Ready for a food adventure? With new restaurants popping up all over WNY, chefs are bringing their A-game to keep locals on their toes….and that includes dishes with some unusual ingredients. If you’re an adventurous eater, here are some creative dishes to check out around town.
1. Fried Lemons
The Black Sheep Restaurant & Bar
367 Connecticut St., Buffalo; 884-1100
Fried lemon medallions (served alongside the fried Maine belly clam dish for $19) are the perfect combination of sour and salty. They’ve become so popular customers have begun ordering them à la carte. Devour them with a side of vinegar fries and tarter sauce for dipping.
385 Rhode Island St., Buffalo; 807-1141
At Las Puertas, nutty-flavored crushed crickets top a guacamole dish made of avocados, salty caramel brittle and tostadas ($8). Don’t knock it until you try it!
581 Delaware Ave., Buffalo; 885-1594
Conch is quite chewy, similar to squid, with a very fresh flavor. Try it in the Scungilli Fra Diavolo ($31), a top seller at Tempo, which also includes, garlic, cherry peppers, orecchiette and pomodoro.
4. Bone Marrow
1472 Hertel Ave., Buffalo; 883-1675
Bone marrow, when cooked right, tastes just like creamy butter. At CRaVing it’s served with mushroom duxelle (a mix of onions, herbs and mushrooms), along with house-made focaccia flatbread to spread it on ($13.25).
537 Main St., Buffalo; 436-3244
Escargots are a staple in French cuisine, including at Raclettes, the new-ish French restaurant downtown. Snails have a similar texture to clams, taking on the flavors they’re cooked in. At Raclette’s it’s garlic, shallots and wine; use a tiny fork to scoop the flavorful snails out of their shells ($12).
6. Pig Feet
Wok & Roll
5467 Sheridan Dr., Williamsville; 631-8880
They may not sound appetizing, but pig feet mainly taste like any other cut of pork, depending on how it’s prepared. You can taste them in Wok & Roll’s pig feet noodle soup ($7.25), or in their pig feet casserole ($13.95).
7. Fried Green Tomatoes
301 Franklin St., Buffalo; 880-1677
At Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, hearty green, crispy fried tomatoes are topped with Pecorino Romano cheese and served with a cayenne buttermilk ranch dip. Enjoy three pieces for $6.95 or five pieces for $8.95.
8. Aspic and Chicken Liver Mousse
Grange Community Kitchen
22 Main St., Hamburg; 648-0022
Aspic is a savory gelatin, generally made from meat stock. The Grange flavors it with seasonal fruit; it happened to be blueberries the day I visited. Combined with maple, it was a sweet topping to offset the savory mousse. It’s typically served with pistachio financier (a type of cake), but you can also order it with the garlic sourdough bread and house-made pickles ($16).
9. Frog Legs
3316 Bailey Ave., Buffalo; 833-1973
Bailey Seafood is famous for its fish fries, but did you know they also feature frog legs? Get a pound of this Louisiana classic for $10. (Note: If you order online, be sure to claim your free slice of sweet potato pie with a $20 purchase.)
10. Tripe and Tendon
322 W Ferry St., Buffalo; 768-0049
Tripe is the stomach lining of an animal (generally cow). It has a very mild flavor and chewy texture. The tendon, made from collagen, is flavorless with a jelly consistency. Both add a lot of texture to this Vietnamese classic — order a bowl of the flank, tendon and tripe pho, and you’ll enjoy tasty beef noodles along with it ($8.95).
1340 N Forest Rd., Williamsville; 688-0203
You can order them alone — with butter and Parmesan cheese ($3.50) — or incorporated into various dishes, like the restaurant’s famous steak and dandelion pizza made with olive oil, garlic aioli, sliced steak, fresh seasoned dandelions, tomato, and feta ($15.99). They also offer a chicken and dandelion sandwich ($10.99).
2954 Union Rd., Buffalo; 683-9460
A cup ($3.95) or a bowl ($4.95) of czarnina, a traditional Polish soup, is so incredibly sweet you may be surprised when you learn the main ingredient. Also known as "duck’s blood soup," today’s version instead incorporates beef blood, prunes, raisins and homemade noodles.
Story topics: Food + Drink