Choosing a Restaurant off the Internet
I spend a lot of time on choosing a restaurant.
Dinner so important to me.


Buffalo. New York.
First overnight on the way from Boston to Jackson Hole.
I want to discover what restaurants belong in the small circle of ‘best of Buffalo.’
I, who am not a native or even, yet, a visitor.
Nor do I know anyone who lives or lived there.
I know there is a significant Italian population there so I know there will be good Italian restaurants.
But I want to get close to the best.

Defining best.

A restaurant may be generally worthy of a ‘best’ but on the night we eat there something could happen to lessen or even spoil our experience.
Rarely does it work in the other direction, although one may get the best evening a mediocre restaurant can produce and have a slightly better feel towards it than it generally deserves.

What am I looking for?
Elegance being a type of style.
I owned and operated a restaurant not at all elegant but cutting edge style, thanks to one Doug Parker, long-time passed, he; then, a young graphics designer, a schoolmate of mine and Toni Lee’s.
We all three out of school for several years.
His design won the restaurant lots of needed attention.
Brilliant, he. Toni-Lee’s equal in his own world.
Thankfully the internet can give us an idea of style.

What am I looking for?
Just make me feel I am important to you.
Doesn’t take much, that.
A smile. A phrase.
A modicum of civilization for which I am a sucker.
Some attributes of service may be gleaned from the website.

What am I looking for?
Price point.
Too inexpensive and I question the ability of the restaurant to buy better quality meats and produce.
Too expensive and it had better be accompanied by flamboyant reviews of the most extreme kind, like nationally recognized.
And even at that, my budget couldn’t afford many of these. Did I say any?
Kidding. Many is right.

What am I looking for?

A learning experience.
Does the restaurant offer an item that I would like to taste?
Something that I make but would like to compare?
Or something I’ve always wanted to try, or would like to try now?
Something only available locally?

What am I looking for?

The basic.
We’re going to guess at that from a distance of time and distance.
The internet our only method.

Let’s search.
By-pass Yelp, Trip Advisor, and other popular travel sites for exactly that reason.
As in accepting of noise; fast foods; fried everything; pizza; generic “Italian.”

I search for ‘best’ lists of a more discerning ilk.
Lists of noteworthy restaurants.
Let’s try to find a couple of local newspapers or magazines that have a ‘best’ list.

Typing in “Best restaurants Buffalo,” I find something called the “Thrillist,” and click it.
Here is their complete list:

Oshun they call their most elegant restaurant.
But I am put off that Oshun’s website is not up. We can’t internet-visit.
Food trucks listed. No interest.
Trattoria Aroma has a decent menu. But so wide-ranging I doubt that each dish can be prepared with great care and genius. And the prices are so reasonable I doubt that they spend adequate sums on ingredients or in time in preparation.
Ted’s Hot Dogs. I’ll bet they are delicious. I intend to never learn first-hand.
Black Sheep. Fancy sandwiches as per the magazine’s description. I click on the address bar. The dining room is unpretentious. I find a very small menu: ten appetizers and six main courses, very limited, indeed, but with items of interest.  A definite keeper.
Seabar, a sushi restaurant. I click on it. Tiny, with beautiful looking plates. A definite keeper.
Shango Bistro: a creole place with bulky looking portions. I click on it. It’s a bar menu. Of no interest to me.
Sun Restaurant. Burmese. I’m interested. Never ate Burmese. Nice looking menu. A definite keeper.
Founding Fathers. A pub. With pub food. Pass.
Swannie House. A fish fry. Clicked it. Everything is overly fatty.
Hutch’s, fine dining. Steaks and seafood. Expensive. Seems like a nice place but without recipes that will wow! you. Pass.
Bar Bill, specialty wings. Clicked it. Bar food. Pass

Okay. When I searched for Sun Restaurant, a bunch of restaurants came up with it.
I return to that page and take a peek at those.
None are of interest.

Let’s see if I find other reviews listing their ‘best’ buffalo restaurants.
This search produces several candidates.
The White Carrot: two hours out of Buffalo and not that wonderful a menu. Not including this in the list.
The Dapper Goose: lots of vegetarian dishes and only 1 selection each of red meat, fish, or chicken. Not including this.
Osteria, Italian, looks like a good bet among restaurants that look good-but-not-brilliant.
Mulberry, Italian. Not a single item priced above $9.99. Their market is not me.

So, before going to press, I search once more for Oshun.
Oops. ‘Open Table’ reports that Oshun is “Permanently Closed.”
We definitely will not be going there.

Okay. The search is over.
Not any restaurants so spectacular that I’d have to make a reservation months in advance.
I’ll reduce the list to those ‘definite keepers’ and keep the list and wait till I get there.