Photos by Lauren Spoth
When this spring’s Local Restaurant Week menu was announced we posted our Top Picks for where to wine and dine this time around. Being ones to always take our own advice we headed on down to The Lodge for a one-of-a-kind three course meal and then some. Read on for our take on what we sampled off their regular menu from their Restaurant Week offerings, what we ordered extra, and what we wished we could have tried/will be ordering during our next visit (our stomachs are only so big, ok?).
79 W. Chippewa St., Buffalo, NY, 14202
Cuisine: New American, with Asian, Italian, French, Latin, and Southern influences
Open: The kitchen is open Sun – Mon (11am – 10pm), Tue – Thur (11am – 11pm), Fri – Sat (11am –
The bar is open Mon – Thur (11am – Midnight), Fri – Sat (11am – 2am), Sun (11am – 10pm)
In the interest of full disclosure I will start this review by saying that I love The Lodge. It is one of my favorite places to go in Buffalo and each time I go it somehow seems better than the last, and this time was no exception. Whenever I go it’s my personal mission to try something I’ve never had before…and what better way to do that than with a three-course meal for $20.15! Here’s how this go-around’s taste-testing adventure went down:
Pre-First Course aka Drinks: It’s a good rule of thumb that whenever you want to try something new you should always bring along someone who has completely different taste than you. You’ll end up with double the tasting options and possibly fall head-over-heels in love with something you would have never, ever ordered for yourself…which is exactly what happened during the pre-first course aka drinks. I ordered a Pickin’ Strawberries ($10) cocktail for myself, which is described as “a sweet refreshing blend of Stoli Vanil, fresh strawberries, strawberry syrup, apple cider, and a dash of heavy cream”. In short this tasted exactly like strawberries n’ cream and it was delicious, but definitely a drink for hardcore sweets enthusiasts. And thanks to the aforementioned rule of thumb I also got to try a few sips of a Bears Like Berries ($10), which is “a refreshing, fruity combination of Hendrick’s Gin and St. Germain liqueur finished with pure concord grape juice, apple cider, fresh squeezed lime, and fresh blueberries”. Despite being made with gin, something I normally don’t gravitate towards, it was actually quite refreshing. A little sweet, a little tart, and a little dangerous, it’s a drink that goes down quick hence why I was only able to steal a few sips. I will be ordering this for myself sometime in the near future.
First-Course: We started things off with the Crispy Fried Calamari with lime-Thai basil dipping sauce. If you like calamari or even if you’re on the fence about it two words: order this. Unlike other fried calamari dishes, The Lodge takes their time with theirs and it shows. The batter is light and just-right, and on some pieces you can even see some tentacles peeking out which is both exotic and delicious. And the lime-Thai sauce is quite possibly the best dipping sauce for calamari that I’ve ever had, you’ll never dream of using marinara on calamari again.
Second-Course: For the second-course we ordered the House-Made Linguini with LBG Rabbit Sausage, 45 Minute Egg, and Cardoons and a Chicken Fried Chicken Sandwich ($13) which wasn’t on the Restaurant Week menu but was well worth the jump. The House-Made Linguini’s flavors aren’t overpowering, allowing you to taste each ingredient’s contribution to the dish. The egg is interesting because it adds a unique flavor and an almost sauce-like texture that’s not really like an egg at all. The Chicken Fried Chicken sandwich is something that I’ve had before at The Lodge and it’s something I would eat every single day if I could. As with all dishes at The Lodge, this isn’t your typical fried chicken entrée…it’s heaven. The Chicken Fried Chicken sandwich is a piece of Southern-fried chicken on a Belgium-waffle bun with maple slaw and bourbon syrup. Let that sink in for a minute. You can get this bad boy for lunch AND dinner plus it also comes with some really good French fries. Game changer.
The one dish I wish I got to have that was also featured on their Restaurant Week menu is the Goat Cheese and Walnut Ravioli. This is hands-down my favorite dish that The Lodge offers/possibly of all time. Not your momma’s ravioli, this one has wild mushrooms, blueberries, and parmigiana with a perfect blueberry sauce. All these ingredients together in one dish might seem a bit odd but it tastes like anything but, and that’s exactly why these guys are the chefs and we’re the very happy customers.
Third-Course: When the waiter told me that the S’mores was a Lodge-favorite I was sold. Think of it as one giant gourmet s’more: the marshmallow is toasted to perfection and roughly the size of a small brick and the chocolate is slightly warmed and gooey but not in a messy way. Then of course there’s the graham cracker and as a bonus you get a scoop of French vanilla ice cream. Who doesn’t love a surprise scoop of ice cream?
All in all I was very happy with my choices, both in terms of venue and food/drinks. An experience at The Lodge is always an all-around experience, from the ambiance and décor to the friendly staff to the expertly crafted food and drinks. It’s one of those places that will have you coming back for more whether it’s to try something new or revisit an old favorite, and you can get these amazing dishes all day, every day. So what are you waiting for, go! You can thank us later.