Food Porn: Merge Restaurant

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Lately, I have grown a new love and pride of being a Buffalo-ian.

Maybe it started with my search to find all the cool places to eat, or maybe it was my new job working downtown.  I’m not sure when this started but I’m glad it did.  I’ve come to have a new respect for the restaurant, night life and art scenes all over Buffalo.

Merge Restaurant is a new addition to the Buffalo restaurant scene, located on Delaware Ave (near Edward/Allen area) right near Snooty Fox.  The location is no discrete  you could pass by and not realize there’s a cafe/restaurant inside.  Maybe one of their most glaring flaws is the lack of a sign, sure a huge neon sign might not be the classy-est option, but it would definitely draw some much needed attention.  (Their best feature might be the restaurant has a twitter).

The theme of the restaurant is art, when you sit down you have colored pencils you can use to draw on your paper place mats.  There is a stage where events are hosted weekly.  Everything from lessons on painting, to film studies, to book readings are held.  The place definitely has a feel of a “hipster” coffee house, but the presentation and the food selection make it way more then that.

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I’ll be honest, the only reason Alli and I tried this place out was because of a deal we got through restaurant.com’s 80% off deal.  But i’m glad we had the chance, the menu had a large selection of very healthy food options, especially a great menu for vegan and vegetarians out there.  Looking at the appetizers I knew right from the start that I needed to try their Bruschetta Trio.

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The olive tapenade was amazing, very strong but amazing with bits of black and green olives mixed together.  Alli loved the artichoke/asiago spread (so did i, the flavor was amazing) and to top it all off the house basalmic dressing in the middle was maybe the best part.  I could have taken that home and put it on anything.  For the “main course” of lunch, Alli then ordered the Jake Panini (pictured below) which is:

grilled turkey panini with mozzarella cheese, sundried tomatoes, and pesto

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It came with a delicious side of Mac N Cheese.  I ordered myself the Sherri Wrap (pictured below) which is:

roasted italian marinated chicken, cranberries, brie, and spinach

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My wrap was great, it was my first time to try Brie on any level, especially in sandwich form.  I won’t lie, I probably wouldn’t get it again but that is because I realized I’m not a big fan of brie.  For my side dish, I got the kale salad which was actually really tasty.  I also got some lovely cup of tea to go wth the meal.

This place is really cool, and combined with Cafe 59 gives me two awesome, healthy, trendy places to go eat on my lunch break.  I plan on going back and trying out some of their other items (I still want a fried pickle) and I would recommend anyone who goes to Starbucks or Panara’s to try this place instead.  Support some more local business and enjoy a really good meal at the same time.

Merge on Urbanspoon

6 thoughts on “Food Porn: Merge Restaurant

  1. dude! there is spinach on your plate! and no smothered fries???
    i can’t believe it!
    wait… wait… whew!
    For a second there I thought monkey’s were flying out of my butt.
    this food looks amazing.

  2. Katie

    Even better than spinach…kale salad with cranberries…mmmm

  3. Justin

    The food while ok is nothing really that amazing, 3 out of the 4 people at my table had somewhat tasteless entrees while the 4th had an all together failure of a salad and a side of Polenta. Last I heard a salad shouldn’t have what amounts to the same volume of oil on it as the Exxon Valdez spill.

    That being said the service is absolutely atrocious, our waiter (Rocco) flat out insulted one our party members by saying something to the effect of “why would go out to dinner and order a sandwich?” kind of funny considering their menu contains about half a dozen sandwiches on it. He also brought up the fact that some dinner items had “just too many carbs in it to eat.” Not quite sure why he felt the need to bring that up but it seemed out of place, apparently we weren’t the only diners he was discouraging as we could hear him at the table next to us telling them not to order certain items. Doesn’t show a lot of confidence in your cuisine when your waiter is dagging half the menu.

    On top of that it he was painfully slow at taking our beverage order and with coming back with the actual drinks. I mean like… painfully slow, I could have gotten halfway through War and Peace before my water got to the table. I wasn’t the only one at my table who noticed this. It just seems a little ridiculous when there is only a handful of tables populated with people to have to wait an extended amount of time to get drinks, order your meal etc… We practically had to throw the bill at him to get him to process the credit card so we could leave.

    The place seems like a great idea but someone really needs to train the waitstaff on what is acceptable protocol with the customer and the actual concept of being a waiter and all it entails. Maybe if I was 22 years old this wouldn’t bother me but there gets to a certain point on life where you just don’t want to put up with amateur service when you go out to eat a meal.

  4. Jessica

    I was one of the above mentioned diners, and the accounts of horrible service from Justin are completely accurate. One of the diners asked for salad dressing when she received her salad, because of course she wasn’t asked when ordering. No worries here though, she was informed that she just couldn’t see the salad dressing because it was green and blended in with the letuce. We walked away feeling as if we were bothering somebody by making them do their job. As we all went our seperate ways for the evening we commented that even though it was the slowest service we had experienced it was the fastest meal we had ever had. There was simply no reason to stick around, especially since there was no booze to drench the bland food, and tacky service. And a personal pet peeve of mine, if places want to advertise using organic chicken it should probably be in more then one dinner entree, but I am picky that way.

  5. Don Burtless

    Wow,

    Thanks for the responses. We went there for lunch and luckily it was really dead so the wait time wasn’t that long. However, our server was noticeably slow, and I could see the potential for poor service. But the location, the art and the food were all pretty good. Sure the food wasn’t outstanding, but I was still pretty satisfied with my meal but I understand what you guys are talking about. I know the location is still relatively new so maybe if they continue to get this poor feedback they will get better and hire a better staff.

  6. cat

    My friend and I attended the opening of the April art show “Spring, Growth & Renewal (a great show of which I am proud to be a part of!) . After enjoying a wonderful glass of organic wine and appetizers we decide to try their cheese panninis with garden salad and side of sweet potato fries. All were delicious and served by a very friendly and humorous waiter named Rocco. The service was very good and the atmosphere fantastic. We will definitely be going back to enjoy more art and check out the live music. Great job Eliza and staff!

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