, the morning glory ($24) didn’t come out the way it looked online. It was overwhelming, but for the better. The breakfast potatoes were seasoned very well and were crispy. The three eggs — cooked as requested. As for the brisket, I expected a few long cuts. Instead, it was a huge piece of beautifully savory meat. Served with au jus and scallions, the tender and fatty braised brisket was cooked to perfection, cutting so easily.
Before tip, the bill came to $71.60.
For those sitting at that Sunday brunch table saying you could do this and eat that every day, here’s your place. The bright restaurant is more than accommodating with food and service. The staff was especially friendly and upbeat, including Ian, who took care of me, and he was passionate not only about Locals Only’s stake in the Rochester food scene but the industry as a whole. Plus, Locals Only has a hip-hop brunch every Friday. So, brunch lovers, if you’re looking for a satisfying place with quality food and fresh ingredients, swing into this place.
311 Alexander St.
Rochester, NY 14604
Daily: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.