Best of WNY: Restaurants, drinks and more

Originally published in Buffalo Spree magazine, July 2013

For the eighth year running, Buffalo Spree has published a WNY Best Of list, highlighting new and old favorites around the city and suburbs of Buffalo. I wrote the following entries: BEST NEW BAR, BEST NEGRONI, BEST PLACE FOR A DRINK AFTER WORK (SUBURBS), BEST INDIAN and BEST SUSHI.

Haven’t heard of some of these spots? We challenge you to try them all!

BEST NEW BAR

Més Que
A welcome addition to the local bar scene because of its unique theme and warm space, Més Que is a real, live soccer bar. Its name means “more than” in Catalan, and it has successfully become more than a standard Buffalo bar. With beer choices ranging from Munich’s Hofbräu and Staropramen to Amsterdam on tap, the bar has a plethora of drink options, including Buffalo’s own Flying Bison. A rotating menu of craft cocktails and an array of tapas-style munchies—cheese, charcuterie, panini, pizza, and more—keep the crowd going during long matches. It’s the kind of place where a steady stream of friendly folks gather to throw back a few, take in a game, and make new friends.

 

BEST NEGRONI

Ristorante Lombardo
It’s rather fitting that one of the area’s finest Italian restaurants makes Buffalo’s best negroni, a quintessential Italian cocktail. The negroni sbagliato’s orange aroma envelops its drinker from the moment it is presented. Made of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, Campari, prosecco, and an orange twist, the effervescent drink is a harmonious blend of bitter and sweet. The Italian word sbagliato means wrong, mistaken, and erroneous—as the drink is named for its serendipitous birth in Milan, when a bartender accidentally grabbed a bottle of spumante in place of gin—but it tastes right in every way. Enjoy this refreshing beverage while dining on Lombardo’s patio during the summer or unwind with it at the restaurant’s bar, a warm and lively place any time of year.

 

BEST PLACE FOR A DRINK AFTER WORK (SUBURBS): TIE

800 Maple
Boasting a solid selection of wine and cocktails, 800 Maple is centrally located in the northern suburbs and provides a perfect place for happy hour drinks with colleagues. Its sleek yet inviting ambiance offers plenty of room to stand and coveted seating to spare so guests can hang at the expansive bar or find a cozy corner to talk. While enjoying beverages, patrons will be tempted to nosh on the restaurant’s wood-fired pizza and other fare conducive to sharing.

Brunner’s- 3989 Main St., Amherst

Located in the heart of Amherst on Main Street, Brunner’s is a neighborhood bar in all the best ways. The tavern’s casual atmosphere and unassuming appearance makes it endearing to regulars and approachable for newbies. A hearty beer offering, friendly and knowledgeable bartenders, and the fact that it’s a touch quieter on weeknights makes it ideal for taking in drinks and carrying on conversation with friends. Great burgers, steak sandwiches, and fish fry are among the favorite food options.

 

BEST INDIAN

Taj Grill
Taj Grill offers the area’s best Indian food, with specialties from north and south Indian cuisine, ranging from chicken xacuti (a chicken curry made with roasted coconut, red chilies, and delicate spices), to kerala black peppercorn lamb (lean lamb in a spicy, tangy black peppercorn curry with herbs). There’s an option for everyone, as the restaurant serves goat, beef, seafood, tofu, biryani, and many vegetarian dishes, which suit a rwange of tastes and highlight the chef’s aromatic spice arsenal. Its reasonable and popular daily lunch buffet is $7.95 and the Tuesday night dinner buffet is $12.95. The welcoming restaurant has exceptional service and boasts the healthful use of spices as described in Ayurveda, the ancient natural healing practice of India.

 

BEST SUSHI

Kuni’s
Sushi lovers find Kuni’s, tucked just off of Elmwood on Lexington Avenue,  bustling any night of the week. Kuniyuki “Kuni” Sato, the restaurant’s proprietor, is Buffalo’s own Jiro Ono. Western New Yorkers enjoy Kuni’s unadulterated sushi and sashimi among other authentic Japanese cuisine. There isn’t spicy mayo, crunchy panko, or sweet, colorful sauces drizzled atop sushi here—just straightforward, let-the-fish-do-the-talking options. Aside from rolls featuring salmon, tuna, eel, and tobiko, perfect pairings such as mackerel and ginger or amberjack and scallion, are favorites here. And don’t forget to consider the specials, featuring offerings like octopus, toro, and uni as well.

About Nina

Nina lives in Buffalo, NY. An adventurous home cook, she loves to eat, cook, bake & enjoy life. She writes/blogs about food, tweets adventures & other passions.

17. October 2013 by Nina
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