Restaurant: The Left Bank
Location: 511 Rhode Island Street Buffalo, NY 14213
Category: American/European Noise Level: Average
Rating: 4.5 /5 Ambiance: Romantic, Casual,
Price Range: $$$ Good for: Dinner
Caters to: Adults Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Takes reservations: Yes Wine List: Average
Left Bank would not be considered a hidden Jem. Although its location is somewhat off the beaten path, most of buffalo is very familiar with this restaurant for its consistent high quality service and even more superior food. On the handful of occasions that I have dined at the left bank I have never had a bad experience whether I went for simple cocktails or a full three course meal.
The Atmosphere: As you turn down gloomy Rhoad Island street in buffalo your attention is not drawn to the brink vine-covered Left Bank restaurant but the fire station and Prime 490 Steakhouse that sits on the opposite side of the street. When pulling past the restaurant there is ample parking for even the busiest of nights. As you enter through the front doors you get a hint of what your experience will be like almost instantaneously. The all brick walls and hardwood floors add to an ambiance of dim lighting and classy chatter. The fully stocked bar is your first encounter when entering the restaurant. It extends the entire side wall which gives room for ample bar seating. Two or three bartenders are very attentive as to not keep you waiting. There skills are extensive so don’t be afraid of getting a tough muddled old fashion or dirty martini. If you’re looking for a kamkatcha soaked red bull then you may be in the wrong atmosphere. The hostess stand separates the blusterous sounds from the bar and the very eloquent dining room. The dining room is spacious, seating about 60 people at a time. The brick exposed walls showcase a variety of different works of art which add to the ambience. The chairs are enjoyably cozy and the tables are spread far enough apart as to not intrude on the playful banter of the people around you.
The Service: The service is very attentive and knowledgable. Being in the profession myself, I would always recommend asking your server for recommendations since they know the menu better than anyone. It sometimes means being directed to the most expensive dishes; however, it never hurts to ask. Our server was delightful and seemed very pleased to have us. She directed me to the 2009 Le Sughere di Frassinelo super Tuscan which my date and myself thoroughly enjoyed (shown in the entry below). Not only was the server very attentive but there are a team of bussers that assist in running, packaging and filling our glasses and plates. The entire staff was very pleasant, inviting and made us feel very comfortable. It always feels good to have great service, so don’t forget to reward your server with a generous tip if you feel they deserved it. (trust me they will remember you and go above and beyond for you whenever you return)!
The Food: The ambience and service were only a precursor to what was a spectacular and delectable meal. I always love to try new things so I end up over ordering. the menu has a great range of cuisine with many palatable small plates, appetizers and entree’s. From seafood dished like the Ahi tuna tartare ($14) to the hot banana peppers ($9), there is truly something to fit any palate. They also have a special bruschetta and ravioli that is prepared different by the chef each day. We started with the Tuna Tartare (sushi, grade A raw tuna) and the bruschetta of the day, followed by the grilled tiger shrimp which came served atop artichoke bottoms and baked goat cheese ($9)…We then ordered two entee’s to share between the two of us (Pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes($22) and linguine with chicken chorizo and roasted red peppers($18)). The portions are large so we had a lot to take home but there is nothing better than next day left overs!
the entire menu can be found here: http://leftbankrestaurant.com/menu.html
* their wine list offered about 30 varieties of red wine by the bottle and about 15 whites… there were many labels that are familiar such as Mark West, Stags leap, and Mondovi. However there were plenty that were new to me (such as the super Tuscan we had). If you are looking to treat yourself they also offer a reserve list with ten bottles averaging $130+ a piece
The wine list can be found here: http://leftbankrestaurant.com/wine.html
Left bank is a great dining experience and I highly recommend a trip there as soon as you can. When you do dine out, do me a favor, change it up, order something you have never had or something you can’t make at home! it will be worth every penny!
Buon Appetito America!