Archive for October, 2010

Shango, Sooner Than Expected!

As I mentioned in my last entry, I’ve been meaning to try Shango on Main St. for quite some time. On a last minute decision, we actually went right at 5 P.M. last Wednesday. Having heard only good things about the restaurant, we hoped to have an experience that would live up to our high expectations.

                      

Shango is smartly decorated – as classy as a restaurant of its caliber should be, but still with enough personal touches to remind the diner of Shango’s cajun roots. On the back of each menu was a list of local providers that Shango utilizes in its food, from noodles, to meat, to pop. Service was also impressive: attentive and spot-on throughout the night. Water glasses were kept filled but not at a ridiculous pace and extra bread and oil was brought out as needed.

About the bread: Shango presents a basket containing slices of white bread, cornbread, and whole-wheat bread alongside a dish of spiced oil. The white and wheat breads were very good – especially the wheat bread which was extremely fresh and flavorful. The cornbread, however, was astounding: easily the best cornbread any of us had had at a restaurant or at home.

Continue reading ‘Shango, Sooner Than Expected!’

Local Restaurant Week Oct. 2010 – O’Connell’s American Bistro & Nektar

Last week was Local Restaurant Week! For those who are unfamiliar with it, Local Restaurant Week is held twice a year (typically in March and October) and, during that week, specials are held at many local restaurants. Each restaurant holds a special menu priced at $20.10; what you get for that price is determined by the expense of the restaurant (places like Buffalo Chophouse offer an entrée and side while cheaper diners give 4 courses for 2 people). This month, I went to O’Connell’s American Bistro (Kenmore Ave.) and Nektar (Elmwood & Bryant), both of which proved to be as excellent as hoped.

O’Connell’s American Bistro

My family and I had originally planned to go to Shango Bistro and Wine Bar on Main St., but they were booked solid for 4 days when we called. We ended up getting a last-minute reservation to O’Connell’s in Kenmore, in what used to be The Hourglass. We’d never seen the place that packed, and because of the prices on the regular menu, were cautiously anxious as we sat down to eat. For $20.10, each diner could pick between an “old world” or “new world” tasting menu.

I opted for the “new world” menu, which included beef tartare, sausage and escarole soup, braised local rabbit over house-made penne, grilled swordfish, and petits fours. (Just a note: I didn’t get any pictures of the food, but everything was plated beautifully and presentation was certainly a priority in the kitchen.) The beef tartare was a wonderful start, fresh and cold. The piping hot soup — with a definite kick — was probably the highlight of the tasting menu; the flavors were spot-on and the soup was seasoned perfectly. I’d never had rabbit before that night and, honestly, it tasted like chicken. The result was almost a broth-less chicken-soup-like pasta dish that was actually quite good. The swordfish, while a bit overcooked, was seasoned well but left plain. The star of that dish was the ‘artichoke caponata’ that lay underneath the fish. I’m a huge fan of anything artichoke, and this was no exception; it added a succulence that the swordfish needed and was just simply great (I actually took a piece of leftover bread to swoop the rest of the caponata off of my plate.).

Continue reading ‘Local Restaurant Week Oct. 2010 – O’Connell’s American Bistro & Nektar’


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