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For its first decade, Soho was a Chippewa nightclub, straight up. It served as much food as a liquor license required. The most nutritious mouthful in the place might have been a shot of Jägermeister, which does have 56 herbs and spices, after all. In 2011 Jay Manno and partners decided it was time to shift focus to the next generation of customers, people who prefer…

Food and Drink

Ownership changes are fraught with peril for restaurants. Even if the transaction is prompted by factors other than slumping cash flow, the transition can disrupt systems and working habits polished over years of trial and error. The risk is especially high for a place with hands-on founders, those who lead the kitchen and dining room staff from the front lines. Whether…

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In the movie “Blade Runner,” a bounty hunter chases killer androids through narrow alleys lined by noodle soup counters and lantern-lit brickwork. The movie is set in 2019, which seems exactly right when you walk into Misuta Chow’s today. The restaurant and the movie both rooted their look in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, where crowds fill narrow passageways behind th…

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Allen Burger Venture has nailed the art of the destination hamburger. The beef is better – grass-fed, organic, aged for deeper flavor, a patty that delivers more wows than average cow. The kitchen’s execution is precise, too, thanks to the years of fine-tuning from managing partner Dino DeBell and chef Todd Serotte. In a time when medium rare has been driven extin…

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The triple-diamond hotels that spend big on their restaurants – hiring chefs with recognizable names, designing a striking dining room with architecturally provocative wine storage structures – are in short supply in Buffalo. Despite the 2017 arrival of Sear and Patina 250 a block apart on Delaware Avenue, little has changed in that regard. To its management’s credit…

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Roost likes playing hard to get. The only signage is a small neon rooster in the center of the sprawling first-floor space, behind a door that does not open. After you identify the entrance door, on the southern end of the building, you might notice inky ventilator grease dripping down a nearby wall. Once you’re inside, though, past a bewitching rooster mural and throug…

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China and India are the world’s two most populous nations. Each have more people than the next five countries put together, and scores of regional cuisines shaped by the cultures, crops and geography of each region. So it's somewhat less than shocking that their culinary circles have overlapped in distinctive ways. One hybrid, known as Indo-Chinese cuisine, was develope…

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It’s not hard to pin down how the Black Sheep got a reputation as a gastronomic chapel dedicated to the worship of meaty delights. Blame meals designed with a roasted pig’s head as the guest of honor, or those Midnight Mass dinner parties thrown into the wee hours, where guest chefs scratched a culinary itch they couldn’t reach in their home kitchens, like tonkotsu rame…

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Even with the abundant lineup of Italian American restaurants on the Buffalo landscape, the places keep coming. Consider it a testament to the deep and profound love we have of Italianate cuisine across the spectrum, from spaghetti and meatballs to elaborate housemade pasta and shaved truffles. When Daniela opened on Forest Avenue, and I got my first glimpse of its m…

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Cajun seafood boil-in-a-bag places were a mystery to me. With the opening of Storming Crab in Amherst, and two more on the way, I figured it was time to dig in. The restaurant concept is a turbocharged version of a traditional Cajun crawfish boil. Those meals feature crawfish, or a combination of crustaceans and shellfish, boiled in robustly spiced water with corn on th…

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On the way to dinner in Akron, I passed the facades of Main Street buildings, carefully camouflaged for the movie production to start shooting the next day. Pulling up in front of Bistro 93, I wondered if the set dressers had been here. What I saw was a spot-on facsimile of weathered, brick-faced neighborhood tavern, cracked steps and a balky front door. The menus I …

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Discarding another former restaurant review rule, I want to tell you about a place that doesn’t serve dinner. To discard a rule, I need a reason, and this one is simple: it’s a genre-buster. For years, Villa Coffee House, a breakfast and lunch spot in Lewiston, was serving the sort of eggs-and-sandwiches menu you would expect in a neighborhood diner. In 2018 Stephen Pus…

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When Bacchus Wine Bar and Restaurant opened in 2002, diners by a window could enjoy views of customers sidling into the porn store across the street and young people exploring the boundaries of alcohol poisoning filling the sidewalks. The drinking hasn’t stopped,  but the scruffy crowd moved on. The addition of more food-focused restaurants, well-monied travelers at new…

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Once upon a time I wouldn’t have considered writing a review of a restaurant that mostly exists as a takeout business. These days, I’m trying to include more restaurants that make up a larger part of families’ weekly diets. To me, they’re worth highlighting if they’re doing remarkable work. This week I’m here to detail what makes Rt. 16 Chicken Shack stand out. It does …

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In the 1960s, psychedelics evangelist Timothy Leary popularized the term “set and setting” as shorthand for conditions that could shape the experience, for better or worse, of someone who has ingested hallucinogens. I flashed back to the term as I tried to crystallize my experience at Shamus Restaurant in Lockport. Before I ingested dinner there in early June, my last v…