Share this article

print logo
Buffalo

Generations of Americans have grown up believing “ramen” means instant noodle bricks, the cheapest factory-produced meal available at the supermarket, with all the flavor you would expect from a tinfoil packet of chemicals. Until recently, Buffalonians had to leave town to find the real Japanese deal, fresh noodles with the springy texture of handmade pasta, hidden in rich…

Featured

Years ago I ate dinner at a Thai restaurant called Sripraphai, off the 7 subway line in Woodside, Queens. That’s where I fell in love with Thai cuisine. Vibrant, colorful salads with a palate-wakening sour chile bite, resonant coconut cream curries whose complex spices bloomed in flavor like a gardenia bud opening in the sun. I’ve been chasing that dragon ever since. The T…

Food and Drink

Toutant would have been a hit anywhere. But when chef-owner James Roberts chose the address for the restaurant he’s been working on his entire adult life, he decided to roll dem bones at 437 Ellicott St. City officials had chalked the building off for demolition. But Rocco Termini, Roberts’ landlord, took a hard look at his proposed tenant and spent until everything was…

Buffalo

Ever reconnect with people you remember fondly, only to find yourself searching for that old spark? Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s them, but you leave wishing time stood still. I’ve been going to Pano’s since I was a teenager. I had my first glorious encounters with well-made Greek diner breakfasts and open-faced chicken souvlakis there, in the original shoebox. Last month I w…

Featured

The menu at the 755 Restaurant & Lounge is split between past and present. Half is American and Italian standards that seem almost inevitable, considering the space’s 35-year history as Macri’s Palace in the Niagara Falls City Market at the center of Niagara Falls. The other half is Lebanese dishes. ¶ A few months after the restaurant opened last October, the original It…

Buffalo

The best foyers create a good first impression, keeping potential customers comfortable while they’re waiting for the chance to start eating and drinking. More important than décor, though, is the host. A place that does robust walk-in traffic needs a staffer who is part traffic cop, to effectively triage the crowd. ¶ When customers have done their part – confirmed a res…

Erie County

A taste for fried mozzarella sticks has left me vulnerable to years of appetizer abuse. I saw too many pale, chewy sticks whose journey from factory to plate was interrupted only by a burst of microwave radiation. I had started to wonder what I ever saw in them in the first place. At Orazio’s, my faith was rewarded, with slabs the size of Snickers bars, clad in crunchy gol…

Featured

Decades ago, as a teenager in late summer, I helped a farmer get his sweet corn to the Clinton-Bailey market. In the field before dawn, we wrenched fat ears from cornstalks drenched with dew. On break I stripped cobs and gorged on the freshest corn ever until the milk ran down my chin. I hadn’t thought of those mornings for years until last week, when a spoonful of Carmelo…

Amherst

The Tavern at Windsor Park resembles an English pub the same way that an Outback Steakhouse represents an Australian restaurant. Which is to say, it doesn’t. That’s not a dark mark against it, unless you’re the kind of person who walks into a Bennigans expecting to relive your finest hours in a Dublin watering hole. ¶ Tavern at Windsor Park is a rebadged Perkins offering…

Food and Drink

If you pick the right spot, Western New York’s waterfront views can be splendid. The same cannot be said of its waterfront restaurants, which have drawn a tepid response from customers wherever menus have aimed higher than fried fish. A couple of weeks ago, I had a meal that made me think that dynamic could change. I don’t want to oversell Lucia’s on the Lake in this re…

Erie County

After 25 years at the center of Ellicottville, Dina’s Restaurant is as much a fixture as the hills surrounding this ski town turned year-round resort. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving as both a site for upscale apres-slopes dinners and a haven for hangover-beleaguered visitors seeking recuperation time, nutritional support and coffee on an IV drip. ¶ Dina’s…

Buffalo

When Kuni Sato cut his first piece of raw tuna at Saki’s, the Guaranty Building basement was the only place in town you could buy sushi. Now that supermarkets stock sushi next to the cold cuts, that seems as old-fashioned as asking an operator to connect your call. Saki’s opened in 1992, before he arrived, so it might not be accurate to call Sato “Buffalo’s first sushi che…

Erie County

Have you, or someone you love, begun to exhibit symptoms of advanced beer nerdery? Do you keep a list of beers you’ve tried, or found yourself discussing the merits of varietal hops without a frosty brew in hand? Then I would prescribe research before you set foot in Griffon Gastropub. It sells almost 100 beers on tap, from Pabst Blue Ribbon through a United Nations of wor…

Erie County

The rarest thing a restaurant can offer isn’t caviar from Belarus, or eggs from free-range hens that read Proust at bedtime. It’s a consistently excellent experience, from doorway to dessert. It takes capable people to perform the daily decathlon of cooking and communicating with customers, and they need the tools to succeed. ¶ Which brings me to my visit to the Byrd Hou…

Buffalo

For years, I’ve badgered Buffalo diners for the names of their favorite restaurants with the unflattering tenacity of a dachshund on a chicken bone. One name kept resurfacing, like that guy who pops up in your Facebook feed with bewildering frequency. Except this name was offered as a confession. “I’m sorry,” an urbane and well-traveled friend told me. “I don’t really have…