The Dockside Bar & Grill reopened alongside the Erie Canal in North Tonawanda this spring, having added a two-story addition, 100 seats, and an overhauled kitchen.
There are so many people coming to the new place, and the established Remington Tavern across the street, that on a fine summer evening last week I had to sweat finding a parking spot in downtown North Tonawanda, an unfamiliar and exhilarating experience.
A visit last week to the restaurant, 153 Sweeney St., found a nearly full house tucking into offerings from a tavern menu with upscale touches. Besides the usual burgers, wings and fries, Chef Dunbar Berdine has added entrees like a buttermilk fried chicken dinner ($16) and steampots, of seafood, and a vegetarian option, julienned vegetables and noodles in a red miso broth ($16).
Sweet potato fries with dipping sauce ($5) were house-cut, soft but fresh.
The house-made Tots were fun, softly crusted spheres of potato with Gouda cheese and scallions, served with an addictively sweet and spicy honey cayenne sour cream.
The Caesar salad ($9) was fresh and tangy, with excellently crunchy house-made croutons.
Pork carnitas tacos ($13 for 3) weren't traditional Mexican, with all that thick-cut red cabbage, but they were plenty tasty, with tender, rich pork and spicy mayonnaise.
The grilled fish tacos ($13), made with swordfish on this particular night, were a hit too, with flaky fish, plenty moist, with crunchy, fresh accompaniments.
The fried chicken (picture at top), marinated in buttermilk and dipped to order, was a thigh, drumstick and breast-wing segment. It was juicy and well-cooked. Its crust was a bit tougher than the chicken I had at Toutant recently, but it was a worthy chicken dinner, and I ate every scrap. The macaroni and cheese was lightly cheesed, but pleasant, with firm pasta and a crown of toasted crumbs.
As we ate, we admired the spiffied-up interior.
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