Betty’s on Virginia Street in Buffalo
As we walked into Betty’s on a weekday afternoon, I was thrilled to see the place bustling with launchers. It’s sometimes eerily quiet on lunch outings, but Betty’s has been a popular destination since opening in 2004. Maybe this day was different due to the double digit temperatures?
The space is inviting, casual for lunch, but offers the possibility for a nice dinner as well. The service was good, friendly and helpful when we questioned menu items. We didn’t wait for anything we needed. Just what everyone likes to hear.
To start we decided on soup from the lunch specials. (Cup $3.75, Bowl $4.75) I mentioned it wasn’t below zero out, but hey it’s still March in Buffalo, and soup hit the spot. The New England Clam Chowder got better and better with each bite. At first, I questioned the lack of creaminess, but in the end it was a good thing. Similarly, the Roasted Butternut Squash & Sage soup was not as sweet as squash soups often are. We loved it because it was flavorful without being creamy or overly sweet. It’s exactly what butternut squash soup should be, reasonably healthy.
After perusing the menu and agonizing over a final decision, I ordered the Jerk Chicken Sandwich. Unlike any I’ve had in the past, this was made out-of-the-ordinary by banana garlic mayo. The banana flavor out shined the garlic, but it was delicious anyway. Hind sight is 20/20 – ask for a side of it and smuggle it out of the place. The pineapple piece covered every bite of the sandwich, which satisfied me to no end. I strongly dislike when I encounter something that makes the dish, but 2 or 3 bites get left in the dark. Only one bite of protruding chicken met this fate. Understandable. The chicken was nicely cooked, lacking a strong jerk flavor but packing a kick. It complemented the sweet flavors wonderfully. Other than the bottom of the bun being a bit soggy, I didn’t find anything wrong with it, which is saying a lot. If you happen to come across a bad roll, it could ruin everything. Dramatic, but true. Any sogginess was quickly overshadowed by delightful, juicy flavor.
My companion choose the Gumbo lunch special – chicken and smoked andouille sausage gumbo with okra; served with white rice ($10.50). The rice used here was basmati, a very long grain rice traditionally from South Asia. The dish had a nice peppery seasoning from the okra, while the andouille (french sausage) brought a smokey flavor. Curiously, this dish was kind of light as well. The chef used slight slivers of the andouille, which added a lot of flavor without too much fat or meat. It was a really nice dish. A gumbo perfect for lunch. Well I’ll be.
Among the several lunch menu items that piqued our interest were the following:
- Doris Jean’s Salad D’Amore $11.00 – Field greens tossed with roasted sweet potatoes, crispy bacon, scallions and grilled brie croutons; served with a whole grain mustard honey dressing
- Muffaletta (special, $10.50) – Cappicola, salami, and provolone cheese backed on french bread and finished with olive tapenade, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and dijonnaise ; served with a side of pasta salad
- Betty’s Black Bean Burrito . . . . . $9.50 Large flour tortilla filled with black beans, jack/cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and black olives; served with fresh salsa and sour cream (with quesadilla chicken $13.00)
We took a look at the dinner menu and liked what we saw. Each of the entrées has a suggested beer and wine pairing. Thank you Betty!
- Filet of Sole $21.00 – Filet of sole stuffed with saffron scented risotto, baked and served over white wine cream and asparagus spears (GF)
SUGGESTED PAIRINGS: Wine: Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, Beer: Kronenbourg Pilsner
- Bourbon Pork Chop $19.00 – Grilled bone-in pork chop served with black eyed peas and roasted brussels sprouts, finished with a bourbon honey mustard glaze (GF/DF)
SUGGESTED PAIRINGS: Wine: Zinfandel or Garnacha, Beer: Sam Smith Nut Brown
- Butternut Squash Alfredo $15.50 – Spaghetti squash, kale and butternut squash tossed with a cashew milk alfredo, finished with fresh sage (GF/V/V+)
SUGGESTED PAIRINGS: Wine: Gewurztraminer or Pinot Noir, Beer: Otter Creek Copper Ale
Betty’s offers breakfast, served Tuesdays through Fridays 8am-11:3-am. My menu pick would be The Luv Sandwich $9.25 – Canadian peameal bacon on a toasted bagel with cream cheese, sliced red onion, sprouts and tomato; served with Betty’s home fries. Saturday & Sunday Brunch menus have a mix of their lunch menu and breakfast options, plus a make your own mimosa option. ($48, Seems a little pricey.) I must say, this sounds perfecto: Chilaquiles $10.00 – A traditional hangover cure in some regions of Mexico; a casserole of eggs, corn tortillas, tomatoes, onions, jalapeño’s, zucchini and corn with cheddar/jack cheese; served with fresh tomato salsa, salsa verde, sour cream and black beans.
I had a hard time finding the words to describe the type of menu Betty’s offers. It’s a bit of a mish mosh, in a good way. You’ll find casual dishes, quality dishes, safe and unique. Several different states and ethnic cuisnes are represented, as well as prices. It makes you wonder what the kitchen looks like. They hit the nail on the head with our lunch. Give Betty’s a try.
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