It’s inevitable… Every time someone finds out we are the people behind Buffalo Eats, one of the first things they ask is some version of “What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten” or “What’s the best restaurant/dish in Buffalo?” My answer is always the same and 100% true: there’s too many options to pick from. I know that’s sort of a cop-out but in all honestly, and without trying to sound like a food-snob, we really do eat a lot of amazing meals in a lot of great restaurants each year. But, to appease Donnie and everyone else who might care, I’ve narrowed down my meals from 2013 to five that are the best of the best. In no particular order…
Pizza at Roberta’s Pizza in Brooklyn NY. If I could afford to move to NYC, I would in a heartbeat. I know a lot of people say that, and yeah I love Buffalo and all, but NYC is a food paradise. Last April we took our annual (or I guess it’s becoming bi-annual) trip to NYC to visit friends and eat our faces off. As usual, we tried to pack too many restaurants into our 3 day visit and almost went into diabetic shock, but it was worth it. We started our trip at the uber-hipster, uber-trendy, uber-delicious Brooklyn pizza joint, Roberta’s. These people don’t mess around and their wood-fire pizza’s are incredibly legit. The crust, oooooh the crust. I don’t know if it was the atmosphere, the added charcuterie plate or simply just the pizza that made the experience so memorable, but if you are in the NYC area for any reason and you don’t stop in, then I have no sympathy for you.
Wild Boar Ragu at Osteria l’Brincello in Florence, Italy. I know, I know, you can’t just drop everything and head to Italy right now. But if somehow you could, and you found yourself in Florence, this is where you’d want to eat. Italy is filled with equal parts mind-blowingly amazing food and terrible overpriced tourist trap food. And sometimes it’s really hard to figure out what restaurant serves what. It was on a whim and a random google search that I found this small Osteria right outside of the city center. Florence, among other things, is known for boar ragu and my mind was set on finding the best version I could. Not only was Brincello’s version the best ragu I’ve ever had, but it was the best meal I had in Italy overall, which is saying a lot. The boar was slow roasted over at least two days and the pasta was made fresh that morning; it was simply perfect. Delicious pasta on a warm summer night in Italy…I’m pretty sure nothing can top that.
Japanese Kobe Beef Tenderloin at Mike A in Buffalo, NY. We had the pleasure of dining at Mike A’s multiple times before Chef Ed Forester and the restaurant parted ways. Last February we went for dinner with my parents. Why? I wanted my birthday meal made by the best chef in the city. That night, Ed even got my dad to try (and enjoy!) squash ravioli, which is pretty much like achieving world peace. The Kobe was all my dreams and more, so much so that the picture of my meal was the background on my phone for a few weeks, replacing my beloved spoiled dogs. Now that’s impressive.
The Workshop: An Exploration of Grain in Buffalo, NY. Surprise, surprise, Chef Forster has made my list twice. I feel like I owe him cookies or something. This was another meal that was really a culmination of the entire experience; location, other diners, underground secret coolness-facter, etc. You really couldn’t ask for a neater setting. Wandering around the old grain elevators, still slightly buzzing from City of Night just weeks before, was quite incredible. And while the chicken tostada and family-style beef tenderloin were amazing, the corn bisque still haunts my taste-buds. If a certain chef would open a certain restaurant and have this on the menu regularly, I would be the happiest girl in the universe.
Dad’s Birthday dinner at Tabree in Snyder, NY. If people ask me for a recommendation for a “nice night-out” dinner, I almost always tell them to go to Tabree. Since Chef Bruce Wieszala has taken over, it’s only received ultra positive reviews (a 10 from the Buffalo News!) and it could not be more deserved. Fresh, local, top quality ingredients and one of the best chefs in WNY create a combination that will literally knock your socks off no matter what you order. I feel like I’m writing an advertisement here. But in all seriousness, everything we ate for dinner last July was a hit. Stuffed squash blossoms, Bruce’s famous Pork Belly Bahn Mi, and the ‘deconstructed’ cheesecake all combined to create the perfect meal. Tabree might just be in the running for where I choose to have my birthday dinner this year.
Honorable mentions: Every meal I’ve had from the Black Market Food Truck (in particular the Schmandy, the BELT and all arancini’s), Tuesdays at Larkin with Brick ‘N Motor Food Truck (RIP, sorta), the french fries from Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs and the most recent Omakase.