Short trips to Buffalo, my hometown, always leave me wishing I had more time, either to visit the excellent Albright Knox Gallery or to catch some free Shakespeare in Delaware Park. With little time to work with this past weekend, I prioritized like a true Buffalonian — by eating and drinking my way through 72 hours.
I set aside Friday afternoon for lunch at the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery. Locals pack this massive historic brick building before Sabres games, swilling a full slate of flagship and seasonal microbrews and dining on hearty entrees that are a cut above typical pub fare, like mushroom-slathered meatloaf with mashed potatos and crisp, fresh veggies. The Street Brawler oatmeal stout tops my list of microbrews, but the Lake Effect American pale ale should not be missed.
And speaking of the Buffalo Sabres, my party dined adjacent to them at Mother’s the following night. Tucked away in a Victorian mansion on Virginia Place off Delaware Avenue, Mother’s offers the best fine dining in the Queen City. The permanent entree menu, while well executed, isn’t particularly exciting. Friends and I usually go family style on more inspired appetizers and share specials. The pan-seared ahi ahi with wasabi mashed potatoes and baby bok choy was the big hit at the table, though my lobster gnocchi was no chopped liver.
Later in the evening, we stayed in Allentown and hit Nietzsche’s on Allen Street, which has all the charm of a hole in the wall despite being considerably more cavernous. Live music and $3.50 Molson Canadians were enjoyed by all. Another favorite spot sits across the street: Hardware Cafe. Considerably more polished, its extensive bottle selection makes it Buffalo’s beer-lover haven.