Call it the Impossible Dream, if you wish. Or a game of culinary hide and seek. But my email is always full of queries from frustrated diners who are searching for the “one dish” that they remember from their travels or their childhoods.
Unlike the all-too-common menu listings such as fried calamari, crème brûlée and flourless chocolate cake (what, again?), their dishes remain elusive – the “unreachable star.”
Today’s column includes some of those queries, with a few suggestions that may help. Input from anyone who can give other recommendations is welcome.
Some readers are looking for veal Holstein, for instance. Schnitzel is common in many local restaurants, but when the scallop is done á la Holstein, with a fried egg on top? Not so much.
Scharf Schiller Park Restaurant, 34 S. Crossman St., does put Holstein on the menu. It is served plainly – without the zippy anchovy and capers that sometimes accompany the classic dish.
Ulrich’s Restaurant, 674 Ellicott St., has it, too.
How about lake perch? Or pike? One reader wrote that she tasted them last summer for the first time and was amazed. Why is it so easy to find haddock in area restaurants, she wondered; why are lake perch or pike so hard to find?
Saltwater haddock is the fish of choice at fish fries, it’s true, and its firm texture lends itself well to the frying process. Perch or pike is more delicate, with an almost sweet flavor. For some reason, both lake fish are easier to find in Canada; try Sugar’s Too, 10416 Lakeshore Road, Port Colborne.
But freshwater pike and perch do appear in some local restaurants. Hayes Seafood House, 8900 Main St., Clarence, often has perch on its menu. It is served fried in a seafood basket.
At Captain’s Cove, 829 Dick Road, Cheektowaga, they often have both pike and perch. Either can be served fried, but they will serve the fish baked if you ask.
Some readers like sweet desserts, but they enjoy a cheese plate at the end of the meal more. Rest assured, we are not talking about Velveeta here.
Where can you get a good assortment of interesting cheeses in good condition and served at the proper room temperature? Tabree, 4610 Main St., Snyder, offers a selection of three cheeses that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or dessert.
Bistro Europa, 484 Elmwood Ave., does it, too.
Finally, I’m stumped. A reader asked where in Western New York she can get a true Cornish pasty. A Cornish pasty is a short dough turnover that encloses a chopped meat and vegetable filling, a dish that used to make up the lunch of miners in England and this country. (Especially in Minnesota on the Iron Range.)
Sometimes, my “Food Lover’s Companion” tells me, the pasties were filled at one end with a savory mixture and at the other with an apple dessert – a complete meal in one package, and probably much better than a TV dinner at that!
But I digress. I do not know where to find a true pasty in the Buffalo area, although I sure would like to.
Can anyone help?
Send your suggestions and your questions about dining out to Janice Okun at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will respond in this column, which appears every Wednesday in the Taste section of The Buffalo News.