When I searched for the best restaurants in the Finger Lakes on my first wine tour of the region, F.L.X. Table came up on top, time after time. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a reservation on our first trip. With seats for only 16 people per seating, available spots can fill up quickly. Knowing that, we reserved our dinner as soon as we knew we would return to the area, two months in advance. The trendy farm-to-table restaurant in Geneva, New York did not disappoint.
Because F.L.X. Table has two seatings per evening, you will have to choose between dining early and dining late. We opted for the earlier seating, mostly because I didn’t like the idea of finishing dinner after 10 pm. But if you don’t mind that, or if you can only reserve a late seating, you should go for it. You won’t regret it.
Dress: Business casual
Seatings: 5:45 pm and 8:15 pm
Menu: Prix fixe, set course
Dietary Accommodations: Yes, when notified in advance
Location: 22 Linden Street, Geneva, NY
Why F.L.X. Table is Different
F.L.X. Table (FLX is the abbreviation for “Finger Lakes”) aims to entertain through the cuisine, its presentation, and the chef’s preparation on display during the meal. Originally conceived as a communal dining experience, the restaurant has altered that model to conform to pandemic restrictions without sacrificing its “dinner party” theme. Diners are now seated at separate tables but served all at once, with each course announced and described by the manager or chef.
In an area with few high-end dining venues, F.L.X. Table stands out for its artfully prepared food served in a rustic atmosphere. Because the restaurant is located in agricultural upstate New York and not in a metropolitan area, the dress is business-casual, with no frills or fanfare needed or expected. Despite that, the restaurant is not a shorts-and-flipflops establishment.
As with all fine dining restaurants, you pay as much for the experience as you do for the excellent food. Expect a leisurely but lively evening. If you reserve the earlier seating, dinner usually lasts until about 15 minutes before the next one, more or less two hours. After our dinner, we could stop by a station outside on the sidewalk for a specialty s’more as the next diners began to file inside.
Dinner at F.L.X. Table
FLX Table serves a multi-course, set-price menu designed with foodies in mind. Although, if notified in advance, they try to accommodate dietary restrictions and food allergies, they do not otherwise offer substitutions. For that reason, a meal at F.L.X. Table appeals to those willing to accept the whims of a talented chef.
The night we ate at F.L.X. Table, a staff member checked our vaccine cards at the door and then told us to take a seat in the bar waiting area. Here, you can buy one of their pre-dinner specialty cocktails as you wait for the dining room doors to open and for individual parties to be seated.
You can order wine pairings in advance for each course. Because I couldn’t drink that evening, we were the only two who didn’t order the pairings.My husband and I were seated side-by-side so that we both could have a clear view of the chef and the person describing each course.
Because F.L.X. Table specializes in local and seasonal ingredients, don’t expect your menu to match mine, although do anticipate the same quality and style. The menu sounds simple, but the flavors are anything but.
First Course: “Farmer’s Board”
As soon as we sat down, our server placed a rustic board of vegetables, melon, and awesome locally-baked bread on the table for us to nibble on as we chatted and waited for the dinner to begin in earnest.
The board came with a trio of flavored and brown butters, a chick-shaped butter, aioli, and a schmaltz that tasted out of this world.
Second Course: “Snacks”
Instead of having a single second course, the chef prepared a series of small dishes or “snacks,” much in the spirit of meals we experienced in New Zealand. The chef announced that she had acquired some beluga caviar and that we could pair it with our oysters for a $20 upcharge. Every diner opted for that. That particular “snack” was the highlight of the course. The briny flavors of New England raw oysters and sturgeon caviar melded together perfectly.
Third Course: “Asparagus”
Molecular cuisine made an appearance with the third course. A hollandaise foam, airy and tangy from lemon, topped roasted asparagus. A sprinkling of nut crumble added subtle crunch while black garlic added depth.
Fourth Course: “Beef”
For the fourth course, we each received a slice of medium-rare flat iron steak on top of a lentil salad. The milk saffron aioli added creaminess, and the black olive tapenade gave it a tiny burst of extra salt. The beef was tender and flavorful, but I especially loved the lentil salad underneath. The green swirl you see on the plate, not described in the menu, was reminiscent of chimichurri.
Fifth Course: “Strawberries”
Our dessert arrived as a beautifully-presented and delicious deconstructed strawberry parfait, with the berries amid granola, yogurt, and a rhubarb and red wine smear. A crispy meringue kiss added both sweetness and delicate crunch. Although the menu said that it contained “chocolate dust,” that particular flavor didn’t make much of an appearance.
I loved that the dessert was as decadent to the eye as the rest of the meal without overdoing it. It provided a sweet, yet light finish.
The Verdict: “Fabulous”
Our dinner at F.L.X Table was worth the wait. The restaurant manages to marry an unpretentious atmosphere with innovative cuisine. You cannot be in a hurry, and you cannot be a picky eater. If you’re a foodie, however, with an appetite for New American cuisine, you’ll find a lot to admire in this farm-to-table restaurant.