Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Finger Lakes Restaurant Week Spotlight: The Cellar

Sarah Hassler Executive ChefA sleek and sexy restaurant located in Corning,

boasts an impressive wine list and innovative menu. With the cooking chops and know-how to please meat-lovers and vegetarians alike, diners can choose from a thoughtfully composed menu that spans all culinary traditions while keeping things as local as possible.

That willing-to-please attitude combined with fine dining know-how helped The Cellar grow into one of the most popular restaurants in the region. Chef Sarah Hassler has a knack for flavor pairing, bringing Finger Lakes ingredients to the table whenever possible.

“Seeing your farmers on a day-to-day basis really makes you want to use their products,” Hassler says, noting that in creating the Restaurant Week menu, she visited both the Ithaca and Corning markets in addition to drawing from her pre-existing network of farmers. “I talked to every farmer I could find!” she says.

She’s adamant about using in-season ingredients, and making the very most out of them as well. Some fresh, organic beets she purchased are finding their way onto three separate menu items at The Cellar: the stems, which were pickled, are a garnish for the restaurant’s bloody mary, the greens are making an appearance as a side dish, and the root was turned into a creamy puree that’s paired with a farro risotto.

With Hassler’s reverence for the agricultural community, humble local ingredients get the royal treatment. She cooks with an astute attention to detail and the plates she creates have a distinctly cosmopolitan flair.

As an added bonus, diners will enjoy some of the best wine in the Finger Lakes with their Restaurant Week meal; The Cellar is known for its high-end collection of Finger Lakes bottles. “I haven’t chosen the wines yet,” Hassler confessed to me, adding that she wanted to taste all of the food first in order to pick the perfect bottles. “But Riesling and Pinot Noir, some of the grapes that grow extremely well here, are perfect food wines.”

No matter what wines grace the Restaurant Week menu at The Cellar, they’re sure to be delicious, they’re sure to complement the food, and it’s sure to be a memorable meal.

The Cellar - 607.377.5552

Author Bio:

Rochelle Bilowdescribe the image

Rochelle is a food and wine writer with a focus on seasonal cooking and sustainable agriculture. She’s also a classically-trained chef who spent the last year working on a full-diet, draft-powered farm in Central New York. Visit her at, on Twitter at @RochelleBilow or on Instagram at RochelleBilow to learn more.

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