We're looking to help you with your restaurant dilemmas. If you would like to submit your question to this new column, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name and where you live.
Of course, my answers can only scratch the surface of the dining options out there, so readers -- please e-mail answers of your own and we'll try to print them in upcoming columns.
This week's question is a common one:
My husband is not fond of foods that I find interesting like Thai or Indian -- ingredients he can't pronounce, I guess! Where can we go to enjoy pho or falafel, and also, say, a steak with "regular" sides that he will recognize? -- Karen, Cheektowaga
I think you're right, Karen. Names of unfamiliar foods can be scary.
Take "pho" for instance - which is properly pronounced "fuh," by the way, but if you say it that way in most restaurants -- trust me -- the server will look at you strangely.
Despite its name, pho is a simple thing. It's clear broth, usually beef broth, filled with vegetables and seasonings like lemongrass and ginger; then noodles, beef, chicken or even meatballs are often addded. It's a low-calorie, healthy Vietnamese specialty.
Some Vietnamese restaurants offer it, but not as many as you might think.
At Fast Food 99, at 3396 Bailey Ave. near Highgate, the pho is glorious. But it's a limited menu and a basic place. In the interests of family harmony, if you're with someone who is not pho-inclined, try a more mainstream restaurant like Le Metro Bakery and Cafe at 5110 Main St., Amherst, in the Walker Plaza.
Pho is on both the lunch and dinner menus at Le Metro. And also on the menu: American sandwiches and salads, flat-iron steak with frites, and grilled salmon.
Let's talk about falafel, a Middle Eastern specialty. It's a highly seasoned chickpea, fava bean fritter and tastes wonderful at a restaurant recently reviewed in Gusto, the ultra casual and tiny Natalie's at 807 Millersport Highway, Amherst. And the bonus -- American hamburgers are available.
For more options and a more luxurious experience, try the much larger Byblos, 270 Campbell Blvd., Getzville, which has an elaborate Lebanese menu. But in the section labeled "alternatives," you can find steaks, shrimp, even fish fry.