UPDATE: As of 4/8/15 BRKB has closed their doors.
Black Rock Kitchen & Bar Facts
491 Amherst St, Buffalo | 716-551-0261
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Much has been said about the Black Rock Kitchen & Bar since its opening in 2012. Pretty much all of it good. It was voted best new restaurant by Buffalo Spree in 2012. Owned by the Goldman family, their sister restaurant is the Allen Street Hardware Cafe. Curiously, both buildings once served as hardware stores. Last week they introduced their new chef – Zeff.
The space is pretty much one large room with a bar on one wall, a banquet with tables on the other and an assortment of tables and tallboys mixed in between. With a tin stamped ceiling, dark wood floors and furnishings, deep purplish walls and colorful art, it is somehow masculine and feminine at the same time.
BRKB maintains an artful balance between bar and restaurant. Perfect for a few beers with buds, couples for cocktails, young lovers in for a romantic night, or a reunion dinner for 12 – they seem to satisfy all equally well. A talented staff, good food, and fair pricing are a given. A community that appreciates fine dining and an investment in their neighborhood a plus. Top to bottom this is one of the best spots in town.
BRKB offers a great assortment of dishes appropriate for all from vegans to heavy carnivores and points between. In addition to their well dressed standard menu that changes seasonally, they offer a nightly specials menu. Their wine list is lean and efficient with some excellent options. We enjoyed a Brunello di Montalcino- Argiano, Tuscan 2007 ($55) with diner. The full bar has a solid cocktail menu, and a good beer list with a few crafts on tap and plenty by the bottle.
We started with some pre-dinner drinks from the cocktail menu: Mary Lou (longtime customer) – Hendricks gin, St. Germaine, Aperol, ruby red grapefruit and cucumber; Jerry Jam – bullet bourbon, Amaretto, apple jam and bitters. Both drinks were $9 and both thoroughly enjoyed.
We ordered three appetizers, all of which were from the specials menu:
- Meatball Grande stuffed with fresh mozzarella over wilted kale and garlic toast – $9
- Sautéed Gnocchi with wild mushroom cream sauce, prosciutto, grape tomatoes and rapini – $11
- Steamed Mussels with white wine, garlic, kale, confit tomato and Crostini – $10
Each of these met or exceeded or expectations. Pretty much what you’d expect from a top tier dining establishment. The gnocchi with wild mushroom cream sauce was fantastic. A perfect interaction of earthy mushroom umami, light gnocchi and fresh tomato.
- Pork Tenderloin – rubbed and roasted, cider glaze, warm potato salad, Napa cabbage, apple, carrot pan slaw & Prosciutto chips – $23
Voted by the group as the best of the four, but only by a nose…I’m still lobbying for the brisket. The juicy pork was a perfect partner to the medley of different characters on the plate.
- Cauliflower Steak – marinated and grilled cauliflower, raisin sauce, sautéed spinach, toasted hazelnuts and steak fries- $17
I didn’t order this dish, nor is it likely my protein dependent mentality would allow me to. However, this is a really neat way to do cauliflower. Seared and meaty with plenty of flavor. Throw in a side of really good steak fries and you’ve got a great couple of sides, for me, dinner for some.
- Brisket – Guinness braised beef served with smoked tomato chutney, cheesy polenta and candied carrots $22.
Recommended by our server, this is a hearty serving that left me perfectly satisfied. It was as good as the ingredients and the picture suggest.
- Fish of the day was Salmon that came pan seared served with a fennel white wine broth, quinoa cake and zucchini slaw – $22.
What can you say when you put together a great list of quality ingredients and cook them to perfection – it was really good.
Every plate showed a real talent for bringing different colors, flavors, and textures into the dish, and each in a different way. It made for a very interesting and enjoyable dining experience.
- Pistachio walnut baklava with Ganache, whipped cream and candied nuts $6.00.
- Pecan pie with whipped cream $7.
The Pecan Pie was an interesting conglomeration of whole nuts, but nothing to write home about. The Pistachio Baklava, on the other hand, was worthy of a two page letter (which I will spare you). It was new on the menu and after our raving I’m pretty sure it will stay. Stop in and try it for yourself.
Parking is available in the lot across the street or on street.
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