The place is tiny, chairs are mismatched, our table was a little wobbly and I didn’t much care for the music, all of which makes it hard to explain why I love this place. Ever since my last visit I’ve been scheming my hasty return. It’s not just that the food is really good (it is), or that the place is rustically charming (it is)- it’s the unmistakable love the owners have for food. I haven’t met them (Steve and Ellen Gedra), haven’t even talked to them, but this place has to be the product of people who wake up in the morning thinking about food. I recognize the symptoms.
I’ve wanted to try Bistro Europa for a long time. I’ve read about their love of pig and their dedication to sourcing from local farms. I suspected the food was going to be good. What I know now is this place has a depth that one has to experience to understand. It oddly reminds me of the old Billie Ogden’s. There is just something magical in the combination of style, atmosphere, food and people.
The Bistro Europa menu is made daily based on what’s available, and what the kitchen feels like making. The breads, pastas and almost everything else are house-made.
To start we tried a Nickel City Cheese board from down the street- Dunbarton Blue (cow, USA), Roncal (sheep, Spain), Goat Cheddar (goat, USA) – $16. Served Euro style with pistachios, local honey, apple slices, Spanish olives and cherries cooked down with vinegar and sugar, all good.
Crespelle – local squash, ricotta, marcona almonds, reggiano, reggiano fonduta ($18). A Cresspelle is the Italian equivalent of a crepe, which was very light and stuffed with the squash etc.
Salmon Pastrami- Russian black bread, sour cream, mustard caviar ($13). Comes with a long crostini, house-made bread that is nice and soft , with the sour cream mustard topped with pieces of salmon. EXCELLENT- the sour cream and mustard caviar made the dish.
T-Meadow Pork Chop – apple rosemary puree, smashed potatoes, braised kale ($26). As you can see the chop is think and juicy with the fat cap left on to add flavor and moisture- luscious! A smashed potato is a whole skin on potato that is cooked, flattened and cooked some more to get the outside crispy – really good.
As mentioned the menu is in constant motion, so these items might not be available, but this will give a sense what beauties await.
Ellen’s Bread Basket – sourdough, pretzel buns, Pullman-burro di Chianti, EVOO ($6)
Balsamic Braised T-Meadow Pork Shank – braised cabbage, whipped potatoes ($20)
Painted Meadow Veal ragu- house-made potato gnocchi, local cauliflower, Reggiano ($21)
Pan-seared Oles’ Chicken Breast – lemon parsley marinade, braised greens, fresh corn polenta ($21)
Local Concord grape soda ($4)
House brewed ice tea ($3)
Elder flower and prosecco cocktail with local melon ($7)
Sticky toffee pudding
Pear pistachio tart
Carrot cake with maple cream and pear compote
Scene: Casual Elmwood. We were there late on Tuesday so it was quiet, but tables are generally hard to come by.
Service: Like everything here our server (Daniel) was casual but on top of his game- he knows the food, where it comes from, how it’s prepared and what it tastes like.
Clientele: Food lovers of all walks of life.
Beverages: Creativity and abundance extends to beer and wine. They have a board of specials with 4-6 wines and beer as well as standard lists with about 20 beers in bottle/can, and some ciders. The standard wine list has about 25 including white, red, rose and sparkling. We tried the Six Point Sweet Action Ale and the Gregorina Sangiovese (Italy 2011- $8 glass).
FYI- Bistro Europa plans to move to a new location with a little more room at 367 Connecticut Street (formerly Golden Key Tavern) next year.
Final thoughts: I can’t wait to go back.
484 Elmwood Ave Buffalo, NY 14222
Open for lunch Mon- Sat 11:30 – 2:30. For dinner Mon -Thurs. 5-10, Fri & Sat 5-11.