Food Porn: Bambino Bar and Kitchen

Back in April we wrote about all the new restaurants that were coming to Buffalo this summer, but getting married and going on our Honeymoon has prevented a trip to any of these new restaurants.  So Alli and I knew that when we got back to Buffalo we’d step up our game and start crossing these new places off our list, first up was Bambino Bar and Kitchen.  We already had read some positive reviews (Natalie Eats Buffalo, Buffalo Spree) of the place and the owner has done a good job with Fiamma on Hertel, so Alli and I were excited to get a little dressed up and dine on some Italian Cuisine.

Quick Info:

  • Restaurant Type: Semi-Fine Dining
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Price: Pizzas ~$12, Entrees $14-20, Appetizers Under $10
  • Location: Downtown

We walked in and were immediately seated without a wait, a server asked if we’d like any “specialty” water or just tap and then proceeded to give us some bread (which was warm and crusty and went nicely with the olive oil that was already waiting on the table).  I liked the interior of the restaurant, being so close to Chippewa I was partly expecting to have a “bar first, restaurant second” approach like you see with several other locations near the Chip strip.  But Bambino appears to take this restaurant thing pretty seriously with a smaller bar and plenty of dining room (some on the first floor but the majority of the seating is upstairs or on the patio in the back).

The place seemed a little busy and our waitress at moments seemed a little overwhelmed; we had to wait for our drinks and she forgot my appetizer a couple times.  Our only other complaint was their Pizza Oven had some major issue that day (apparently a fire) and we couldn’t order any of the Pizza’s from the menu, which was really our main reason for trying out Bambino that day.  So as we sat down to eat our meal there were chimney repair men/cleaners that were lugging equipment all around us, a little annoying but I understood this was freak occurence.

We started our meal off with a bowl of Mixed Olives and their Warm Crab Dip (both pictured in the gallery).  The mixed olives dish included a variety sour olives covered in some olive oil and mixed with almonds and slices of clementines.  It would make a great snack to eat while drinking a couple beers, but before a meal it was almost too strong of a flavor.  The Warm Crab Dip was a little disappointing, while the menu explained it had spinach and artichokes in the dip, when we started to eat it we discovered there was almost no crab in it at all.  With very little meat and almost no hint of crab flavor, being advertised as “Warm Crab Dip” was slightly misleading.

For dinner Alli ordered the Carbonara and promptly ate the entire dish.  Executed nicely, they didn’t skimp on the pancetta and the plate presentation was actually quite appetizing on its own.  I was only allowed to try one bite, but I could tell Alli was pleased.

Since my first option of Pizza was eliminated I had to make a decision about what to eat, one of the specials that day was an Asiago Risotto (pictured below) with Pulled Pork, their “Sunday sauce” (meat sauce), peas and fresh Mozzarella that’s actually made fresh in house.  As sad as I was to not have pizza, this dish was actually really great.  Their sauce had a nice sweet kick and the fresh mozzarella had melted into the dish.  The Pork hadn’t been pulled as much as cut up into small pieces but it was so tender that you could cut it with the side of a fork.  The risotto itself was a bit “mushy” but combined with peas, pork and mozzarella there was a lot of different textures and flavors going on with each bite.  The dish was very filling and I only finished about half of the bowl, leaving me with some tasty left overs for the next day.

Bambino seems to be a nice place to grab a bite to eat before a show at Shea’s or an after work meal for downtown employees.  It also seems to be a fast growing “girls night” location, I noticed halfway through our meal that almost 75% of the tables were composed of mid 20’s women that were dressed up and drinking lots of wine.  Normally, those types of places aren’t on my radar (Cecelia’s, Chocolate Bar) but our meal was good enough that I’d like to see what else Bambino has to offer.  Considering that I’ve been reading less then stellar reviews of Rocco’s and Vera Pizzeria’s development is in a stage of limbo, my wood fire pizza oven cravings will have to be satisfied by Bambino for the time being.  Hopefully next time they don’t let me down.

It’s not a cheap meal, but for a reasonable price you can have a nice meal of Italian comfort food that is prepared with a little bit more sophistication then your normal red sauce Italian restaurant.

Photo Gallery:

Bambino Bar and Kitchen on Urbanspoon

2 thoughts on “Food Porn: Bambino Bar and Kitchen

  1. Ahhh, women in their mid-20s drinking lots of wine. Sold.

    • Don Burtless

      between this place, chocolate bar, cecelia’s and frog hair (cougar central), there are some great opportunities out there for a single man.

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