A few weekends ago, we braved the elements and trekked an hour southwest to East Aurora, NY for a much anticipated date night at Elm Street Bakery; long have we heard of the pastries, the pizza, and the bread.
I will say this – popular opinion ruined us for the evening. It’s so tricky when your expectations have been set so high, it almost seems unfair to hold a spot to that standard. Even so, Elm Street Bakery is absolutely worth the trip. I’ll give it to you straight:
- The ambiance: SPOT ON. Rustic interior, warm lighting, fresh flowers – but it seems most farm-to-table restaurants are following a similar recipe for atmosphere and decor. Even so, perfect for a date night.
- The menu: Diverse, locally sourced (and yes! kudos to you Elm Street for providing a list of farms you use!!) and though not overwhelming, there a variety of items that would appeal to any palette.
- The beer menu: mostly local, a good variety, and we were pleased to see our friends at Black Bird Cider represented from the Niagara Wine Trail.
- First Course: the best on the menu. Our Baked Feta (romanesco, chickpeas, chilies, pine nuts, raisins) was to die for in my opinion, though a titch too salty for Scott. Our companions had a Warm Kale Salad and French Onion Soup, both of which were seemingly enjoyed.
- Second Course: Our Spaghetti Squash Bolognese (local beef, parmigiano-reggiano, basil) was full of flavor and a fresh approach to traditional bolognese. Next time I have my sights on the Potato Gnocchi Bolognese. However, it seems the winner of the second course were the Steamed Mussels (garlic confit, chili paste, white wine, garlic, sourdough toast) and it was said that they were the best mussels our friend has had – high praise, though I myself am not keen on mussels. I’ll trust his educated opinion.
- The Pizza: This was a low point for us, only after the many recommendations and rave reviews. We ordered the Sausage Pizza (vodka sauce, broccoli, parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta, basil) and though it was definitely good, it wasn’t great. The toppings left something to be desired and the flavors not as deep, but I will say that I tend to give my crust to Scott. This crust? I ate every bite. A testament to Elm Street Bakery and that incredible dough. I will reserve final judgement for a return visit and a second pizza attempt.
- The Dessert: Another low moment. Our friends sampled the Bread Pudding and were disappointed, and Scott and I shared an Apple Tart, which was dry and lackluster. Again, a shame after such overwhelming praise for their pastries. The dessert menu changes all the time and again, I’ll reserve final judgement after another trip.
Let’s boil it down: a solid, enjoyable evening with good food, good drinks, and great friends. The service was excellent and the ambiance was pleasant. We absolutely would recommend a visit to Elm Street Bakery, though we eagerly await our second trip to form a lasting impression.
Have you been? Thoughts? Cheers!