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.
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.
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 soft sounds of live jazz flow through a low-lit restaurant, easing guests into a comfortable state as the aroma of grilled steak and seared fish fills the air. It's just another night at Bistro 135, a multi-level space that hosts local musicians throughout the week on a balcony stage, who spice up the atmosphere as diners savor a fusion of international and American cuisines. Pairs can share blackened jumbo scallops and manchurian cauliflower at high-top tables in the bar area and enjoy their meals in the cozy outdoor courtyard to soak in the warm weather or surprise eclipses.
The bean blazers at Boulder Coffee Company flame-roast their coffee before brewing signature coffees and espressos. Sink into a comfy couch or float lazily on the aromatic wafts of fresh coffee while sipping on the caramel macchiato, a vanilla latte topped with caramel sauce, or a spiced chai. An artful atmosphere beckons the caffeinated critic with walls lined with paintings and negative space for seeing what's going on outside. Boulder Coffee Company’s open-mic night allows anyone to sign up to deliver comedy or perform espresso spit takes; check the calendar for an idea of upcoming acts.