Buffalo Dining: Black Rock Kitchen and Bar
While this blog is not a restaurant review site, I will on occasion talk about a positive dining experience in Buffalo.
Last week, I attended the Malcolm Gladwell event at SUNY Buffalo with some friends from UB. At the pre-event reception, our talk turned to great out of the way dining spots in the city and that with me being “new” to the city, I needed to try some of these establishments and write about them for this blog.
The first place on the list that I decided to try was Black Rock Kitchen and Bar. A good friend of mine is also a friend of BRK&B owner Mark Goldman so we decided to meet for an early dinner to see just how good the place was.
Located at 491 Amherst Street in the Black Rock neighborhood, Black Rock is an area that has a very unique history. In the early 1800’s Black Rock was an independent town located northwest of Buffalo. During the War of 1812, Black Rock was twice burned to the ground by British Troops and was later a rival of Buffalo for the terminus of the Erie Canal. The town flourished until 1839, but was eventually annexed by Buffalo in 1853. Black Rock was also an important crossing point for the Underground Railroad due to its strategic location on the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario.
BRK&B is very much like the small neighborhood establishments that are plentiful throughout cities like Chicago. It has plenty of street parking and also a small parking lot across the street. Luckily, we decided to eat at 5:30 pm and were able to get a table immediately. There is normally a wait if you arrive later.
The wine list is extensive and moderately priced. As for craft beers, BRK&B does have a limited selection of beers on tap but has an outstanding selection of crafts in bottles. I decided on the Whale…a fine brown ale..by Buffalo’s own Community Beer Works.
One of the things that I like about places like BRK&B is that they limit their menus to the things they do well then use nightly specials to expand the selections. When a quaint bistro-style restaurant tries to be all things to all people, it always seems to lose something.
While I decided against an appetizer or salad, I saw an entrée that immediately caught my attention…BBQ babyback ribs with sides of slaw and baked mac and cheese. It did take me minute to decide on the ribs instead of the buttermilk fried chicken but the yardbird can wait until my next visit.
Let me start with the sides. The mac and cheese was baked and served in a crock. I am a connoisseur of mac and cheese and I would rank this as my favorite in Buffalo…so far. The slaw was good but not great. As I noted in an earlier post, I like slaw a little different than most people.
Unlike other Texpatirates, I believe that you can have good babyback ribs without having to smoke them. While I do prefer a little smoke curled around ribs, I have had very good ribs that were done in the oven and finished on the grill. BRK&B’s ribs were of this variety and were excellent. The flavor was outstanding and the meat fell off the bone. The sauce was good but when I have them again I will get the sauce on the side.
During the meal, I was introduced to Mark and we had a lively discussion about everything from Buffalo dining to the future of higher education in America. A true proponent of the city, Mark wrote “City On the Edge” a book detailing the history of Buffalo from 1900 to the present.
In addition, Mark also owns another restaurant…Allen Street Hardware…which is also on my list.
Overall, I was very impressed with my first trip to BRK&B. Both David and his staff pay attention to the details and that helps with the overall experience. The food was very good, portions were generous and the prices moderate.
I will be back and the buttermilk fried chicken with mashed potatoes has my name on it.
NEXT UP: More Thanksgiving recipes.
- Food Porn: Black Rock Kitchen & Bar (brunch revisit) (buffaloeats.org)
- Ambitious Projects for Underutilized City Canal Ways and Grain Elevators (buffaloouterharbor.wordpress.com)
- Daily Special: texas sticky ribs (mypassionpending.com)
- Ultimate Mac-n-Cheese (crystalhollis.com)
Posted on November 18, 2013, in Buffalo, Chicken Fried Buffalo, Comfort Food, Craft Beer, Food, Texas Food, Texpatriate, Uncategorized and tagged Allen Street Hardware, Amherst Street, Barbecue, Black Rock, Black Rock Kitchen & Bar, Buffalo, Buffalo New York, Chicago, Coleslaw, Comfort Food, Cook, Cooking, Craft Beer, Erie Canal, Food, London, Malcolm Gladwell, Mark Goldman, Niagara Frontier, Recipes, Ribs, Ron Cox, Southern, Texas, Western New York. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.