Sato restaurant aims to bring ‘real Japanese ramen,’ more to Elmwood Village - The Buffalo News

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Sato restaurant aims to bring ‘real Japanese ramen,’ more to Elmwood Village

Frustrated ramen slurpers of Western New York, take note: A chef who grew up in a Japanese noodle shop plans to get her stockpot bubbling in the Elmwood Village by February.

“That’s my specialty,” Satomi Smith said of the iconic broth-intensive Japanese noodle soup. “I am trying to bring the real Japanese ramen to the Buffalo area.”

Sato, a Japanese restaurant with a diverse menu of regional specialties and a family recipe for ramen noodle soup, should open next month in the former O3 space (739 Elmwood Ave.,, 931-9146).

Chef Smith said the paperwork should be complete soon, so she and husband, Joshua, can give Buffalo’s Japanese cuisine fans yet another choice. There will be sushi on the menu, but its specialties lie elsewhere, and the restaurant doesn’t have a sushi bar.

Sato will offer Japanese specialties that Smith premiered at Serene Gardens, on Grand Island, in 2012. The dinner menu includes Japanese curries ($14-16), and potato and beef croquettes ($8), plus new dishes like mackerel braised in ginger miso ($23) and buta no kakuni, pork belly with bok choy and chewy udon noodles ($21).

Much of the menu is blue-collar Japanese favorites, but Smith’s ambitions are finer, resting on fresh seafood airlifted from New York, Boston and Tokyo markets, and fresh produce from local farms like Arden Farms and Ithaca’s Thunder Mountain, with fresh wasabi root and Japanese wheatgrass in the works.

Her ramen style uses a blend of pork and chicken bones for a creamy broth, she said, simmering for about five hours before it’s ready. As it continues to cook, the flavor intensifies.

At dinner, it’ll go for $14 and come topped with bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, pickled ginger, scallions and chashu pork.

The Smiths’ Grand Island restaurant has closed.

Open: Pho Dollar, a Vietnamese family restaurant featuring the famed beef noodle soup, opened last week at 322 W. Ferry St. (768-0049). It’s the first restaurant for owner William Mai, a manager said. There’s no website, no alcohol yet; bowls of pho are $8-$12. Open seven days a week. (Hat tip to

Opening: In February, the Spicey Pickle, a Mexican restaurant, 463 Center St., Lewiston. It’s owner Aaron Rotella’s first place, and he plans a menu of burritos, nachos, chicken tortilla soup and more. Plus pickles, of course. Specials like a blackened fish taco on Fridays will be in the offing on a menu that runs $5 to $10.

Closed: Nickel City Cheese and Mercantile’s Williamsville location, on Dec. 24. The original store, at 423 Elmwood Ave., will still offer its cheeses, sandwiches and breakfast burritos, and its notorious mac and cheese.

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