Black Iron Bystro
Sophisticated yet funky, this Blasdell restaurant’s cocktail program accentuates its fresh and inventive dishes.
Joe Graziano, bar manager at Black Iron Bystro, holds a plate of three seared scallops served with a small heap of red quinoa and a swipe of fennel puree
Photos by kc kratt
Black Iron Bystro
3648 South Park Avenue,
Striking a balance between casual neighborhood place and on-trend hangout seems like an impossibility, but Black Iron Bystro does just that.
In 2014, Bryan Mecozzi opened a restaurant in an old South Park Avenue print shop once operated by his grandfather. In 2017, a total overhaul transformed the restaurant’s interior, to create a more sophisticated dining experience. The remodel also added a full bar and a scratch cocktail program, complete with bar manager and Sodus native Joe Graziano. A massive outdoor awning and patio followed last year, and this year, Mecozzi, who has worked as the restaurant’s chef and owner, decided to cede his kitchen responsibilities to head chef Alex Diaczenko.
A seat at the bar provides the best view. Watching Graziano rattle shakers and the kitchen abuzz with the dinner rush is almost enough to distract you from the rest of what Black Iron has to offer—almost.
The cocktail menu’s Suave, Rico is a boozy combination of solera-aged rum, cognac, sherried vermouths from Lustau, and a bit of absinthe. The solera-d rum marries cognac and sherried vermouths with ease, creating a complex-but-balanced cocktail. It’s even better when paired with the restaurant’s scallop dish.
Scallops are almost always on the Blasdell restaurant’s menu. Since their mild flavor and rich profile create an ideal canvas, scallops can make nice with a multitude of sauces and accompaniments. Currently, the spring menu offers three seared scallops served with a small heap of red quinoa and a swipe of fennel puree. Small arrays of citrus supremes are punctuated with slivers of pickled red pepper. They line one side of the plate along with a delicate trail of orange and juniper gastrique. A few leaves of arugula add contrasting color but are otherwise negligible.
This assemblage is a particularly perfect match for the Suave, Rico. The nuttiness of the quinoa and the citrus play against the blend of sherried vermouths; the cognac does some light lifting in this regard as well. A hint of absinthe quietly mirrors the fennel puree without underlining too much of its inherent anise flavor. The drink’s full body and round mouthfeel calm how sweet the fruit-forward dish has the potential to be, especially when citrus is at its juiciest peak. Anything more acidic, whether wine or cocktail, would have drowned the fennel and citrus notes by pushing them into the background, but the Suave, Rico has the opposite effect, coaxing the best out of the scallops’ supporting players.
If you’ve not been to Black Iron Bystro in a while, it’s time to venture back. With ride-sharing services, small jaunts like these are easier than ever. No matter where you’re from or what season it is, you’re sure to enjoy Black Iron Bystro’s other above-average offerings.