I never had a chance to visit North, but from what others have told me it was a dive-y bar that served a pretty good burger. In the last couple of years, the bar changed management and eventually closed. It didn’t remain empty for long. Prime 490 closed around the same time and the chef and some staff moved to the old North location underneath the historic Lenox Hotel. I heard about the changes at the Lenox from a couple foodie friends, but I never thought that it sounded too exciting; I assumed it would be continue to be a dive bar with a limited menu.
Recently I realized that they did some serious renovations and the menu might not be as vanilla as I originally thought. So when we celebrated my mother in-law’s birthday, we decided to check out the new restaurant and bar.
- Restaurant Type: Bar and Grill
- Cuisine: Pub Food, American
- Location: Allentown
- Prices: Appetizers $6-10, Sandwiches $8-13, Entrees $13-20
I was immediately impressed with how nice the bar/restaurant looked when we walked in. There’s some hip lighting fixtures, three large televisions that were playing the Sabres game and two seating areas. They definitely did a lot of renovations and the atmosphere is very cool. The bar is very long and could easily seat over 20 people. The dining room in the front of the restaurant is for people who want to watch a sporting event and there’s a more secluded dining room in the back. They have both a cocktail and beer menu. The cocktails aren’t exactly revolutionary (Alli’s mom ordered their Orange Creamsicle Martini) and the beer bottle list has your standard big name beers but also a couple good microbrews. In the two trips I’ve made to Lenox, the three draft options I’ve seen have featured some great local breweries (Flying Bison, Community Beer Works) on tap, which made me very happy.
The menu does feature some standard Buffalo pub fare (wings, french fries, burgers) but they also offer pasta, salads and sandwiches as well as a list of specials that changes every week. On our visit their specials featured cod, artichoke croquettes and a burger that was topped with peanut butter, bacon, banana, fluff and strawberry jam. A wonderful feature of the restaurant is that the entire menu is available until 3am, finally offering some competition to Mothers and Towne for a late night sit-down dining option downtown.
On a Wednesday night we didn’t have a problem getting a table for 6 without a reservation. Our server was very helpful and pretty attentive. We never had to wait around for him to take our orders and he even brought my mother in-law a complimentary drink because it was her birthday.
Alli and her Mom both ordered the wedge salad for a starter. Nothing too special and the plating was a little off (see gallery). Alli originally wanted to order their Pulled Pork sandwich but they were apparently out of pork, so she ordered the sausage flatbread special. The flatbread had Andouille sausage, cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce. It was a weird combination of flavors to say the least and we weren’t big fans. Two people at our table ordered the burger with cheese and bacon. They both ordered it medium but both burgers were cooked very well done. They thought the flavor of the meat, toppings and grilled rolls were good but the texture was a little too tough and dry. I ordered the Pittsburgh style Steak sandwich and sadly had the exact same problem. I ordered my sandwich medium-rare and the very thin piece of steak was cooked very well done, it was extremely tough to chew. I almost sent it back to the kitchen but didn’t want to make a scene.
Alli’s Mom ordered a jerk chicken sandwich which was very spicy and Alli’s brother ordered a steak that actually came out medium as ordered. The one thing that everyone universally enjoyed was the french fries. We all ordered them as our sides for our entrees and they were basically perfect. They were hand cut with the skin still on and they had a perfect crispiness. I know it sounds lame to rave about french fries, but they were honestly the best part of the meal.
The restaurant and bar looks really cool and after my second visit (just to the bar) this past weekend, I can definitely say it’s a good place to sit and have a couple pints with a few friends. I’d like to see a couple additional taps at the bar but I really like what they are doing with the selection they have so far. If the burgers and steak sandwich had been cooked properly, we would have been much happier with our meal. I think the place has a lot of potential and we may have just been there on an off-night, so we will be back soon to try the food again before we make our final judgement.