Panos has been a staple of the Elmwood Strip for over 30 years, initially as your typical Greek diner, with breakfast all day, and souvlaki and other Greek specialties. Several years ago they embarked on an impressive remodel, adding a 2nd story dining room, and classing up the decor into a pretty nice place. They still have breakfast all day, and Greek specialties, but now with a full bar and all different kinds of meals.
Having said that, I honestly did not have high expectations for their Bloody Mary. I just figured it would be really easy for them to phone it in and dump some tomato juice in a glass, since they’re a restaurant, and not a fancy cocktail lounge or anything like that. But I was totally wrong.
Served in a tulip glass and garnished with 3 olives, a lemon and lime, and a celery stick, it was surprisingly spicy. With clear pepper in it, it had a nice tomato taste and had a good liquidity. I didn’t notice any horseradish flavor, and it didn’t taste overwhelmingly like Frank’s Hot Sauce, so I can’t say where the spice was coming from. I was very impressed and would definitely order it again.
Visited Trattoria Aroma for the first time a few weeks ago for a late dinner. I’ve heard a lot about it, as it gets mentioned in “Best of” lists for having a good brunch in Buffalo and thus a good Bloody Mary. I wasn’t intending to have one, and didn’t have one with dinner but waited until after at the bar (with a bogo coupon!) It was mid week, since my work schedule is what it is, so I wasn’t sure they’d actually have a mix ready, but the bartender was happy to make one.
It was your standard bloody in a pint glass with 2 olives, lemon and lime garnish. I tried to watch her make it, but she was at the far end of the bar. I caught her using boxed tomato juice, and Frank’s hot sauce, along with pepper but then she added stuff I couldn’t see. It had a good spice level and liquidity, but it was disappointingly average for a place that is consistently voted as having the best brunch in Buffalo.
But I will give them a pass, because not long after, I read yet another review of Trattoria Aroma’s brunch where they mention their outstanding Bloody Mary – in fact a whole Bloody Mary menu! So it appears that their mid week Bloody is fairly standard, made with the ingredients on hand, but their brunch Bloody is great.
Alas due to working nights I may never find out. Now may be my only chance as I have weekends off for the next 3 months. I just need to find a buddy to wake up and go with me!
Staycation brought us to the yummy bbq joint near by, Smoke on the Water, located in Tonawanda right on the Erie Canal. We met up with a few friends for drinks on the patio, and I had heard they offer a bacon Bloody Mary, so it went on to the “must try” list.
Served in a soda class for $7.50, it seemed like a pretty standard mix. I asked for it spicy, of course, and seemed mainly spiced from pepper. It looked like it had horseradish in it but I couldn’t taste it, and it didn’t have an overwhelming Frank’s Hot Sauce taste either, which was good. Garnished with lemon and lime wedge, with a strip of bacon, it was decent enough, but not mind blowing.
They’ve got a great menu, and smoke all their own meat. We didn’t eat there this time, but in the past, it’s been delicious.
When you think of Buffalo you think of chicken wings – that’s right, “chicken wings” never “buffalo wings”. The “buffalo” is superfluous. And when you think chicken wing, most people think of Anchor Bar, where the famous chicken wing was invented. Now I’m a bit of a bad Buffalonian and I don’t eat chicken wings…I know, the shame! But I have weird things with food and the way it looks and while they smell delicious, and I like chicken and chicken fingers, chicken wings, with bones and skin, they just look revolting and I can’t bring them up to my face to eat. SO! I can’t indulge in my hometown’s most famous food, and I can’t really comment on where the best place is to indulge. But I listen to the debate, and I can chime in with the general consensus that if you’re looking for the best, the best is NOT Anchor Bar (sure, stop in for tradition’s sake). Most people will say Duff’s out on Sheridan Drive has the best, but if you’re staying downtown, Gabriel’s Gate will often make the list.
A recent review of the best wing joints in the country by Dave Infante at Thrillist wrote: “The “2” in the 1-2 Western NY punch that sunk Anchor’s chances at glory is Gabriel’s Gate, an Allentown favorite set up inside an old row-house from 1864. They just do ‘em better — not only better than the original, but better than almost anyone in the country. A single order of medium-heat wings is the move: crispy, saucy, and utterly enormous, these may not be Buffalo’s first… but they’re the ones you need to eat when you’re here.”
Now I mention all this chicken wing talk about Gabe’s Gate because I lost my review of their Bloody Mary 🙁
As you can see from the picture, it’s served in a skinny Collins type glass with…something…probably an olive, on a skewer. I do remember talking to the bartender about the drink, as Jason told him I was going to be doing this blog and I believe he said they use a house made mix. I do remember it being tasty, but that’s about all I can report sadly.
The restaurant is decorated with all sorts of neat stuff, like mounted animals, and is located in one of the original 1864 Tift Row houses on Allen.
Fat Bob’s is a great bbq smoke house in Buffalo, in a little one way alley, with a nice patio in the summer. I had a Bloody Mary here once before that wasn’t great, but I was tempted to try it again now that I was going to write the blog.
They use a house made mix, and of course I asked for it spicy, but it was hardly spicy at all. There was definitely horseradish in it, and that nose spiciness that comes from horseradish and wasabi, but none of that capsaicin tongue spiciness from peppers or hot sauce. It was more liquid-y than most and fairly bland, all things considered. It has a good base flavor though, it seems like a good thing to expand upon. Like add bbq sauce or something, given that it’s a bbq restaurant after all. If I hadn’t asked for it spicy, with the horseradish, it would have just been watery tomato juice. $9. It was still fairly disappointing.
We started hanging out at the Gypsy Parlor quite a bit for a while before schedules changed and things got in the way. It’s a neat little place that opened on Grant and became a draw to a neighborhood that didn’t have much.
I’ve had a few Bloody Marys at the Gypsy and with the right bartender, it can have the appropriate spice level. This visit, the bartender was Britney, and it wasn’t overwhelmingly spicy, but it wasn’t just blah boring tomato juice either. Her special ingredient was olive juice, but in general it’s just slightly enhanced tomato juice with lemon, lime and olive garnish, and for $9 it’s not worth it. They have an interesting drink menu with other better options to try if you visit.
Lenox Grill in the Lenox Hotel on North is more famous for their insane bottled beer selection (365 beers for 365 days) but we stopped in for some late night food for the first time so I had to get a Bloody Mary. Their website claims the best in town for their Sunday brunch, but really, who doesn’t?
Look at that beer list, there are just pages and pages! Served in a pint glass, the Bloody Mary had your typical small olive garnish with lemon and lime. It was adequately spicy and peppery. It wasn’t super special but for $5 it was enjoyable and I would order it again.
Merge is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Buffalo with an interesting cocktail menu, as it turns out. I’ve never eaten there, so I can’t comment on the food, and I only discovered the cocktail menu and Bloody Mary when stopping in for a gift certificate, but I was sure glad I found it.
As it turns out, Merge has the best Bloody Mary in Buffalo.
Merge uses a house made mix, made from the bar manager Chris’s recipe, and it’s vegan. What? Bloody Mary’s aren’t vegan? You learn something new every day. I had no idea, but Worcestershire sauce is not vegan, but they use some brand which is, so there you go! The drink included sriracha, with an onion, stuffed olive and celery garnish. It was very spicy with a good tomato taste. It wasn’t too liquid-y and not too thick and ketchup-y. Served in a mason jar, I think it was $9 (we had a coupon, so not sure on the price.)
It was delicious. We don’t go here often/ever because there are so many good restaurants in Buffalo, and we aren’t restricted by being vegan, but we really should, at least just for cocktails.
Mothers is an upscale restaurant, that for some reason plays loud club music at night and appeals to a young douchy crowd. Or at least that’s how it seems from the few times I’ve tried to go there. They serve food late though, so we’ve gone a few times intending to eat, but the atmosphere has been a turn off so we’ve never stayed long. It’s one of these places that has a reputation of serving good food and drink, so I had high expectations for the Bloody Mary I ordered.
Served in a Collins glass, for $6, the drink was disappointing. I tend not to ask the bartenders for details on how they make their drinks, so my reviews are just based on what I think I can taste, and admittedly I am not a foodie or any kind of connoisseur. Just remember that.
The drink was basically tomato juice with Worcestershire sauce and probably spiced with Frank’s (which as far as hot sauces go, I don’t care for). The spice level was minor, not what I prefer, and only garnished with lemon and lime. There was absolutely nothing special about it, and got big enough for the price.
I realize drinks like this will vary by bartender so I shouldn’t be completely biased to Mothers. But given that I don’t particularly like Mothers in general, I see no reason to try it again.
A few I found on facebook.
2013-14 was a long, cold winter. We had a dinner date with a group of friends to celebrate a 1 year wedding anniversary only a blizzard hit, so we ended up waiting for our southtown friends for quite a while at the bar. Ok.
Nice big shrimp garnish, in this Bloody Mary from Seneca Niagara Casino. I don’t like seafood, but I’ll eat a shrimp garnish from time to time.
Then another blizzard hit up in my neck of the woods, shutting down pretty much everything, yet we still ventured out of the house to the 2 places that were open Target and Tully’s, which had the biggest Bloody Mary I’ve ever seen. I’m not entirely sure the size of the glass, 22 oz I think, and for $4.75….FOUR SEVENTY FIVE! Jesus Christ, how does this place stay in business?! And why do we never go here?