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New York Times shines spotlight on Buffalo's Las Puertas, Chef Gonzalez

It's rare that the New York Times draws attention to a single Buffalo restaurant. In the past, travel journalists from the influential international media outlet have written about Buffalo-specific foods beyond the chicken wing, and also taken notice of the Queen City's rise as a travel destination.

But Saturday, NYT contributor Michael Kaminer delved in-depth into the workings of Las Puertas, Chef Victor Parra Gonzalez's restaurant at 385 Rhode Island St. in Buffalo's West Side.

The article, which you can read here, explains how Gonzalez silenced doubters following the closure of Jaguar at the Bistro and executed a refined concept - with personal tweaks - to a modern Mexican restaurant that doesn't stumble in the cocktail and dessert departments, either.

Equally impressive is the size of Las Puertas' staff, which comprises members of Gonzalez's family and a small circle of others. As a result, Gonzalez must embrace duties outside the kitchen.

“In Buffalo, it’s unheard-of for a chef to cook, pour your water and tell you what you’re eating and why,” Gonzalez said to Kaminer. “Only sushi chefs do that here.”

A New York Times feature is far from Gonzalez's first plaudit for Las Puertas. The chef was invited late last year to cook at the James Beard House, a recognition bestowed upon precious few chefs across the country, then finished as a semifinalist for James Beard Awards' Best Chef in the Northeast.

News Food Editor Andrew Galarneau visited Las Puertas for a review last August after a strong first impression in his Starters post. The West Side restaurant earned nine out of 10 plates, a rare mark.

Read the full report below, enhanced by Sharon Cantillon's photos, right.

At Las Puertas, a world of new sensations

At the close of Kaminer's article, Gonzalez gives a shout-out to Buffalo eaters for their adventurous palates and open-mindedness.

“This is an eclectic neighborhood populated by people who are seeking with fresh eyes, willing to experience new things,” Gonzalez said. “Buffalo diners are very generous. They trust us with the choices we’re making.”

The Oaxaca cheese burrata at Las Puertas restaurant on 385 Rhode Island St. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

*Points deducted from Kaminer's article for his reference to wings served with ranch.

Email: btsujimoto@buffnews.com

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