I’ve been following the progress of The Gypsy Parlor for a while now. I’m not sure how I came across their facebook page, but I remember the name and theme intrigued me. Plus I’m always interested in having more dining/drinking options in the West Side. In the week leading up to our review, I had several people ask me if we could visit the restaurant and/or do a write up about the opening. We’ve had a person here or there ask us to review a newly opened place but this was definitely the most requests we’ve received for just one restaurant. We decided we were going to visit long ago anyway, but were a little skeptical about being ‘spotted’ or getting any type of preferential treatment while we were there (we like to visit places as under the radar as possible).
The bar is located on Grant and Potomac in the heart of the West Side. We’ve all read the stories about the growth on Grant Street; Sweet_ness 7, the new bazaar, Westside Stories and Freddy J’s are all cool places to hang out, but none of them are open late. The folks being the Gypsy Parlor are really taking some risks and offering something different to the area.
As soon as I walked in, I instantly loved the atmosphere and design. Gypsy Parlor has an old per-prohibition 1920′s ish lounge feeling with retro wallpaper and antique lighting fixtures. The lighting in dim and the music is pretty eclectic. There’s a nice long bar when you walk in and a dining room in the back. We arrived later (8pm ish) on a Friday night as a spur of the moment decision and grabbed a table right away in the dining room.
- Restaurant Type: Bar, Lounge
- Cuisine: Pub Food, Burgers
- Location: West Side
- Prices: Entrees $8-14, Sides $4-10
Like a lot of restaurants/bars in Buffalo right now, The Gypsy Parlor has a cocktail list (pictured in gallery) with a variety of mixed drinks and some other fun additions like ‘Gypsy Juice’ (juice mixed with your booze of choice) and ‘That Bitch Genny’ (Genny draft with OJ and bitters). Alli decided to try The Hanged Man which was made with Templeton Rye, Smashed Blackberries and Honey. Unfortunately, the ‘cocktail’ was mostly rye whiskey with just a dash of fruit and honey. Alli was thinking it would be a sweeter cocktail but it was very very strong. I’m not sure how much of the term ‘cocktail’ I’d use to describe it, it was pretty much rye on the rocks with a splash of sweetness. I was happy to finish off the drink along with my Rusty Chain (on draft).
The menu at Gypsy Parlor is basically tweaked versions of normal pub food, you’ll find normal burgers and wings but you’ll also find a lamb burger, grilled chicken wings and various ‘West Side Delicacies’ that pay homage to the various ethnic groups in the area (pastellilos, Burmese spring rolls). We decided to try a little bit of everything on our visit and started off with the Burmese Spring Roll ($5). Our server brought over two because he said the one was a little small. Their versions are vegetarian and filled with a variety of chopped veggies (predominately cabbage). They had a buttery flavor due to an oily coating inside the rolls but they were a little bland without any meat and could have used a little seasoning (we used up all of the chili dipping sauce that’s served on the side). I’m not sure if it’s worth $5 for just one, it’s not really something you could realistically share with another person.
Next up, our order of Poutine which was pretty great; the fries were handcut and topped with a generous amount of gravy and melted cheese. You would think our close proximity to Canada and our city’s mastery of the deep fryer would have lead to great poutine all over Western New York, but that hasn’t happened yet. I am happy to say that Gypsy Parlor’s version is quite good and one of the better versions we’ve had on this side of the border. The fries stayed crispy, the cheese was perfectly melted and the gravy was thick and salty (although I don’t believe it was homemade gravy, but good none-the-less). As the weather gets colder, it will be something I plan on ordering more and more with a couple beers.
The entrees came out last. I ordered the Lamb Burger (medium) and Alli ordered their Grilled Wings (medium sauce). The wings were great, very crispy and they even had a little char on the outside with a unique citrus flavor. We assumed that they had been coated with something extra but our server said it was just the standard ‘Franks and butter’. I’m not sure if he just didn’t know what was on them and the Gypsy Parlor is using some super secret sauce, but they tasted great and light enough where you could eat a dozen and not feel disgusting. The lamb burger was also a pleasant surprise, a juicy thick burger with a strong outer coating that gave it plenty of spice with some cabbage slaw on top. The house roll was also pretty great, not too thick but just enough crunch and structure to keep everything together. My only complaint was the burger was a little dry. I think a dill or tzatziki sauce would make it really outstanding. Considering the pile of hand cut fries that’s served on the side, it’s also a great deal for $11.
Overall, our visit was pretty successful. We had some issues with our service; our server was very attentive but seemed a little anxious. At one point he even asked if our food was ‘edible.’ The pacing of the meal was also a little off, all of our food came out ridiculously fast. From the time we sat down and ordered til when we left was less then 30 minutes. The appetizers came out roughly 3 minutes after ordering and each plate of food came out minutes after the previous. I guess it’s a better issue to have than waiting forever, but we felt just a little rushed and skeptical of how fresh these dishes were. Considering the place has only been open for a couple weeks and their grand opening hasn’t even happened yet, I think some of the service issues are understandable and will be ironed out over time.
We really liked Gypsy Parlor and would love to go back again and just hang out and grab a couple drinks and maybe eat at the bar. Their hours for the restaurant are generally 5pm to ___, so if the kitchen is going to be open late this could be one of the best places to go for a late night drunk snack. I’m happy to see someone taking a risk and opening something new in a different area of the city. Seeing the large crowd at the bar on a Friday night (along with their live music schedule) makes me think they’ll do just fine. Plus they have specials of Genny draft beer during Bills games, which is a win in my book.