The Phoenix “An American Tavern” opened up last spring to rave reviews. Located in the rejuvenating neighborhood of Black Rock, you’ll find it just down the street from Black Rock Kitchen & Bar, The Sportsmen’s Tavern, and Spar’s Meat Shop – home of some of the world’s greatest sausages.
The Phoenix is a handsome tavern where the bar is the focal point upon entering. A cozy, one room dining area awaits in the back.
It was quiet on a Wednesday with just a few other tables occupied. Having stopped for a cocktail on the way we jumped right in to entrees and a bottle. Our waitress was kind enough to bring us a fine amuse bouche. The Phoenix has an adequate wine list, a full bar, and a great looking list of cocktails. I didn’t see a beer list, but I’m sure they sell it.
Some of the appetizers we missed, but you might like to try :
- The Phoenix Black Bean Soup- sour cream, salsa garnish – $5 (fellow diners said it rivals the best in Buffalo)
- Banana Pepper Dip – served with grilled bread ($8)
- Calamari – lemon aioli ($10)
- Buffalo Arancini – risotto ball stuffed with chicken, blue cheese, hot sauce ($6)
- Seared Scallop Triplet – sea scalps pan seared, sweet, savory and spicy, served with lemon saffron sauce ($14)
- Salads – mixed greens ($6); roasted beet salad ($9); warm barley salad ($7); classic Caesar ($8)
With enthusiasm I stepped up and ordered one the night’s specials, Grilled Dijon Rabbit with Cumberland sauce $23. It came accompanied with a root vegetable medley and rice. The rabbit was more bone than meat, which I immediately remembered is often the case. The Dijon flavor was nice, but the lack of meat a bit off-putting. Not the fault of The Phoenix, clearly the rabbit’s problem. I didn’t notice the Cumberland sauce. The rice was white, the root vegetables delightful.
My companion ordered the Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwich ($13) – marinated flank steak on a soft Vietnamese bun with cucumber, pickled red onion and carrot, with maggi sauce and sriracha mayo. Maggi sauce (Maggi-Würze) is very much like soy sauce, but does not contain soy. Sriracha is a traditional Asian chili sauce with a sweet, garlicky heat. The filling of the sandwich was very good. The steak was nice and tender, the sauces flavorful (we got them on the side), and everything worked well together. The bun was not as soft as advertised. Fries came on the side – very tasty and heavy on the salt.
Some of the other menu items that looked good:
- Short rib grilled cheese sandwich – with cheddar and fontina cheeses on thick cut toast – $16
- Lazy Pierogi and Kielbasa – pasta casserole with sauerkraut, mushrooms, onions, served with grilled kielbasa – $16
- Shrimp and grits – andouille sausage, fresh spinach, tomato, onion, Cajun spices – $18.
- Steak Frites – flank steak with the blue cheese salad, crispy onions and french fries – $18.
- Classic meatloaf – mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetable – $14.
- Langostino Pasta – Penne pasta with Langostinos, peas in a cream sauce – $22
For desert we ordered the Apple Crisp -steel cut oats, brown sugar, butter, salted caramel ($6). Sweet, rich, luscious and plenty for two. Vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on the side.
The wine list has 2 sparkling, 7 whites, and 8 reds. We ordered the Vidal Fleury Cotes Du Rhone for $35 which was red, rich and full flavored with a hint of fruit.
The Phoenix has a porch on the back that looked like it might be nice when temperatures allow. The days are getting longer! Summer can’t be far off…can it?
269 Amherst St
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