Where to eat: best restaurants in Buffalo

Buffalo has so many great restaurants for a variety of tastes and price points, it can be tough to choose. Here’s a quick rundown of the best spots to dine in and around Buffalo, New York:

Northtowns

Carmelo’s Restaurant

425 Center St., Lewiston

Seasonal, locally sourced ingredients are crucial to Italian cuisine, and Chef Carmelo Raimondi takes that principle to heart at his restaurant. Antipasti and beyond change daily on this restaurant’s menu, so go in with an open mind, and check their cocktail list for any seasonal specials. The risotto with butternut squash, sage and chestnuts is worth talking about long after the plate is gone. The sweet and savory flavors in the dish featuring day boat scallops are incredibly satisfying, or try the T-Meadow pork loin with maitake mushrooms.

Tabree

4610 Main St., Snyder, NY 14226

The talented Chef Bruce Wieszala joined Tabree last year and brought his inspired approach to prepare fresh, seasonal food made from locally sourced ingredients. Tabree calls upon Oles Farm, Painted Meadow, Benbrook, T-Meadow, Dan Tower, Winter and Flat #12 for wares. Some foodies know Wieszala for his COPPA Artisan Cured Meat line, so it is natural that the charcuterie plate boasts his house cured meat and accompaniments, and it’s an ideal way to start your meal. There are a variety of French dishes to please, but the bánh mì is consistently exceptional and hard to resist. Featuring glazed pork belly, pork pâté, pickled vegetables, cilantro and spicy mayonnaise, this sandwich packs a ton of flavor into each bite.

 

City

Five Points Bakery

426 Rhode Island St., Buffalo

The bread at Five Points Bakery is 100% whole grain, made from organic Isadora hard red wheat grown on Zittel’s Farm in Hamburg. It is stone ground into flour daily and nothing is extracted from the flour. Go for breakfast and enjoy the most delicious cinnamon rolls around, as well as amazing toast, paired with lovely accouterments, such as a free range hard-boiled egg and gruyere or Nutella and marmalade.

Hutch’s

1375 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14209

Hutch’s is arguably “old Buffalo” dining at its best. Since 1985, the restaurant has been a fixture of the city, with a comfortable blend of classic steakhouse dishes and other approachable fare. While the ambiance differs slightly from the main dining areas to the bar, there’s an unmistakably high energy running throughout the place. It’s noisy in a fun and forgiving way. The menu offers many small plate options worth trying—consider getting a few and making a meal out of them. Try the simple and refreshing house smoked salmon appetizer, which is paired with apple, frisée salad and horseradish cream. A myriad of entrée offerings range from delicious sandwiches (the Pittsburgh steak sandwich or lobster club) to veal chops (herb marinated and grilled with baby Brussels sprouts, bacon and pear mustarda). Read the rest of this entry »

Come and Get It: 5.12.14

Buffalo Food

  • When you hear small batch artisan, take note. It might mean something special. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of trying Blue Table Chocolates‘ handmade truffles, get on it. I thoroughly enjoyed the little box of “Japanese Collection” truffles made in partnership with the staff from Sato. Black sesame, red miso and mint-green tea: all so different, yet collectively delicious. The black sesame was deep and nutty, while the red miso was smooth, milky and a touch umami. The mint-green was unlike the rest because it was white chocolate; I loved the filling, but the white chocolate was a bit sweet for my taste. I thoroughly enjoyed the array of flavors presented. I hope you’ll pop by Sato for a meal soon. Grab a box of chocolates to bring home before they’re gone.

Travel

Come and Get It

I’ve always enjoyed 101 Cookbooks’ periodic “Favorites” lists, and I’ve entertained including a similar feature on my blog. I’m taking the plunge and giving it a go to share tidbits of news about restaurants, recipes, media and more.

Buffalo Food

Travel

  • Sign me up, Tokyo.
  • I’m curious to try Cafe China in New York City: Apparently,they’re known for their duck tongues and Dan Dan Noodles (pickled mustard greens, minced pork, chili vinaigrette and more spicy goodness).

Recipes

Media

English Tea Time

I’m a tea snob. I don’t drink coffee, but I adore a good cup of tea. Unfortunately, a decent cup of tea seems even harder to find than a good cup of coffee. I enjoy loose tea leaves, but don’t discriminate against great tea in bags. I like a wide range of types, including green tea, chai and herbal varieties, and while many grocery stores now boast a large assortment to choose from, restaurants’ tea selections often still fall short. It’s fair to say I dislike the tea served at roughly 90% of the restaurants in Buffalo. Bigelow? Lipton? McCullagh? No, thanks. My biggest pet peeve is not that casual restaurants serve poor quality tea, but that fine dining restaurants serve some of the worst tea. What is that all about?

Recently I traveled to the land where tea time persists and tea options abound: London. I wondered before we left what I would find. Did their restaurants serve quality tea? Indeed, most everywhere we encountered did, and I was assured by as many spots to get a good cuppa as coffee shops. I’ve always been fascinated by English tea time. Growing up, if espresso and coffee weren’t served, we drank English tea with milk and a bit of sugar, yet as I got older, I gravitated toward tea that did not have milk, cream or sugar. Nevertheless, I stayed interested in traditional English tea, as I became intrigued by the trappings that go along with it — and not the cream and sugar. The mini sandwiches, the scones, pastries and dry cookies that come to life when dunked in tea, and all the lovely sweet and savory finger foods stacked artfully on a beautiful tiered serving dish. Clotted cream. Assorted jams. Dozens of teas from which to choose. Gorgeous china. It’s a production, elegantly presented and artfully prepared for the pleasure of the tradition. I was thrilled by what I experienced when I had afternoon tea in London.

Read the rest of this entry »

Zabajone Gelato from Gelateria Luca

Imagine: pale yellow egg yolks whipped as smooth as silk, and then blended with sugar and sweet marsala wine to create an irresistible custard. Next, add milk and make it a frozen treat in the form of gelato. It’s the zabajone gelato at Gelateria Luca, and it’s unlike any flavor you’ve had before. Few desserts make you mmm aloud and ask how it got so delicious long after the first time you enjoy it. There are even fewer flavors you can call truly unique. Smooth, creamy, and slow-churned, this gelato has an unexpectedly intense flavor and a gorgeous color to match. It also boasts less fat and calories than American ice cream because it is made with milk instead of cream.

Read the rest of this entry »

Buckeye Bark

Few people can resist a soft peanut butter center with a chocolate shell. It evokes Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, an 85-year-old favorite inspiring a plethora of homemade confections, including buckeyes, which are as time consuming to make as they are addictive. Time is hard to come by, particularly at this time of year so you might as well skip the peanut butter ball rolling and individual chocolate swirling and dunking if you can help it. Enjoy the delicious chocolate and peanut butter pairing with less work on the front-end thanks to buckeye bark. It’s as easy as melting, mixing, spreading, and setting—on repeat.

Besides being simpler to make in this form, the candy makes for a fun and unusual presentation when gift giving. Packaging ideas include: tuck in a cellophane bag and tie with a colorful ribbon; wrap in patterned tissue paper and secure with a sticker seal; or toss in small white candy boxes and call the whole thing done. If you’re really pressed for time, present the bark right in the tray and let your loved ones go to town, breaking it off, chip by chip. They won’t mind. Read the rest of this entry »

Orange Blossom Butter Cookies

What defines a great cookbook? To me, it’s a complicated question. I love a cookbook that offers practical tips hand in hand with quality recipes. I also appreciate a cookbook with gorgeous photography, human anecdotes and clearly written instructions with candid recommendations (the how and the why behind the steps).

I received the cookbook “an edible mosaic,” by Faith Gorsky, as part of a basket of ethnic food and goodies I got from the silent auction at Buffalo Without Borders, an international food event to benefit the International Institute of Buffalo. I’ve really enjoyed the book’s style and it’s fun knowing that Gorsky is from Buffalo originally. Her cookbook has a wonderful variety of recipes, with a focus on Middle Eastern recipes, primarily dishes from the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and more). While I’ve loved getting ideas and making recipes from the front 85% of the book, which includes small plates, sides and main courses, I recently ventured into the back chapters to explore the dessert and beverage recipes.

I’ve now made more than a few of them, but this recipe for butter cookies is the only one I’ve made more than once so far. My husband adores these cookies, and they’re a hit everywhere I bring them. I recently shared some with my friend, Smita Chutke, and I thought it would be the perfect time to share this easy recipe with all of you. The cookies are not too sweet and perfectly buttery — very reminiscent of a shortbread cookie. They possess a wonderfully bright aroma and slightly floral taste from the orange blossom water. Click here to see the recipe as I made it:

Read the rest of this entry »