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Andrew Galarneau's hot list of places, lighter fare for dining al fresco

Andrew Galarneau's hot list of places, lighter fare for dining al fresco

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When the sun is shining, I want dining where I can soak up rays while celebrating the ways restaurants are keeping it fresh.

My cargo shorts don’t fit quite the way they did before my year of high-calorie self-care, so I’ll skip the hunks of meat, vats of cheese and deep-fried extravaganzas for now.

Here’s my hot list of places to soak up lighter dishes that beckon summer.

Marble + Rye cucumber salad

The cucumber salad, with cabbage, cucumber, crispy broad bean, peanuts, garlic, ginger and chili oil, served on the patio at Marble + Rye.

Marble + Rye 

112 Genesee St. (, 853-1390)

Open 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Cucumber salad ($10) is a rousing Chinese-inspired texture riot: cucumber, shaved cabbage, peanuts, crunchy fried broad beans garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, cilantro and other fresh herbs, all ennobled by multifaceted chile oil guest-starring tongue-tingling Sichuan peppercorn. Simpler versions have been on the menu since opening day thanks to original cook Dan Borelli, chef Michael Dimmer said.

Public House on the Lake

4914 Lake Shore Road, Hamburg (, 627-5551)

Open: 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, noon to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Does seafood taste better if you can eat it to the sounds of waves and seagulls? Ponder that prospect while gazing over Lake Erie from the grand patio, and considering the lineup of sandwiches, salads and seafood. Here, tuna steak ($15) gets sesame-crusted and seared to rosy rare, glazed with pineapple hoisin, then served with an Asian noodle salad and kimchi.

Frankie Primo's finocchio e rucola salad

The finocchio e rucola is made with fennel, arugula, orange and grapefruit segments, shaved Parmesan, sea salt and citrus vinaigrette.

Frankie Primo’s 

51 W. Chippewa St. (, 855-3739)

Open: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

The grotto alongside Frankie Primo’s, an alcove of serenity off the hustle of Chippewa Street, is an excellent place to soak up the refreshment – and the vitamins – of its finocchio e rucola salad ($11). This version goes past the basics (shaved fresh fennel bulb, arugula, olive oil, shaved Parmesan) to include fresh supremes of grapefruit and orange for a delicious, restorative tonic of a salad.

Graylynn Gin Bar and Market oyster and crab ceviche

Graylynn's oysters and crab ceviche is made with snow crab ceviche and tobiko atop freshly shucked oysters. 

Graylynn Gin Bar and Market 

537 Main St. (, 370-0029)

Open: 4 to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; and 4 to 11 p.m. Monday.

Quaffing gin fizzes in the shadow of M&T Center's gold dome branch as the train rumbles by is an urbane urban patio experience par excellence, pointed up by sophisticated snacks like oyster and crab ceviche ($17). Four Prince Edward Island oysters are topped with snow crab that’s been marinated in fresh citrus and herbs, then crowned with tobiko caviar.

Bistro 93

15 Cedar St., Akron (442-5363)

Open: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

This tropically inspired mom-and-pop bistro is a breath of fresh air to begin with, but the care put into the patio makes it an especially welcoming oasis. There’s a weekly fish special that’s always worth considering. Recently it was grouper in a tomatoey Creole sauce and bacon jam, with dirty rice and succotash.

Waxlight Bar a Vin

27 Chandler St. (

Open: 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The fertile fields of Western New York and the fertile minds of Joseph Fenush and Edward Forster give Black Rock one of Buffalo’s most creative menus. Case in point: root vegetables pickled Spanish escabeche style ($8), with preserved green almonds and dabs of black garlic sauce. Or kohlrabi batons marinated and grilled spiedie style ($7), served with a sauce made from piquillo peppers, mint, parsley and sauerkraut brine.

Calamari Dandy at Linguine's

Linguine calamari dandy features crushed plum tomato sauce with sautéed calamari and Italian greens at Linguine's.


5354 Genesee St., Bowmansville (, 683-6542)

Open: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday.

One of the bonuses to Vincent and Linda Desiderio moving to a bigger place down the street was that Linguine’s now has a covered porch. Out of the direct elements, customers can dig into the taste of spring most of the year with dandelion dishes here, like a dandelion salad (greens, house dressing, onions, kalamata olives, capers, asiago cheese, $12) and calamari dandy, a sauté with quid, tomatoes and greens.

Crab avocado tostada at Casa Azul

At Casa Azul, the crab tostada has chilled crab, avocado, corn, cilantro aioli, pickled onion and scallion.

Casa Azul

128 Genesee St. (, 331-3869)

Open: 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Your greenery fans might tilt towards the charred Caesar ($9) of Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, toasted pumpkin seeds and cotija cheese. Seafood fanciers ought to consider the crab and avocado tostada ($13), built on a housemade corn crisp. Chilled crab gets tossed with grilled corn, tomato, cilantro, beet-marinated onion, and chunks of avocado, mounded high and dabbed with jalapeño aioli.

Dapper Goose green beans

Blackened green beans at Dapper Goose.

Dapper Goose 

491 Amherst St. (, 551-0716)

Open 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Another Black Rock boite with sharp outdoor seating, Dapper does vegetables and cocktails worth a detour, among its many strengths. Get your chlorophyll levels up by necking a plate of Jesse Ross’ notorious blackened green beans ($12), served with burnt onion aioli and pepitas. Clearly a Broken Garden Tools cocktail ($12) of gin, celery, parsley, lemon, black pepper and Moroccan spice is the pairing here.

Old Man River clams (copy) shack

The OMR Clam Shack at Old Man River in Tonawanda serves a variety of seafood.

Old Man River 

375 Niagara St., Tonawanda (, 693-5558)

Open: Daily 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Fancy food is swell, but sometimes simple is best. For years, as the weather eases, Tonawandans find their way back to the clam shack behind the big blue whale. Among the burgers, dogs, fries and ribs, are clams, raw or steamed. Grab them by the plateful, along with melted butter, hot sauce, lemon and other things needful.

Tell me about your favorite seasonal place (not open year-round), at for an upcoming story.

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The Buffalo News: Food & Drink

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