Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Scarlet Restaurant & Bar in Buffalo

For Christmas, I received a handful of Simply Certificates which are gift certificates that can be used at participating restaurants, spas, shops, etc...There were around 100 participating businesses and as I scrolled through the list online, I was excited to realize there weren’t that many restaurants on the list that I had NOT tried before. My intention with using them was to explore some new places and the first spot we checked out was Scarlet Restaurant & Bar. They are located downtown at 26 Virginia Place, tucked away on a great street for local Buffalo food. Just a few steps away from Fat Bob’s Smokehouse and Mother’s, I was excited to see if Scarlet was as good.

We went there before a Sabres game, and were the "early" crowd. In fact, we were the first patrons on that Thursday evening, getting there right when they opened the doors at 5:00pm. We remained the only patrons for most of our meal, but we enjoyed the “special attention”. Our waitress offered many suggestions from the menu and was a huge help when ordering, since I had a hard time picking what to get. 

In the end, we ordered a lot of food: the Cajun scallops as an appetizer, the warm goat cheese salad, and then an entrée each. For my entrée, I chose the Chicken Parm Stack and my boyfriend went with the Prosciutto wrapped chicken. 

Our meal started off great. We were brought a loaf of bread...not a piece of bread, or a small loaf, but a pretty decent sized loaf for the two of us. With the bread came a few different kinds of butter and they were all absolutely delicious. 

Our Cajun scallops (stuffed with andouille sausage and topped with a cajun cream sauce) came out first. They were $11, and while a little pricey for an appetizer, they were well worth it. They were probably my favorite thing from the meal. The scallops were cooked perfectly. I was worried the sauce would be too spicy for me, but our waitress assured me they weren't. They did have a little kick to them, but suited my taste buds just fine. 

Our salad came out with the scallops and while the salad (goat cheese fritters & mixed field greens) was absolutely delicious, it was pricey for what we received, $9.50 for a small plate. The goat cheese balls were absolutely to die for though, and the pecan vinaigrette was tasty. If you were just getting a salad for dinner, this wouldn't be enough for a meal. It was really good, just not the best "bang for your buck". 

When our entrees came out, I'm not going to lie, I was already starting to get full. The loaf of bread, scallops and salad could have probably been enough, but on we went. My chicken parm stack ($18.00) was gigantic. I ended up taking half of it home and had it for a meal and a half the next day too! The chicken was breaded and cooked well and the fresh mozzarella cheese complemented the chicken perfectly. The roasted plum tomato sauce had great flavor and it was smothered in a cardinale cream.  All the flavors worked well together and I thought it took a traditional dish of chicken parm to the next level. 

My boyfriend's Prosciutto wrapped chicken ($20.00) was stuffed with boursin cheese and was served over a creamy polenta with a smoky tomato fume. The prosciutto he was served was a very thick piece around the chicken making it hard to cut and chew through. The chicken itself was cooked well and the tomato fume was tasty. We are both very tough critics of polenta (after having a few amazing polenta meals at Blue Monk & Black Rock Kitchen & Bar), but we really did enjoy this polenta. 

Chicken Parm Stack

Prosciutto wrapped chicken

The restaurant itself has a very comfortable feel to it. It was once a carriage house that had been restored and showcases brick walls and dark colors. There are two floors, with limited seating downstairs. They have a really nice bar as well with some fun cocktails and drinks to choose from. 

Additional menu items include grilled pizzas ($8 - $12), burgers and other higher end entrees ranging from $17 - $48 (lobster tail). If price was not a factor, nearly everything on the menu would be something I would consider trying. 

My boyfriend and I had a blast checking out Scarlet, it was actually our Valentine's Day dinner (a week early), and it is the perfect spot to bring a date. The dark/dim lights left a comfortable and romantic feel and while we didn't see the restaurant very packed, I am sure by the time we were in our seats at the Sabres game it was full. They are open Tuesday - Saturday at 5:00pm. They close at 10:00pm on Tuesday - Thursday and at 12:00am on Friday and Saturday. 

Scarlet hit the mark, and made Virginia Place an even more attractive spot in Buffalo for us! Check them out next time you are in the area! 

For more reviews on Scarlet Restaurant & Bar check out: 
Scarlet on Urbanspoon

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