I blame Chef Bruce Wieszala for our current obsession of Italian cured meats. Alli and I were always casually interested in charcuterie but it wasn’t until we tried Bruce’s COPPA brand a couple years ago that we took our interest up to a new level. Since then we’ve been on the look out for restaurants/shops that serve really good prosciutto, speck, lardo and all things pork. We’ve had great luck finding good meats at Nickel City Cheese, Bistro Europa and Tabree, but we are always looking for more.
That’s why we were so excited when we read a Buffalo Rising article about Salmueria Belsito opening on Hertel Ave. A restaurant that was going to be almost solely focused on Italian cured meats and cheeses? Sold. We started to follow their progress on facebook and were happy to see several craft beer options, a casual dining room with a long bar and a genuine passion for serving quality cured meats. We didn’t wait long to make our first visit and stopped in a week after they opened their doors.
- Restaurant Type: Casual, Small Plates
- Cuisine: Italian, Deli/Sandwiches
- Location: North Buffalo
- Prices: Plates $15-18, Sandwiches/Starters $7-10
We visited the restaurant on a quiet Wednesday night and had no problem grabbing a seat at the bar. At the time of our visit, the restaurant only had a couple paper signs in the window and a small specials board on the sidewalk.
We really like how the dining room is set up; a long bar is the ideal scenario for grabbing some small plates of food and a couple glasses of craft beer or Italian wine. The ‘kitchen’ is in the back of the room, so you can see the glass case of imported meats and watch your food as it’s prepared. The staff was very outgoing, friendly and eager to explain the menu.
On our visit the menu was a simpler version then what is currently online (ours was called the ‘All-night Happy Hour’) and we decided to order their Burrata ($10), Caprese salad ($7) and the Salumi plate ($15). We probably overdid it with the burrata and caprese salad since they were so similar, but I’m glad we ordered both. The Burrata was one of the best we’ve had in Buffalo, the inside was incredibly creamy with a very soft mozzarella exterior (great job Buffalo Cheese Traders). The Caprese salad also hit the spot, the fresh mozzarella had a great texture/flavor while the tomatoes were very fresh. Both servings were slightly on the small side, so I’d recommend ordering a couple extra plates if you’re planning on sharing.
The Salumi Platter was what we were really looking forward to and we weren’t disappointed. On the plate was prosciutto, hot casalino Salami and hot cacciatore salami with fontina, parmigiana-reggiano and fresh mozzarella. I thought the prosciutto was cut a little too thick but it had a strong rich flavor. The other two hot salamis lived up to their description, both were spicy but weren’t unbearable. The fontina and mozzarella went quickly as they paired nicely with the meat, but the parmigiana was a little too strong for our tastes. For $15, I thought it was a pretty good selection. It’s not going to challenge your stomach’s limitations, but along with some starters it can be a great meal for two.
We really liked Salumeria Belsito, it’s exactly the type of place we’ve been waiting for in the city of Buffalo. A small, casual restaurant where you can grab a couple small plates of charcuterie and cheese along with a good drink or two. I’m also excited to read about their plans to expand their meat imports from Italy and to offer more varieties like speck, coppa, etc. I also love that their first beers on tap are local-ish New York State breweries and hope they have plans to expand that list with more local/seasonal options. We might have visited the restaurant a little too early, but we really think the place has some promise and we plan on stopping by again very soon.