Food Porn: Torches

I’ve been wanting to eat at Torches for the past 2 years.  It really started when I first took interest in Buffalo food scene and started doing some research.  Their name came up a lot on blogs and other restaurant websites, their menu had some interesting items, and I had read positive reviews about their head chef.  Their actual website could use some work, but needless to say, I was extremely excited to try it out and my expectations were very high.  On top of all of that, Nickel City Chef has been going on for 2 years now and JJ Richert (head chef of Torches) has been kicking ass in the competitions and making me even more excited to see what he, and his staff, can do.

We made reservations for the Saturday of Memorial Weekend and understandably there weren’t a lot of people at the restaurant.  From everything I have heard though, reservations are usually a must for Torches as they are busy almost every night.  We sat down right away and the server immediately poured us some water and I ordered a Hoegarden.  They actually had a pretty decent beer selection; I don’t remember the exacts but it was 10-15 different bottles at least.  Compliments of the chef, our waitress brought over some marinated chicken (seen above) and white rice.  Even though it was pretty small in portion, the chicken was delicious and it was something to hold us over until our appetizers arrived.

I had ordered their Pierogi Cake ($8) which probably will go down as one of the most interesting menu items I have ever eaten.  When ordering an item that has the word pierogi in its title, my initial thought of what this was going to be differed greatly than what I saw when my waitress put this in front of me.  The Pierogi Cake had a crispy/fried outside that fell apart with my fork and had a fluffy potato inside filled with pieces of Kielbasa Sausage and covered in hot sauce and sour cream.  All while sitting on top of a delicious pile of sweet and sour cabbage.

For the main course Alli and I both ordered specials they were serving that night.  Alli went with Torche’s version of Steak and Eggs (~$36) which is a Dry Aged (28 days to be exact, overhead the chef talking to a couple a the bar) Rib Eye steak topped with a poached egg that was then breaded and deep fried.  The entire package was crazy delicious and when Alli (reluctantly) let me try a piece of her steak it literally melted in my mouth.  (Alli edit: It was by far the best meal I have had in months, years even.  The steak was incredible; juicy, enormously flavorful, and topped with a garlic/herb butter that they finished at the table.  The deep fried poached egg was something a little different but complimented the steak perfectly.  I don’t even have any other words to describe it other than absolutely incredibly delicious).  I ordered myself the Puerto Rican style Skirt Steak (~$22) which was also served with a sweet potato filled with a corn salsa.  This was the first time I’ve ever tried a Skirt steak but it was very similar to Flank Steaks that Alli and I have cooked at home in the past.  A thin steak that isn’t the most flavorful on its own but with some marinating and/or sauce can be fantastic.  With a crispy crunch on the outside, the beef was incredibly tender inside and covered in a tangy and slightly hot sauce.  It was really good, but in comparison to the one bite of the Ribeye, you could tell the difference in flavor with the cuts of meat.

Having built up these crazy expectations of Torches I was shocked and happily surprised when it lived up to them and exceeded them.  I enjoy that Buffalo is known for their “every man” cuisine of great Pub Food, but its restaurants like Torches (and others) that showcase some great creativity in Fine Dining.  Alli and I left feeling great, we were both incredibly full and Alli felt that she had one of the best meals she’s ever had.  In terms of service, our waitress was very attentive and even the hostess came over and made sure we were enjoying our meal.  The meals came out in a timely manner, we didn’t have to sit around and just wait for the next item.  Everything seemed to come out when it was supposed to.

While it won’t be an incredibly cheap meal (their dinner entrees are roughly $20 – $35), it certainly is a great location for a birthday or some other celebratory event.  However, you can head on over to restaurant.com and pick up a gift certificate for Torches, but you’ll have to eat during their off hours.  It is only good on weekdays, not including Friday.

Torches on Urbanspoon

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