Restaurant: Shango Bistro and Wine Bar
Location: 3260 Main Street Buffalo, NY 14214
Category: New Orleans/ Soulful Noise Level: Low
Rating: 4/5 Ambiance: Romantic,Classy
Price Range: $$$ Good for: Dinner
Caters to: Adults Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Takes reservations: Yes Wine List: Excellent
Shango is a spectacular choice when looking for an upscale eatery to impress a couple of friends. Its location and reputation are not very well-known but after a night of dining at Shango the haunting dreams of the eclectic New Orleans style cuisine will keep you salivating till your next encounter.
The Atmosphere: Shango is located on the forever busy Main st in Buffalo across from the University of Buffalo south campus…The hussle of traffic and bustle of city busses does not take away from this great little bistro. Shango is tucked between two small buildings which drowns out most city sounds and allows you to submerge yourself into the classy New Orleans experience! As you enter Shango you automatically get a comforting feeling as a jazzy pianist keeps the feeling of the restaurant alive. His ragtime and blues makes you feel as if you have stumbled into a back alley bar on Bourbon st. New Orleans. As you approach the bar a host is eager and willing to accept your coat and check you in. The dimly lit restaurant is split into two rectangular rooms. On one half is the bar which extends along the right side. The bar seats about 10 people comfortably on high-top stools with a couple of attending bartenders. Adjacent to the bar along the wall is about 6-7 tables for two which are squeezed in to allow for extra dinner seating. There is no liquor at Shango but they do provide you with over 150 different bottles of wine and many exotic beer selections.
Wine and beer list can be seen here: http://www.shangobistro.com/Wine
They offer about 7-8 glasses of red and white wines by the glass. All have a distinct region and complexity to them. In addition to the wine they offer a variety of domestic and imported beers (about 14 of each). Whether you are looking for a heavy cream ale or a crisp pilsner they have something for everyone so inquire with the bartender.
The main dining room sits about 30 people. Four person booths line the all stucco wall with staggering two person tables woven in. The cherry wood finished booths and white table cloths add to the comfort of the restaurant. Since the dining room seats only about 30 people the noise level is kept low which allows you to engage in conversation with your guests and not be over heard.
The Service: Our Server was very attentive and knowledgable about all of the food and most of the wine. As always I asked my server for recommendations on both the food and wine. He directed me towards a 2008 Ojai Vineyards Santa Barbara County Syrah ($58), which was delicious! Like any great restaurant there were a couple buss boys that were constantly roaming the dinning room floor for any plates to be cleared and food to be wrapped to keep the clutter on the tables at a minimum. The entire staff was very informative and helpful which made my dining experience easy and comfortable. As always, 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: What is great about the food at Shango is that the cuisine is very different then what most people are used to. The enhanced use of different spices and ingredients brings a whole new meaning to the term soul food! There menu is relatively small with only a couple of salads, about 5-10 appetizers and 10 entrée’s. They do have specials but only one or two additions to each course. There salads are all different in their makeup. The wild mushroom and spinach salad was served warm with fresh shaved Asiago and a delicious andouille sausage vinaigrette ($9). On the other hand they did have a more traditional spring green salad with fresh apples, walnuts and a nice balsamic vinaigrette ($9). The appetizers range from your classics (fried calamari w/ red chilli aioli ($9)) to more unique (Crispy fried frog legs w/ a carrot, celery & smoked blue cheese slaw ($8)). My guest and I ordered the blackened tuna tacos which were scrumtious followed by a muscle scampi (New Orleans style= Spicy tomato cream broth loaded with andouille sausage). The portions of the muscles was large which was always nice to see you get what you pay for. We then skipped right to our entrees. I Ordered the duck special medium rare with a cranberry, balsamic glaze. The portion was generous and the duck brest was cooked to perfection ($22). On the flip side my guest ordered a fabulous seafood Creole Bouillabaisse – (aromatic broth with shrimp, scallops, crab, mussels & catfish, seafood tomato broth, fennel, peppers, onions, red potatoes ($23)). For most of the entre’s you find yourself spending around the 40-50$ between two people.
The entire menu can be found here: http://www.shangobistro.com/Menu
Their wine list was fantastic offering over 150 different bottles from all across the globe. as always I encourage trying something you have never had.
The entire wine list can be found here: http://www.shangobistro.com/Wine
Shango was and has always been a wonderful dining experience with an attentive staff and even better food quality. The next time you and your family are discussing a certain style of food that your are interested in maybe you can say “how about some soul food, I know this great New Orleans style bistro”…let me know the reaction!
and as always
Buon Appetito America!