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Freshly baked brioche seared in butter. Chocolate pastry cream. Silky mousse fashioned from house-ground peanut butter. Bananas Foster sauce. Bacon-studded caramel. Candied peanuts. These are the components of The Elvis—a dessert so exceptional I can’t remember anything else I ate at the meal it capped. And that is saying a lot, considering it was served to me at The Blac…

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A small group will gather at midnight Saturday to eat brains. Veal brains, done in classic French style - tete de veau - will be one of seven courses in Rue Franklin Chef Corey Kley's turn at Midnight Mass. It's not a religious ceremony, but a culinary event, the latest in a series of pop-ups hosted by Ellen and Steven Gedra at The Black Sheep, 367 Connecticut St. At Mid…

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On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... •    Twelve sticky toffee puddings from The Black Sheep Just about every person I talked to about this list nominated Ellen Gedra's sticky toffee pudding, a contender for the best dish in all of Western New York. It’s a bubbling-hot, English style sticky cake made with toffee, topped with frothy butter, whipped crea…

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Three and a half years ago, I was appointed restaurant critic of The Buffalo News. Some 200 restaurant reviews later, my view of my job has expanded a smidge. My core mission is still giving readers actionable intelligence on where to spend their dining dollars. Put another way, it’s my job to find and proclaim the best in Western New York’s eating life. “The best” is a …

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On National Dessert Day, here’s a baker’s dozen of excellent reasons to celebrate. A few of these might be off the menu by now, but chances are there’s something else to fall in love with. Red Raspberry Rhapsody sundae at Antoinette’s, 5981 Transit Road, Depew. Because housemade raspberry sauce, ice cream and whipped cream has its own gravitational pull. -------------…

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The seasonal produce of Western New York is our reward for surviving winter. I eat my first lush tomato still warm from the sun, and somewhere the last pile of dirty parking lot snow melts away. Mowing down a cob of festival corn, the flavor makes it easy to remember it was grown in Eden. When I stand over the sink with my second Niagara County peach of the day, Western Ne…

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Steven Gedra, a leader in what I've started calling the New-School Buffalo restaurant movement, is giving a seminar on ancient grains Monday. Gedra, chef-owner of The Black Sheep, 367 Connecticut St., is the most wide-ranging chef in town. He recently offered lamb's head with brainaise sauce as a special. His taste is omnivorous, not just carnivorous, as in another recent…

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Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, in Buffalo Monday on a rehabilitation stint with the Syracuse Chiefs, proved that professional athletes don't always make news for the wrong reasons. Following a 7-0 loss to the Buffalo Bisons, Werth dined at West Side restaurant The Black Sheep and left a $100 tip on a $180.53 bill. Perhaps the 2008 World Series winner even p…

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In three years and change, I’ve reviewed 173 restaurants in Western New York. (There are excellent places I haven’t reviewed yet, for which you have my apologies.) Of those, here are 20 places I recommend first. I rate restaurants on a scale of plates, with 10 being my top rating. Plates are an indicator of overall happiness, with quality of food, service, room and pric…

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There's nothing occult about Midnight Mass, but there is communion, of sorts. It sure does draw true believers. Midnight Mass is the pop-up dinner series hosted by Steven and Ellen Gedra of The Black Sheep, 367 Connecticut St. It's been a sought-after ticket despite the fact that it serves people dinner at midnight Saturday, after most restaurants close. That's because i…

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Here are five top-notch cocktails to enjoy from the Buffalo area bar scene. Supressor #21 Lombardo Ristorante 1198 Hertel Ave. (873-4291) A smooth, velvety after-dinner drink, Lombardo’s Supressor #21 is the perfect blend of earthy, bitter and forest-fruit sweet. The sherry and umami Cynar are decadently rich, while orange bitters perk up the finish. -----------------…

Food and Drink

Allen Burger Venture opened its doors in time for St. Patrick’s Day festivities Saturday, with 24 draft beers and an arsenal of canned beers. At 175 Allen St., it offers beer collection that’s heavy on craft brews, but there is also Blue Light.Another heavy aspect is the handles on the beer tower, a collection of black wrought iron implements like pitchfork a…

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Sunday brunch starts at The Black Sheep, 367 Connecticut St., on March 29, reports chef-owner Steven Gedra. Dishes will include rosemary-basted Oles Farm eggs with Parmigiano Reggiano, greens, and polenta; assorted scones with housemade jams and butter; smoked T-Meadow ham with eggs, biscuit, creamed greens; and corned beef hash and eggs, called H.R.E.A.M. That stands for…

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Let's get one thing clear right up front: Steven Gedra has a thing for feet too. And tails, ears and organs, truth be told. An early hit at his previous restaurant, Bistro Europa, was a feast centered around a pig's head. Kidneys and brains and stuffed pig trotters have sold out as specials. At The Black Sheep, his new place at 367 Connecticut St., whipped spiced lard is a…

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Buffalo restaurants are fed almost exclusively by the modern factory farm complex. Ingredients roll along the conveyor belts and highways of North America, emerging from the kitchen on your plate. The system has groomed diners to expect tomatoes in January and menus with the predictability of atomic clocks. At The Black Sheep, their handsome new Connecticut Street restaura…