Red Mill Inn’s rustic, two-story exterior engenders idyllic visions of a bygone era. Black clapboard shutters pop against the old farmhouse's bright red walls, which were built in 1858, and a giant wooden water mill nestles beside carefully trimmed hedges. Inside, dark wood floors and paneling surround wood tables, a roaring brick fireplace, and antique light fixtures. But this bucolic atmosphere belies a hectic kitchen staff who bustle to conjure flames beneath tender cuts of prime rib and filet mignon. Famous for their char-grilled steaks, fresh seafood, and Sunday brunch specials, Red Mill Inn also specializes in down-home country classics such as pan-fried calf's liver and Yankee pot roast. After dinner, house-made desserts arrive courtesy of an onsite pastry chef, whose creations shock sweet teeth more than a retainer lined with Pop Rocks.
Executive Chef Chaz Bulera and his team fashion dinner and lunch menus out of selectively sizzled meats, fish, and pasta. Lunch fare, such as a pulled-pork sandwich ($8) and a buffalo-chicken wrap with its coif of blue cheese ($9) effortlessly shame standard sandwich-shop selections. The dinner menu kick-starts appetite engines with sesame-seared ahi tuna ($9) and subtly seasoned calamari ($7) before revving them lightly with a portobello-pesto sandwich ($8) or heavily with a bacon-wrapped filet mignon ($21).
Back in business after a fire in 2009, the Boston Hotel boasts a menu of USDA Choice steaks and prime rib, as well as sea scallops and lobster. The restaurant?s many fresh fish offerings get added attention on Fridays with specials that include a fresh haddock fish fry and linguini with fresh clam sauce. A selection of draft beers helps wash down entrees or enliven open-bar parties. Lunch hours are 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Rum Runners Cove serves up burgers, seafood, sandwiches, salads, and other American classics in its dining room, with views of Presque Isle Bay, thatched umbrellas, and a 40-foot atrium that give the feel of the tropics. Appetizers such as 24-ounce pretzels with three sauces prepare diners for entrees that range from grilled mahi-mahi and Maryland crab cakes to bourbon-glazed chicken and half-pound Texas steak-house burgers with banana peppers and steak sauce.
Beyond the elegant bistro's striped awning, chef Kevin O'Connell Jr.'s contemporary culinary creations titillate palates in the form of small plates and upscale entrees, featured by the Buffalo News. Dishes parade out from the kitchen bearing grilled veal loin with fried mozzarella or smoked-salmon pizza. Larger plates showcase grilled rib eye with cheddar and bacon and barbecued Hudson Valley duck breast, as patrons sip or spit-take handcrafted cocktails, wines, and craft beers. A hand-painted mural of the French countryside and paintings by local artist Claire Essley beam down upon the main dining room's sleek black chairs and white tabletops, and the bar's glass mosaics and pounded copper glimmer beneath a sundial dome. Red umbrellas speckle the outdoor patio, and a private room spaciously accommodates large parties. Further delighting guests, regular movie nights and special events offer up a welcome respite from the humdrum home-dining entertainment of the family dog playing the spoons again.
Williamsville, NY. The early 20th century. A man guides his family’s horse-drawn carriage through the flurries of snow sweeping across their circular driveway before coming to a halt in front of a striking two-story home. The ride was long and chilly, but inside, homey warmth awaits. Today, teleportation discs may have replaced the horse and buggy, but travelers still traverse the same driveway in search of a warm welcome. Now the home of Parings Wine Bar, the turn-of-the-century house reflects the goal that owner Shelia Paolini shared with the Amherst Bee’s Jessica Finch: “We want it to feel like you are coming into a living room, that you are at home, not at a bar.”
As soon as guests push open the bright-red front door, they enter a space that combines the comfort of a lived-in family room with the gourmet flavors found at traditional wine bars. Lit by flat-screen TVs and a cozy fireplace, guests peruse Chef Scott Martin’s ever-changing menu, which often features mediterranean nachos, lobster mac 'n' cheese, and horseradish beef tenderloin. Resident sommelier Alphonso DiMono’s wine list, which culls vintages from global wineries from Australia to France to California, perfectly complements the chef's creations. The bar’s mixologists also shake up more than 20 martinis infused with treats such has espresso vodka, Godiva white-chocolate liqueur, and pumpkin puree. As they sip and eat, guests can also join in special event nights that include art shows, live music, and happy hours that feature 20 types of wine for just $20 per bottle.