On certain days, Papa Jake's Saloon dishes out prime rib or seafood specials, but owner Scott Leary doesn't want that to distract from the rest of the menu. As he told Buffalo Rising contributor Chao Li, “Everything's special at Papa Jakes.” Leary buys the freshest seafood available for dishes such as steamed snow crab legs served with drawn butter or clams Casino that Li says arrive in a still-bubbling sauce that seems to cook the morsels before your very eyes. For each Friday’s fish fry, chefs bread fillets of fish by hand and simmer pots of seafood bisque and New England clam chowder, whose rich scents attract both humans and sharks disguised as humans. Diners can also opt for the mainland taste of charbroiled burgers with fresh-cut french fries, washing it all down with frosty glasses of draft beers or mixed drinks from a full bar.
Traditional Thai dishes get a bold, modern twist at One Thai Chef, where culinary veteran Taweewat Hurapan artfully plates entrees for lunch and dinner. Panang curry gets an update with the addition of tender lobster meat, and glasses of fresh lychee juice pair with beef short ribs braised in massaman curry. Hurapan serves his signature roasted duck with bao buns that are round and fluffy, just like the tiny pillows upon which ancient kings rested their forks between bites. Chefs apply equal attention to desserts, which they adorn with caramel drizzles and fresh fruit.
Bathtub Billy's team of servers and brew-slingers fulfill guests bellied up to the bar or dining on the two-tiered outdoor deck with the menu's variety of American pub fare. Perform avant-garde victory dances after delving into an array of burgers that includes the Tailgater's steak bomber ($8.99), a succulent blitz of grilled sirloin, mushrooms, and bleu cheese. Grill artists douse roaster-sized chicken wings ($7.79/lb.) in 11 different kinds of sauces, and flatbread pizzas ($7.99) warm evenly over the open flames. Olympic rings ($7.99) make a gold-medal landing into mouths with battered onions layered in a sash of mozzarella and hot sauce. Little ones feel more appreciated by the restaurant's kid's menu, which brims with smaller options, than they would by receiving a birthday call from Luke Skywalker.
From the expertly mixed drinks to the forward-looking entrees inspired by classic American eats, Bleu Violin has hipness at the top of its agenda. There, bartenders shake, muddle, and stir together martinis as club-bound guests split upscale appetizers such as nachos topped with lump crab and shrimp or southern-fried chicken wings tossed in a choice of four sauces. Live music adds a sleek soundtrack most nights of the week, laying down a lively beat best suited for mingling or muttering all the curse words you’ve been storing up all day.
With more than 20 years of cooking northern Indian cuisine under its belt, Zaika’s culinary team is well versed in simmering curries and slow baking marinated meats, along with fixing a smattering of southern Indian dishes to boot. They cook skewered lamb over charcoal, douse boneless chicken with cashew-nut sauces, cook shrimp in the traditional tandoor oven, and mix goat into that spicy gravy made famous by the holiday classic Mama’s Spicy Thanksgiving. The kitchen’s vegetarian options include spice-coated spinach with homemade indian cheese, along with crepes and pancakes in the southern Indian style. Dinners and lunch buffets unfold in Zaika’s spacious dining room, while an outdoor deck accommodates diners in May through September.