Best of WNY: Restaurants, drinks and more
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:Â BEST NEW BAR,Â BEST NEGRONI,Â BEST PLACE FOR A DRINK AFTER WORK (SUBURBS),Â BEST INDIAN andÂ BEST SUSHI.
Haven’t heard of some of these spots? We challenge you to try them all!
BEST NEW BAR
A welcome addition to the local bar scene because of its unique theme and warm space, MÃ©s Que is a real, live soccer bar. Its name means â€œmore thanâ€ in Catalan, and it has successfully become more than a standard Buffalo bar. With beer choices ranging from Munichâ€™s HofbrÃ¤u and Staropramen to Amsterdam on tap, the bar has a plethora of drink options, including Buffaloâ€™s own Flying Bison. A rotating menu of craft cocktails and an array of tapas-style munchiesâ€”cheese, charcuterie, panini, pizza, and moreâ€”keep the crowd going during long matches. Itâ€™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.
Itâ€™s rather fitting that one of the areaâ€™s finest Italian restaurants makes Buffaloâ€™s best negroni, a quintessential Italian cocktail. The negroni sbagliatoâ€™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 erroneousâ€”as the drink is named for its serendipitous birth in Milan, when a bartender accidentally grabbed a bottle of spumante in place of ginâ€”but it tastes right in every way. Enjoy this refreshing beverage while dining on Lombardoâ€™s patio during the summer or unwind with it at the restaurantâ€™s bar, a warm and lively place any time of year.
BEST PLACE FOR A DRINK AFTER WORK (SUBURBS): TIE
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 restaurantâ€™s wood-fired pizza and other fare conducive to sharing.
Brunnerâ€™s-Â 3989 Main St., Amherst
Located in the heart of Amherst on Main Street, Brunnerâ€™s is a neighborhood bar in all the best ways. The tavernâ€™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 itâ€™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.
Taj Grill offers the areaâ€™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). Thereâ€™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 chefâ€™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.
Sushi lovers find Kuniâ€™s, tucked just off of Elmwood on Lexington Avenue,Â bustling any night of the week. Kuniyuki â€œKuniâ€ Sato, the restaurantâ€™s proprietor, is Buffaloâ€™s own Jiro Ono. Western New Yorkers enjoy Kuniâ€™s unadulterated sushi and sashimi among other authentic Japanese cuisine. There isnâ€™t spicy mayo, crunchy panko, or sweet, colorful sauces drizzled atop sushi hereâ€”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 donâ€™t forget to consider the specials, featuring offerings like octopus, toro, and uni as well.