At Laughlin's Hearty Bistro, chefs concoct a menu of rustic, bistro-style fare that spotlights quality cuts of beef, fresh fish, and meaty sandwiches paired with hand-cut fries. Steak- and seafood-laden plates make their way to the cozy dining room, where warm lamplight illuminates dark-wood tables and exposed-brick walls. A mezzanine populated with plush, black leather easy chairs overlooks a copper-topped bar. Here, friendly bartenders and repurposed paint shakers mix a mean martini, and the bar's glassware also brims with wine and beer.
The brainchild of owner Dale Ali and chef Sergio Aquino, Epic Restaurant and Lounge captures diners’ interest with dishes that showcase fresh, seasonal ingredients as well as the chef’s mastery of culinary techniques ranging from classic French to peasant, according to Buffalo Spree. The menu—which the Buffalo News called “ambitious” and “totally different from any other in the area”—comprises upscale dinner fare with unexpected twists: the grilled rib eye arrives with pomegranate jam, and the duck breast is flanked by a cilantro-nutmeg emulsion and rubber-ducky bodyguards.
The eatery also strives to be epic in its drink selection with a varnished wooden bar offering more than 25 imported or microbrewery beers as well as an extensive wine list. Diners can kick off the weekend with dinner, drinks, and jams every Friday night, with entertainment alternating between salsa and live bands.
Chefs at Toro Tapas Bar infuse their genre-defying tapas with creative fusion cuisine such as bison quesadillas and saffron lobster. Waiters transport small- to medium-size plates to glossy red tables, where diners share bites family style, as mixologists behind a dramatically backlit bar fill goblets with more than 100 wines. High ceilings with exposed girders soar above the space, and terra cotta walls bear abstract paintings that, if stared at long enough, reveal a 3D image of which diner will pick up the bill.
Bees’ Knees Dance offers adult dance courses, specifically geared toward beginners, in a fun and low-pressure environment. Students can put their sextet of drop-in dance classes ($10 each) to jump, jive, and wail through the lighter-than-air Lindy Hop moves of swing dancing. The one-hour classes are led by a fearless brigade of instructors ready to take on even the most inexperienced of toe-tappers. And with six to 30 students in the typical class, you'll enjoy social interaction far more pleasant than your ill-fated attempt to hand out free hugs at the zoo. The fall schedule has currenly has classes offered from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday evenings and a new session starts each month—see the schedule page for up-to-date info on current offerings.