Food Porn: Niagara Seafood

source: BuffaloRising.com

**UPDATE** 12/8/11 – We’ve since went back to Niagara Seafood and have written up a proper Food Porn article.  Check out our article about their Pho and Banh mi.

When I first moved to Allentown, I had no idea that a wealth of international cuisine was right down the street from me.  I’m not even talking about restaurants; on Niagara Street you can find a Puerto Rican bakery, three Seafood/Asian super markets and even a Halal/Arabic market.  Niagara Seafood is a fairly new addition to the area and every time I’ve driven past their newly  renovated store I’ve made a mental note to check it out.  Well, the other night as I was out and about running errands so I decided to finally stop in and order something to go.

Now before I walked in I really didn’t know what they served, but I assumed that I could either get some groceries and make dinner or order some type of easy “to go” meal.  Well, I didn’t get any groceries (although their seafood selection is impressive) but I did order some Vietnamese to go and I should mention that this “Food Porn” should have a major asterisk.  Half of the preparation was done at Niagara Seafood and the other half was at home by me, so keep that in mind when seeing/reading the following….

I didn’t have the option that night of eating at the market, so I had to order everything to go.  One of my favorite Vietnamese dishes, Pho (soup with rare meats/seafoods), was on the menu but I’ve never eaten it outside of a restaurant.  So this is what they gave me at the restaurant: a large container of broth, some beef that was lightly cooked (I have a feeling they legally couldn’t give me actual raw beef), a bag of rice noodles, some bean sprouts, scallions and a soy/ketchup sauce.  The owner could tell I was confused with what I should do so he explained how to prepare it.  First I had to boil the broth, while boiling I add the beef, vegetables and sauce.  While that’s going on he told me to microwave the noodles in a container for 3 minutes and finally combine the two together.

Here is glimpse at the final product….

It turned out pretty good actually.  Clearly, it’s not the same as getting a fresh bowl from a restaurant, where the chef who is preparing the dish know all the ins and outs of making it taste delicious.  In retrospect, 3 minutes was way too long for the noodles and when I took the bowl out of the microwave I had turned into a hard block.  Luckily, when I added the broth the noodles softened up and came apart.  The broth was full of flavor and the pieces of beef they gave me just melted and flavored the soup even more.  It’s hard to really judge and comment about how much better this dish could have been since I put it together myself but I bet it would be twice as good ordering it fresh from the market.

The words Banh Mi and Buffalo don’t really go together and it’s a shame because this Vietnamese sandwich is simply delicious (here’s more info).  Before our trip to Niagara Seafood, we had previously tried 99 Fast Food’s Banh Mi (they’ve since taken it off the menu) but we were not too thrilled about the choice of roll.  Cole’s also has their own unique take on the Banh Mi but theirs is an American-ized version and although pretty good, not what I’m looking for.  So I was absolutely thrilled about seeing it on the Niagara Seafood menu and I even told the owner/cashier that I was really excited and asked about the roll.  He assured me it was an authentic, crispy Banh Mi roll and mentioned something about running a restaurant in Toronto.  He was right, while it wasn’t identical to a French Baguette, the roll was really crispy yet still have a fluffy interior.  Even though these sandwiches were pre-made and stored in a cooler, I took one home and toasted it for a couple minutes and it turned out great.  Filled with ham, sausage, carrots, cucumbers and a creamy dressing it was exactly what I was hoping for.  I would have loved more vegetables in the sandwich but, when it comes to Banh Mi in Buffalo, beggars cant be choosers.  Again, I would love to have ordered a fresh version and definitely will in the near future but aside from the lack of veggies I was pretty happy.

So even though this Food Porn should have a giant asterisk because “I didn’t have the true experience”, I still can recommend it as a good dinner/lunch spot.  Their menu isn’t really large, it’s mostly various types of Pho and items like Fried Rice and Banh Mi.  They do also serve Chicken Wings and Fish Fry’s, but I’d probably just stick to the Vietnamese cuisine.  You can sit there to eat as they have about 4 tables.  Funny enough their market/grocery selection is pretty mediocre, if you are looking for a various spices/sauce you should check out the market that’s literally right across the street (no idea what the name is).  But if you want an authentic Bahn Mi (for cheap too, only $4) then you have to make the trip down Niagara St. and grab one.  You can bet I’ll be updating this article with a trip for a dine in experience in the near future.

Niagara Seafood on Urbanspoon

3 thoughts on “Food Porn: Niagara Seafood

  1. Thats how all Pho comes when you order it to go, well at least the places we’ve ordered from, Red Pepper, Pho 99. What we do is bring the broth to a boil then pour it over the noodles and meat. Don’t microwave the noodles, let the broth cook it. Then we add the basil, sprouts, lime, etc to taste. Then mix in the Sirracha (spicy red sauce) and hoisin (sweet dark brown) sauce to taste. I prefer a more spicy sauce.

    How’s their seafood selection? I may have to try out this place on my lunch break.

    • Don Burtless

      the seafood was ok, but nothing really jumped out to me…it looks more suited to restaurants then individuals. Actually the place located directly next door actually has a huge fridge with way more seafood (smaller portions) but they don’t have a kitchen.

      Thanks for the tips though, if i I ever order to go I’ll follow your instructions. But I’ll probably just order it for there next time ha, leave it to the professionals.

  2. Mark

    FYI – their grocery is just across Rhode Island on the other corner.

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