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Restaurant notes: Oshun, Black Sheep, Schwabl's

Oshun, Buffalo’s new downtown seafood restaurant, opened its doors with a soft opening on Monday.

“We’re going to open up for dinner, and hopefully get a little trickle of people in,” said chef-owner Jim Guarino, who saw a year’s worth of work come to fruition at 5 E. Huron St.

Wishful thinking, he admitted later. A new seafood restaurant in downtown Buffalo is rare. Oshun, featuring an Art Deco interior with luxe touches, and a seafood menu set to change with the seasons, has piqued the curiosity of many downtown diners and drinkers.

“We’re going to do our best, but we’re really just working out the kinks,” Guarino warned. For example, the Internet system may fail again, taking the credit card system with it. So bring cash. Oyster shuckers are getting up to speed. So bring patience.

If you want to see Oshun without its training wheels, don’t come down before the weekend, Guarino suggested. Next weekend should be even better.

Open: Steven and Ellen Gedra started serving last Thursday at The Black Sheep, 367 Connecticut St., whose 60 seats doubles the capacity of their former place, Bistro Europa, on Elmwood.

The Gedras’ collection of locally sourced but internationally inspired soul food and kicked-up Americana brought them a cult following. Watermelon gazpacho and a fish plate featuring a variety of cured, smoked, and raw preparations is just the beginning.

At The Black Sheep, the unctuous flavors of locally raised pork appears as pork confit pierogi, pork skin fritters with chow-chow (both $7), and even dessert, in the apricot-and-cherry “brioche de cochon,” made with leaf lard. But king of the menu is the steak frites, $45, which come sprawled over house-made fries, with bordelaise sauce and truffled watercress salad. In keeping with Gedra’s penchant for local fare, it’s built on a 16-ounce beef ribeye, cut by Dispenza’s Meat Market of Ransomville.

There are also vegetables.

Reopened: After being hit by a sport utility vehicle in December, Schwabl’s reopened Sunday in West Seneca. The family restaurant, best known for its beef on weck, has operated at 789 Center Road since the 1940s. Operated by Gene Staychock and his wife Cheryl, it was closed while the building was repaired and modernized.

Named: Mike Andrzejewski’s transformed restaurant in the Lafayette Hotel has a name: Bourbon and Butter.

After steering away from the luxe ingredients and prices of the former Mike A’s, the menu, under Chef Chris Daigler, is aiming squarely at comfort food with surprises. The menu includes small plates from $8 to $12, dishes like crispy pig ear salad, shaved foie gras and peach tart, pork hock crepinette, and Korean kalbi short rib buns, plus housemade pastas.

Padded banquettes were added to the 60-seat room. The Art Deco bar will remain, featuring beverage director Tony Rials’ craft cocktail creations, a draw by themselves.

Opened: Guess what the house specialty is at The Stuffed Hot Pepper.

In a region whose restaurant menus are suffused with stuffed hot pepper permutations, it was only a matter of time before a place opened with it anchoring the menu.

Gino Paladino and Nello Williams opened the place at 9370 Transit Road, Amherst, in June. The menu includes thin crust pizzas, sandwiches, salads, wraps and burgers, including the stuffed hot pepper burger. That’s an 8-ounce burger stuffed with hot banana pepper rings and cheese blend, topped two stuffed banana peppers, on a garlic roll ($9.95).

You can check out the menu at

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