Dear Janice: This year I would like to eat Thanksgiving dinner at a nice restaurant instead of preparing it at home. I have a small family: five adults and one 5-year-old. Although the 5-year-old is well-behaved, I would like a restaurant suitable for a child. Can you suggest a restaurant that has good food and is suitable for a Thanksgiving feast, with tablecloths, cloth napkins, etc? Though I live in Buffalo I'm not opposed to going to the suburbs.
Thank you for any ideas you might have for me.
-- Gerrie, Buffalo
A: To many of us, Gerrie, Thanksgiving is the ultimate American down-home holiday, bringing forth visions of turkeys, bread stuffing, root vegetables, pumpkin pie, Grandma, Grandpa and Norman Rockwell. And not only that, we want our Thanksgiving dinner served in old-fashioned, comfy surroundings -- as if we are visiting the grandparents or, at very least, a dearly beloved great aunt.
If that's the way you feel too, how about venturing over the river and through the woods to the Akron House, 15 Main St., Akron, sited in a fine, 200-year-old mansion. A full harvest meal will be served on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with everything cooked in-house. The breads especially are worth the indulgence. The plates will be heaped high, but a smaller portion menu is also available. And, as with every restaurant mentioned in this column, reservations are a necessity.
That is especially true at the Asa Ransom House, 10529 Main St., Clarence, a fine, early American style B&B with a dining room that fairly shouts tradition and charm. People come back year after year. This is a tough reservation, but maybe you will get lucky.
Then there is the Old Orchard Inn, 2095 Blakeley Corners Road, East Aurora, nestled in a rambling farmhouse with wonderful views. Here, Thanksgiving will be observed from noon to 8 p.m.; it is a limited menu with turkey and all the trimmings.
These are sit-down meals, Gerrie, which seem to be what you are looking for. But there are plenty of Thanksgiving buffets, if that is your pleasure.
One especially interesting buffet this year might be at Acqua, 2192 Niagara St., which has its share of great views, too, although the ambience here is contemporary. This restaurant just brought in a new chef, Joe Venezia, a former Buffalonian returning from Los Angeles, and he will be on hand from noon to 8 p.m.
Acqua is a big restaurant, by the way, with plenty of room for a 5-year-old to roam if it is necessary. (I know you will provide adequate supervision.) The child might enjoy looking at the river a-rolling outside and the marina next door.
Again, I urge you to make your reservations ASAP. It doesn't do to keep Grandma waiting.
Send dining questions to longtime News restaurant reviewer Janice Okun at firstname.lastname@example.org