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Erie County

If you are looking for a Mexican restaurant in Buffalo serving deeply favored al pastor tacos that transport you for a moment to that dusty Mexico City mercado, you’re going to have to keep looking. If you crave a hot plate of gringo Mexican, where tacos mean ground beef by default, spice means black pepper and white Velveeta-like queso flows like lava, you’re in luck at E…

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It’s been 20 years since the Squire Shop, known for its bison-emblazoned silk ties, closed at the corner of Main and Fruehauf streets in Snyder. The men’s clothing emporium was followed by a succession of restaurants, most recently Brodo, that took over the space. But enough locals remembered the address fondly that its new operators thought the name suited it well. As Squ…

Buffalo

When Saigon Café opened next to Coles in 2001, it wasn’t the first Vietnamese place in Buffalo, but it was the first to present Vietnamese cuisine in genteel style, as befitting its Elmwood Village address. Last year, the restaurant moved a mile south to a bigger space with a full bar, and expanded its Vietnamese and Thai menu with more Vietnamese specialties. When I visit…

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Lewiston might be the East Aurora of Niagara County. It’s a village with historic bones and enough bustling businesses to make a wander down Main Street an interesting stroll instead of a maudlin vacancy census. Restaurants abound, with a barbecue joint, Italian red sauce and fine dining, family diners, Mexican fast food and Chinese takeout. What it didn’t have, until Cent…

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The three most important things about real estate are supposed to be location, location, location, right? Then I arrived at Linguine’s, in Bowmansville, to find a space wedged into a gas-station-dominated plaza that should be impossible for the survival of a successful upscale casual Italian restaurant. Yet Linguine’s has not only persisted there since 1998, it has thrived…

Erie County

Once you’re out past the streetlights, and the traffic thins out, the restaurant game is dire. Winter is always coming, even in mosquito season. Country restaurant menus tend to be built for survival, focusing on least-common-denominator dishes for people who would never use the word “cuisine” to refer to their food. ¶ A funny thing happened on the way to Kissing Bridge.…

Buffalo

The Taj Mahal is delicious eye candy, architecturally speaking. Bollywood dance numbers are toe-tapping visual feasts. But Indian cuisine, as expressed in Western New York restaurants, isn’t much to look at. The dosa changes all that. It’s a pizza-sized, crispy-edged crepe, rolled into a bazooka-caliber tube that hides a payload of spiced potato. It demands action as you t…

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I’m not sure what Buffalo did to deserve Burmese restaurants, or if I even believe in civic karma to begin with, but this I do believe: they are a blessing. At once familiar and exotic, Burmese cuisine’s melding of Thai and Indian – two once-scary cuisines now blended into our dining vernacular – makes it one of the safest bets in town for seekers of edible adventure, offe…

Erie County

Considering how many Greeks run restaurants in this town, it shouldn’t be so hard to buy compelling Greek food. Open-faced chicken souvlakis and other “Greek” salads built on lettuce – a practice as Greek as chopsticks – don’t count. When I have a hankering for a proper moussaka, a spiced beef and eggplant casserole topped with creamy béchamel, welcoming as a yiayia’s hug,…

Erie County

As The Buffalo News’ designated diner, I’m just one guy hunting for gems amid Western New York’s hundreds of places to eat. So I badger people for their favorites. In the Southtowns “special occasion” class, Rick’s on Main flies to the lips of a remarkable number of people. I finally went last month, and my faith in the wisdom of crowds was restored. In a two-story brick-a…

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The bargain hunters of Buffalo did not need Guy Fieri to tell them about Mulberry. The Lackawanna restaurant already had made a name for itself, dishing up coconut-sized meatballs and lasagnas that loomed over the table like the Matterhorn. When it takes a village to finish a plate of pasta, a place in Buffalo’s Red Sauce Hall of Fame is all but assured. After the spiky-h…

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There is something cold-blooded about eating delicious fish while watching other, more exotic fish cavort colorfully in a saltwater tank. But the blossoming of Niagara Seafood from a spartan, freezer-lined seafood store to a snazzy restaurant full of eye candy is too engaging to turn away. Owner Michael Nguyen has hired new cooks for his restaurant, and expanded the Vietna…

Food and Drink

Fine dining restaurants are where you celebrate annual landmarks, with pampering appropriate for anniversaries, birthdays and other events that mark a new year. Family restaurants are where you celebrate that you’ve survived another day. A month ago, when I visited Curry’s for the first time, its small parking lot was shrunk even further by snow piles the size of minor Al…

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Since it opened in 2004, Tempo has been one of the most impressive restaurants in Buffalo. In 2012, Buffalo Bills brass took Mario Williams to the converted Delaware Avenue mansion for a steak while wooing the sought-after free agent. Williams decided he could live in Buffalo. Tempo remains a reliable purveyor of luxe Italian treats, presented with first-class service. Me…

Food and Drink

It takes guts to open your own restaurant. You can fine-tune the building, and hone the menu, and do everything else needful to serve tasty food in a comfortable space, only to have the most business-annihilating February in recorded history punch you in the nose. The crew at Buffalo Supper Club are Black Rock tough. When we visited, on a night so cold it hurt to breathe,…