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Date Night: Oliver’s Restaurant

Let me start by saying that I was born in the wrong decade. Approximately 80 years behind, I figure. I was meant to live in a world of Friday night dances, jazz clubs, cocktail hours, and swanky restaurants. How these things are not still en vogue is completely beyond me.

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And then we were invited to Oliver’s Restaurant last week to celebrate my birthday, and I was immediately reminded that cocktails, baby grand pianos, swanky decor, and live music can be found in our own backyard. Oliver’s Restaurant in Buffalo, NY has combined classic reputation with modern innovation and the result is electric. One of our favorite nights out in WNY to date.

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Now while I feel I was meant to live 80 years ago, Oliver’s actually did. Having survived in Buffalo since 1936, it has been under the hands of a few owners who have maintained the integrity of the space without compromising the vision, most recently owned by David Schutte, an accomplished and experienced restaurateur. The interior is updated and fresh, but still hearkens back to yesteryear. The iconic round bar welcomes thirsty patrons, and the luxurious booths and formal dining room are the perfect setting for culinary magic to take place.

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We had our start at that round bar, and sampled cocktails inspired by the season. General Manager Mike Ciancio is also responsible for the newest iteration of craft cocktails, and Scott and I were delighted with his menu. I had a sparkling cocktail and Scott their Manhattan, a fantastic prelude to our Chef’s Tasting Menu.

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Scott and I vehemently believe in honoring classic culinary tradition while allowing skilled chefs the opportunity to extend their creative capacity and stretch their wings with adventurous dishes. The Chef’s Tasting Menu at Oliver’s is just that. Executive Chef Ross Warhol says it best, “I look at each plate as a blank canvas and I strive to make each meal a true work of art, because that’s what it is. To me, dining is all about the experience.”

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We indulged that evening (because one MUST when it is a birthday celebration…) and had 7 courses with wine pairings – an experience that is highly curated. Though I could wax poetic about each dish, I’ll say that the meal began with Decadence of Eggs, a bite that I wish we could duplicate daily. I was most surprised by the Blue Cheesecake Tart – a savory dessert for the true blue cheese lover, which I happen to be. The menu rotates each month and is created to showcase the best of the season, thereby giving us a reason to return regularly.

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First Course: DECADENCE OF EGGS
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Second Course: BRAISED JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE
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Third Course: YELLOW FIN TUNA
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Fourth Course: BLACKBERRY & BEET SORBET
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Fifth Course: CONFIT PORK BELLY
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Sixth Course: BLUE CHEESECAKE TART
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Seventh Course: BAKED “ALASKA”

In my dreams, I would have been fought over by the likes of Clark Gable, Cary Grant, and James Stewart. I would have worn sequins and *fake* furs while sipping martinis before retiring to bed – only to wake up and do it all over again. And I certainly would have dined at Oliver’s and danced to my heart’s content next to that baby grand piano.

Oliver’s Tasting Menu is available every Tuesday-Thursday evening, 5 course $55, 7 course $75, & wine pairings $55. Make reservations for your next date night!

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