Food Porn: Shango

  • Restaurant Type: Casual Fine Dining
  • Cuisine: Cajun
  • Prices: Appetizers $10, Po Boys $15, Entrees $20-$25
  • Location: North Buffalo

I have certain dates circled on my calender.  Among those dates are the NHL Trade Deadline, Taste of Buffalo and the start of Local Restaurant Week (Alli edit: and I’m hoping our wedding…).  A few weeks ago Buffalo’s restaurants opened their doors and Alli and I embarked on our 5th Local Restaurant Week experience.  We started this great week off with a visit to Shango, a Cajun restaurant located on Main street right near UB’s South Campus.  I actually wasn’t sure if we’d be able to get into Shango this week, but after sampling their offer at the Local Restaurant Week Preview Night, I realized I needed to find a way to eat there no matter what.  So we called Monday and happened to find an opening, here’s how our meal went.

When I think of the eating options around UB’s South Campus, fine dining really doesn’t pop into my head.  There are some great cheap, college eats in the area but Shango really stands alone as a legitimate “nice restaurant”.  The inside is gorgeous, albeit a little confusing with their curtain-like entrance, and I was immediately impressed with their beer selection.  With about 15+ taps of micro-brews behind the bar, even if you don’t have the time/funds for a sit-down dinner,this place would be awesome to just sit at the bar for a drink and po boy.

Even though I had sampled their food during the Restaurant Week Preview Night, I still was really eager to try out Shango properly.  From everything I had read this place was supposed to be fantastic.  Their restaurant week offering was a choice of an appetizer, an entree and a dessert for $21.11 per person.  We decided to add on an additional appetizer and ordered their Crab Dip ($9, pictured in gallery).  My previous crab dip experiences haven’t been very memorable but Shango’s version was impressively heavy on the crab.  In fact most of the dip was just pieces of Crab and Artichokes.  The menu did say there was Jalapeno’s in the dip as well but I really couldn’t notice any heat.  Aside from the tortilla’s being a little stale, the crispy crostini pieces were perfect with the dip.

For the appetizer on the Restaurant Week special, Alli and I both ordered their Gumbo which I vividly remembered loving the week prior.  Alli’s really the Gumbo fanatic of the two of us, so I was interested to see what she thought  (Alli edit: it was phenomenal).  When I had my first sip it was just as I remembered, a very smooth flavor without that strong kick of Worcestershire sauce that you might normally expect.  It didn’t have a lot of rice (in fact a very small amount) but it did have huge pieces of chicken and sausage inside.  The sausage had a nice bite to it and gave the soup some spiciness that the broth was lacking.  You can tell the chef puts a lot of time into making this gumbo.  If you are looking for something packed with spice and Worcestershire flavor, this might not be for you; but if you are craving a smooth and complex gumbo with subtle flavors and huge juicy chunks of meat, please do yourself a favor and give it a try.

Now even though my Pecan Crusted Catfish (pictured above) was good, it was nothing compared to the perfectly cook Steak (pictured below) that Alli ordered herself.  The Catfish itself was extremely hot when it came out, so I had to give it time to settle down before I could really enjoy it.  The catfish itself didn’t have a strong flavor but the crusted exterior had a great bite to it.  I did find myself trying to combine bites of the fish with the creamy corn to give the meal some extra flavor.  I’m not sure how the corn was cooked but whatever spice it had was fantastic.  That said, the steak was the main attraction, Alli ordered it medium and it basically melted in her mouth.  She’s not normally a fan of spinach but she found herself eating everything on her plate.

For dessert we both ordered the Beignets (pictured in gallery), which is a doughnut that’s associated with New Orleans.  I’ve watched a cfew specials on Food Network about the famous regional dessert but have never tried it myself.  The version Shango was serving was essentially Beignet “holes”; tiny fried balls that had a more dense “cake like” texture then the airy fried dough we’ve all had at the fair.  Inside was also some melted chocolate that really put the dessert over the top.

Normally with Restaurant Week, you only get to see a glimpse of a restaurant and are still left wondering what an average “normal” dining experience would be like, this wasn’t the case with Shango.  Yes, I’d love to go back to try more of their menu out and everything I have heard about their Brunch Menu is supposedly phenomenal.  Our meals were the same portion size as you would normally get when ordering off the menu and, aside from the Catfish and Beignets not being on their menu online, everything else is offered regularly.

If you are looking for a new restaurant to try, I definitely would suggest Shango.  Their Cajun menu has great options for those who are looking for something new (Crawfish, Creole Meatloaf) and some “safer” options with a Cajun twist (Fried Chicken, Lobster Linguini).  A couple could honestly spend as little as $30 for two people (their Po Boys are in the $10 range) or you could have a special night and go all out and spend $100.  Parking can be a little limiting because this is Main Street near UB’s South Campus and parallel parking on the street during certain hours can be a nightmare.  If you are looking to eat there on a weekend I’d suggest making reservations as I’ve been told this place can be pretty hard to get a table.

Photo Gallery:

Shango on Urbanspoon

4 thoughts on “Food Porn: Shango

  1. Love Shango, one of my favorites – unique and delicious!

  2. The first time I tried Shango was during restaurant week last year and I fell in love with it. Everything was so delicous, and I remember the gumbo well. Reading this review makes me want to go back ASAP!

  3. elizabeth

    love shango everything on the menu is delicious along with their wines

  4. Castor Troy

    Shango is one of Buffalos Best..Go for Sunday Brunch,,the best!

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