Aro Bar de Tapas Facts
5415 Sheridan Dr, Williamsville, NY 14221
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Dinner: 5-9 PM Tues. – Thurs., 5-10 PM Fri. – Sat.
Bar and lounge open at 4PM with bar/full drink menus
You know your restaurant scene has made it when you can get Barcelona quality tapas without leaving town. That is exactly what Aro Bar de Tapas brings to the table #punintended. Jamóns, Patatas Bravas, Pan Con Tomate, Calamares Fritos – they are all here, and so much more. Aro de Tapas opened this spring by a two couples – Jeremy Horwitz and his wife Christina, Chef Scott Kollig, and Pastry Chef Monica Kollig. The groups combined talents and experience covers a long list that pairs well in the restaurant conception, design, management and kitchen.
Chefs Scott Kollig, originally from Clarence, has worked at leading restaurants like José Andrés’ Minibar, Wylie Dufresne’s WD-50, and Michael Mina’s Wit & Wisdom. Chef Monica Kollig has a similarly accomplished history working with Chefs like Daniel Boulud at Café Boulud, Patrick O’Connell at The Inn at Little Washington, Bryan Voltaggio at Aggio, and Cindy Wolf at Cinghiale. About two years ago the foursome worked to bring a world-class Spanish market, Mercado, to WNY. The Mercado hasn’t come to fruition yet but lucky for WNY Aro Bar de Tapas is bearing prodigiously.
In my opinion Spanish food doesn’t get near the respect or recognition it deserves. It is some of the most varied, interesting and delectable on the globe. influences from Italy, northern Europe, Africa, France and the middle east offer up a tremendous portfolio of flavors and techniques.400 plus years of being pushed around the map doesn’t make for a happy populace, but it does wonders for the cuisine.
Aro Bar de Tapas is as authentic Spanish Tapas as I’ve eaten outside of Spain and as good as you’ll get there. The food is flat out delicious. Just when you think it can’t get any better they bring out the dessert. If you love to eat, try new things, think of yourself as an bold, adventurous, devil-may-care Buffalonian (we’re talking to you regular SOB enthusiast), you need to eat here… like now.
Spanish tapas. A few of the items are what we would consider entrees, but not many, and try not to get fixated on the old American idea of a veggie, starch and meat for a meal. Step Out a little. There are no rules. They also have some of the best desserts in town, a bar menu, a good wine list, okay beer list, and a lengthy Spanish Gin & Tonics menu which is are “modern twists on the classic restorative cocktail”.
We didn’t spend any time at the bar which is a mistake. The bar is handsomely decorated with dark wood and separated from the dining area by glass window/walls. It’s big and spacious and looks like the kind of bar you could get real comfortable in – long term.
If you are new to tapas and even if you’re not, the ordering can be a little confounding. If you haven’t been here and sampled the dish it is hard to tell how big it is or how far it will go. Not a problem. Order some stuff, eat, if you’re still hungry, order more. They come out fast and believe me there are no wrong answers in this place. Tip: Sharing is your friend.
Ibérico – intense cured ham from black-hoofed pigs $11
Alcachofas (v) – crispy artichoke, olive oil, garlic aioli, lemon zest $8
Pan Con Tomate (v) – rustic bread, tomato, garlic, olive oil, sea salt $4
Calamares Fritos – crispy calamari, spicy aioli, lemon $11
Patatas Bravas (v) crispy fingerling potatoes, garlic aioli, tomato, paprika $8
Coliflor – roasted cauliflower, herbs, crispy chicken skin $8
Albondigas – pork & beef meatballs, spicy bravas sauce, house breadcrumbs $10
Queso a la Parrilla (v) – four-piece sandwich with garrotxa, manchego, idiazabal and mahón cheeses, local honey, $12
Gambas al Ajillo – seared shrimp, garlic, chile de árbol, sherry, $15
Chicharrónes de Pimentón – puffed pork rinds, pimentón, sea salt $6
Hamburguesa de Hangover – local beef, pimento cheese, harissa, fried egg $12
Arroz con Pollo – crispy chicken confit, forbidden rice, English peas, saffron aioli $17
Ojo del Búfalo – caramel milk chocolate mousse, guanaja brownie, sponge candy, chocolate rocher $10
Strawberry White Chocolate Crema – strawberry white chocolate crema, vanilla streusel, raspberry jam, ginger, lemon $10
Flan For The Lovers & Haters – vanilla, more vanilla, custard, caramel syrup $10
For the sake of time and not being too repetitive – we loved everything. In my opinion the “must gets” of the group are Pan Con Tomate, you get 2 moderately sized pieces; Patatas Bravas, awesome; Coliflor, strangely awesome; Queso a la Parrilla, like grilled cheese only a lot better; Hamburguesa de Hangover, one of the best burgers in town; Arroz con Pollo, kind of a modern version and oh so good.
They do a Chef’s Menus On Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evenings where the chef will specifically customize a selection of dishes for your table, possibly including new off-menu items for $55 or premium chef’s menu $65. You can add beverage pairings for $15 per person, or deluxe pairings for $30. This requires the participation of the entire table.
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