Alli and I plan on crossing off a lot of important restaurants on our ‘to do’ list this year and high on that list has been North Buffalo’s Ristorante Lombardo. Alli and I have actually tried some of Chef Michael Obarka’s food twice already, once at an cheese-themed IN and a couple months ago at the Local Restaurant Week preview dinner. We really enjoyed the food on both occasions and figured that eventually we’d stop by the restaurant, it just happened to take a little longer then we originally thought.
We made reservations for a Friday night and we are glad we did, the restaurant was absolutely packed when we arrived. The restaurant and dining room had more of a ‘fine dining’ atmosphere than I had previously thought, again I felt slightly under dressed wearing jeans. But this wasn’t the “old school” style of fine dining we had the previous week at Sinatra’s; Lombardo’s has more of a younger, modern-chic atmosphere that we really enjoyed. We were seated right away and had a very outgoing and detail-oriented server who broke down the entire menu and how the courses worked. It was a little excessive but he was very nice and helpful.
- Restaurant Type: Upscale Italian
- Cuisine: Italian
- Location: North Buffalo
- Prices: Pizza $11-13, Small Plates $9-$20, Entrees $25-40
I was impressed with their cocktail menu and after a recommendation from our waiter, I ordered the Honey Pig (above) which has bacon bourbon, pepper infused honey and lemon. The citrus gave the drink a nice sour bite while the bourbon had a really nice smokey flavor. If I wasn’t driving, I probably could have had several more. After looking over the menu for a couple minutes, Alli and I decided to try as much as we could and order a bunch of small plates.
Our first course was a Shrimp & Lump Crab Cocktail ($15, gallery) which was a special that night. The dish was pretty straight forward, two large shrimp with several pieces of lump crab in a very spicy cocktail sauce. The pieces of seafood were large and fresh and just enough for two people. We then ordered two salads for our next course, their Wood Roasted Beet and Avocado Salad ($10, gallery, highly recommended) and the Insalata Di Burrata with Prosciutto ($16, top). These two courses ended up being our favorites of the night. The beet and avocado both had an incredible flavor/texture balance while the citrus vinaigrette and pistachios really added another layer of flavor to my salad. I devoured every bite of the salad, which is a rarely used phrase on this website. Alli was in love with the burrata and couldn’t get over how creamy and delicious the texture was. Adding the salty prosciutto to her salad was well worth the extra $3. The flavor and texture combination of burrata, proscuitto and arugula was heaven. On our next visit we will definitely be ordering both of these salads again.
We then ordered their Margherita Pizza ($11, above) which had the right amount of sweet sauce, basil and fresh mozzarella cheese. The crust was a little thinner/crunchier then we prefer (cooked in a wood-fire oven) but the dish was still damn good. Alli ordered another special for her ‘main course’, a small portion of their Polpetti & Spaghetti (gallery) while I ordered a small portion of their Lobster and Mascapone Ravioli’s ($14, gallery). The meatballs in Alli’s dish were incredibly tender and delicious while the house-made spaghetti was perfectly al dente. My ravioli’s were filled with sweet marscapone cheese and plenty of lobster meat and covered in a creamy sauce. The serving size of both dishes were perfect for our multi-course meal, but if you’re planning on making either of these the majority of you meal, I suggest ordering the large portions.
We found ourselves pretty satisfied and full after several courses but we decided to finish the meal with a dessert, especially after reading the description for their Mud Pie ($8, gallery); Kahlua semifreddo with a brownie crust that had an oreo filling and then covered in hot fudge. The Kahlua semifreddo was absolutely fantastic but the brownie crust was really hard to break into, it was a little thick and/or frozen.
Overall, the entire meal was really outstanding and if I could go back and update my WGRZ Top Ten restaurant list, I would have put Lombardo’s on there (along with Carmelo’s). We went into this meal with high expectations and still were really impressed with our food. We’ve been non-stop recommending the restaurant to our friends ever since and are hitting ourselves for not going sooner. You don’t have to crazy with 5 courses like we did to have a good Lombardo’s experience, if you follow them on facebook you can see their 3 courses for $33 deals that are offered Monday through Thursday.