The Joe’s Deli Facts:
534 Elmwood Avenue | (716) 875-5637
MON – THURS 11-9; FRI & SAT 11-10; SUN 12-5
Hello Joe: After hearing about the new Joe’s Deli location and seeing pictures, I thought it may be too good to be true. Delicious deli food in a tastefully decorated space seemed a bit out there. Usually if you want great deli food you’re most likely going to be sitting a short distance from a deli counter, with a limited choice of tiny tables. Deli aroma almost always included. I can absolutely appreciate the old fashioned urban vibe of delis. Good food does not always come with a swanky presentation.. However, it was refreshing to experience the combination of eclectic, elegant design and good-ale fashioned comfort food.
Atmosphere: The decor has a vintage, slightly retro vibe (in a good way). The design is welcoming and cheerful while still very stylish. We sat next to two glass garage doors that double as windows and retract to the ceiling during warmer months. I have to say, any restaurant that incorporates this touch in Buffalo impresses me. I love the way the open walls connect the inside with the action of the street. It creates a great atmosphere.
Service & Spirits: Our server was cheerful, helpful and attentive. We had a chance to try two drinks off of the seasonal cocktail menu, recommended by our server: Captain & Cider – Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum served with hot apple cider and cinnamon stick garnish & Hot Chocolate Espresso – Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka and Kahlua with hot chocolate and topped with whipped cream. The warmth (temperature & spirits) hit the spot and the flavors mixed perfectly. I WILL be back to try the Coconut Refresher – Ciroc Vodka, coconut water & red grapes topped off with Champagne served on the rocks. The rest of the menu looked tasty as well. Each drink on this menu cost $7. Not only do they have an intriguing cocktail menu, they offer quite a few beers on tap and a flight of 4 for $6.
Starters: We didn’t enjoy any starters today but they offer homemade soups ($2.75-$4.99) and Poutine – fresh cut fries, savory meat gravy, topped with a cheese blend ($5.99). In addition, we found out that they will now (starting today) be offering 7 other snack items. The menu includes Aranicini Caprese- Risotto with fresh mozzarella, tomato & basil, hand rolled then breaded and fried served with red sauce (5 for $6.99) & Jerk Chicken Satay’s – marinated jerk chicken on skewers served with fresh pineapple salsa (5 for $5.99) to name a few. The others sound delicious as well but not as out there.
Entrées: I ordered the Cajun Meatloaf Sandwich off the specials menu – house-made meatloaf, cheddar, provolone, green peppers, Cajun BBQ sauce, on grilled sourdough ($9.99). The bread was delightful, nice big slices with moist meatloaf cheese and peppers spilling out. The Cajun BBQ sauce was delicious – more Cajun tasting than BBQ. It made the sandwich. I would like to eat it with a spoon. My companion ordered the Buffalo Turkey Wrap – sliced turkey breast, shredded lettuce, celery and carrot tossed in homemade blue cheese dressing with a drizzle of buffalo hot sauce ($6.99). Again, delicious. Again, the sauce made this could-be-ordinary turkey wrap into a reason to return. The blue cheese was very prominent and brought a smokey, wing flavor to the wrap. Fries came with both plates. They were your ordinary fries – of the “potatoey” variety. Overall both dishes we tried were excellent and the rest of the menu intrigued me. They offer plenty of specialty sandwiches like Muffaletta – Sahlen’s ham, salami, provolone, and fresh olive salad on an italian loaf (7.35) & Hertel Alley – ham, pork loin, swiss american cheese topped with fries, coleslaw & honey mustard. ($7.35) The menu goes on with interesting wraps, fish fry and build your own sandwiches and salads ($5.75).
The bar doubles as a beautiful centerpiece for the space, sitting at a slightly higher level than the front dining area. It’s quite lovely to look at, as is the rest of the restaurant from beginning to end. Joe’s Deli on Elmwood is a great addition to the food & drink scene, not only on Elmwood but in Buffalo. It’s not a wonderby- it’s a destination.