Food Porn: Encore

For our first Local Restaurant trip this week we decided to try Encore, a very hip restaurant/night club located on Pearl Street (but honestly could be included as part of the “chip strip”).  Truth be told, we originally were going to try out Encore last Restaurant Week, but we called an audible the last minute and ended up eating at The Place instead.  However, Alli and I still really wanted to try their food out, so we made our reservation right away.

And good thing we did because it’s looking like this week might be the most popular yet; a few days after I made my 6:30 pm reservation I noticed that almost every other time had already been filled.  We walked into Encore and were seated right near the front door, which was a slight bummer (definitely not the best seat in the house) but as I watched couple after couple be turned away for not having a reservation, I started feeling better about it.  So here is how our meal went…

What originally attracted Alli and I to Encore was their amount of food.  Their restaurant week special is the following:

  • a glass of wine/domestic beer to start
  • a soup or salad
  • a choice of an entree (5 to choose from)
  • a dessert
So Alli ordered herself the white glass of wine while I ordered a Labatt (my choices were limited).  Obviously we had prepared ahead of time and looked at Encore’s offering on the Local Restaurant website, so Alli knew she’d be ordering the Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Bites and I knew I’d order the Seafood Bisque.

The Tomato soup was a huge let down, it turned out to pretty much be a big bowl of spaghetti sauce.  Honestly, it was thick and really did taste like a jar of Ragu and not really like soup.  Alli actually couldn’t finish the entire thing and kept commenting how she felt like she needed some pasta noodles.  (We had friends who dined there later in the night and had the same exact complaint.)  My Seafood Bisque, on the other hand, was great.  A nice heavy cream with bits of several different pieces of seafood (crab, shrimp, etc) and actually was a little spicy too.  I devoured the entire bowl, which was actually a really good amount, very quickly.

For our next stage of the meal we both chose our entrees.  Alli went with the Flat iron steak and French Fries with Parmesan cheese sprinkled over them (Parmesean Frites).  She ordered the steak medium and they cooked it perfectly; they served the steak already cut up and you could see the pink juicy center.  The fries were pretty damn good too, freshly cut, crispy, and covered in cheese.  It was a simple extra touch that really gave it some extra flavor.  If you’re going to Encore this week for Restaurant Week, this is a great option.

I went with the two sushi roll option, at Encore they were kind enough to offer almost every roll on their menu for to choose from.  Even most of their specialty and deluxe rolls were available for their restaurant week.  I ordered their Spicy Crunchy Tuna (left) and their Buffalo Wing Roll (right).  Yes, you heard that second part correctly, they were offering a “sushi” roll that had cooked chicken covered in hot sauce, combined with celery and wrapped in rice and seaweed and then rolled in what I’m assuming is probably panko.  I understand that it seems like a typical Buffalo thing to incorporate fried chicken, hot sauce and blue cheese (that was drizzled over the rolls) as “Sushi” but an outsider might be shocked by this roll.  As long as you’re not a hardcore Sushi fan, you could definitely enjoy this.  This is one of those appetizers that you could get you’re Dad to try and he’d be bragging to his co-workers that he “tried sushi last night”.  The spicy tuna was alright, I would have preferred the “spicy” sauce to be a little more intense and give me a kick but the fish itself was good.  It’s hard to serve sushi and stand out in the city where you’re competition is Sea Bar, Wasabi and Kuni’s. Menu items like Buffalo Chicken or their Philly Cheese Steak rolls certainly cater to the less adventurous crowd.  But like I said, to those who take their love of sushi very seriously, this probably isn’t the place for you to get you’re sushi fix.  Note: they do offer “All you can eat” sushi nights every Tuesday for $20.95.

Our final courses of dessert included chocolate cake for Alli (which she raved about) and peanut butter pie for me (which was a little frozen, which is understandable for Encore considering they probably ordered these desserts specifically for Restaurant Week).
Whenever I think of Encore I think of the night club that has arguably one of the most attractive/young/successful crowds downtown.  It’s weird to be there in a restaurant setting and not when its overflowing with bar patrons at 2am. But, overall, our time at Encore was very nice, Alli and I each had specific dishes that we really liked and would probably consider coming back to order again.  The only real drawback was our table that so close to the main bar/entrance and it made for a very loud dinner.  Some rowdy happy hour crowd were getting a little too vocal and it would kill the mood every now and then. That said, our waiter (will understandably busy) was friendly and our food came out very quickly).  In terms of a viable option for Restaurant Week, I’d say this is a great stop.  Alli and I left very full and couldn’t even imagine eating anything else that night.

Encore on Urbanspoon

6 thoughts on “Food Porn: Encore

  1. elizabeth

    I am glad Ali’s steak was good. They must have changed the way they cook and present it this year. My bf and I went last year for Resturant Week because we love the resturant in general and was very disapointed with the steak. He basically had a slab of meat with no seasoning and no flavor. I got the stuffed chicken and it was very good. Every other time we dined we have gotten the Buffalo Wing Roll as a side or a meal. We love it and recommend everyone trying it sushi fan or not. So different and unique (kinda like Sea Bar’s Beef on Weck Roll) It is nice to see other options of “sushi” for the people who don’t like fish.

  2. Ellie

    We went to Encore Tuesday night, my boyfriends Seafood Bisque was lukewarm which was disappointing but it tasted good otherwise. I had the tomato soup and didn’t hate it but did not love it either. I ordered the sushi rolls, I had the smoking eel and the pep roll, they were very good. Especially the smoking eel! My boyfriend had the steak he enjoyed it whereas I found it a little boring for my taste. I had the chocolate cake for dessert and he had the cheesecake, we both wanted Peanut butter pie but they were out. :( It was a fun night out but I doubt I’d make the trip to Buffalo to eat there again.

  3. right, we went there for last local restaurant week and we reserved for upstairs eating area… yet when we got there, it was crowded and they put two tables together right next in front to the bar downstairs which was unpleasant.

    no one really liked the food or service. plus, paying to park next door for $5 is not welcoming.

    this is not a place i expect seeing open after 5 years from now

  4. Erin

    I don’t think your sushi roll could be covered in ‘tempura’ because tempura is a cooking technique not an ingredient.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempura
    Perhaps your roll was covered in Panko bread crumbs? Less likely, Tempura batter?

    • Don Burtless

      yea, you’re right Erin. stupid mistake on my part. thanks for the comment.

  5. Next time you come down, Donny, let me know so I can hook you up with some sushi ;)

    Also, if you order the wing roll again, tell the server you want Sriracha on it instead of Frank’s.

    For those who like the smoking eel roll, it’s a huge favorite at work. Try the lobster roll if you’re a fan of the “smoker”…it’d be right up your alley!

    *not-so-shameless plug by an Encore sushi chef*

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