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Serene Gardens (Feb. 8) 2800 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island (773-5323, www.serene-gardens.com). Japanese cuisine has taken root with broad menu in garden center. 7 out of 10 plates

The Lenox Grill (Feb. 1) 140 North St. (884-1700, www.lenoxgrill.com). Revamped hotel restaurant offers pub food and more until the wee hours. 6 plates

Madonna’s (Jan. 25) 62 Allen St. (768-1401). Allen Street’s new Italian restaurant offers hearty dishes, many sized for two. 7 plates

Gertie’s (Jan. 18) 6010 Goodrich Road, Clarence Center (741-1311, www.gertiesrestaurant.com). Clarence Center lunch spot offers three nights of satisfying, comforting dinner options. 8 plates

Break’n Eggs Creperie (Jan. 11) 5235 Main St., Williamsville (634-3447). Focus is on quality, not quantity at detail-oriented breakfast specialist. 7 plates

Taisho Bistro (Jan. 4) 3332 Sheridan Drive, Amherst (835-8088). Expand your Japanese vocabulary with fun-sized dishes at snazzy eatery. 8 plates

Lucy Ethiopian (Dec. 28) 388 Amherst St. (877-5829, www.lucyethiopianbuffalo.com) Tiny, family-run place offers tasty Ethiopian dishes in humble setting. 6 plates

Blue Lantern Lounge (Dec. 21) 6120 Seneca St., Elma (652-2583, www.bluelanternlounge.com). Comfort food with careful touches brings crowds to Elma lounge. 8 plates

Rocky’s Indian Restaurant (Dec. 14) 2351 Millersport Highway, Amherst (204-8324) If you’ve only tried the lunch buffet, the dinner menu is also worth exploring. 7 plates

Marco’s (Dec. 7) 1085 Niagara St. (882-5539, www.marcosbuffalo.com). Good ingredients, reasonable prices help this West Side Italian restaurant stand out. 8 plates

Canvas @ 1206 (Nov. 30) 1206 Hertel Ave. (939-2725, www.canvas1206.com). Musical venue doesn’t fall flat when it comes to Buffalo standards. 7 plates

Kennedy’s Cove (Nov. 23) 9800 Main St., Clarence (759-8961). Prime steaks make the grade at otherwise homey restaurant. 7 plates

Mothers (Nov. 16) 33 Virginia Place (882-2989). Buffalo’s after-hours dining favorite offers satisfying specials amid hubbub. 8 plates

Giancarlo’s (Nov. 9) 5110 Main St., Williamsville (650-5566, www.giancarlosevents.com). Sicilian steakhouse offering top menu while serving several crowds at bar, lunch counter and restaurant. 7 plates

Kumo (Nov. 2) 4900 Transit Road, Depew (668-6689, www.kumocuisineus.com). Japanese bistro offers robust flavors, creative rolls for solid dining values. 7 plates

Smoke on the Water (Oct. 26) 77 Young St., Tonawanda (692-4227). Often quirky menu helps new place feel like old-time barbecue joint. 7 plates

Kaydara Noodle Bar (Oct. 19) 777 Main St. (768-0038, www.buffalonoodlebar.com). Asian noodle specialties and vegetarian-friendly dishes abound. 7 plates

Don Tequila (Oct. 12) 4226 N. Buffalo St., Orchard Park (508-8257). Competent cooking, moderate prices give Southtowns Mexican fans another choice. 7 plates

Remington Tavern (Oct. 5) 184 Sweeney St., North Tonawanda (362-2802, www.remingtontavern.com). Carefully cooked seafood and more give North Tonawanda an upscale choice. 8 plates

Taj Grill (Sept. 28) 2290 Delaware Ave. (875-1000, www.tajgrill.net). New Indian restaurant’s broad menu has a number of delicious discoveries. 7 plates

Mike A’s @ the Lafayette (Sept. 14) 391 Washington St. (253-6453, www.mikealafayette.com). New luxury restaurant shines with premium steaks, American classics reinvented with elegance. 10 plates

D’Vine Wine Bar (Sept. 7) 80 Main St., Lockport (201-1393, www.dvine-wine-bar.com). Lockport wine specialist offers pleasant way to expand wine knowledge. 7 plates

The Irishman Pub & Eatery (Aug. 31) 5601 Main St., Williamsville (626-2670). Busy restaurant shows its Irish inspiration across hearty menu. 7 plates

One-Eyed Jack’s (Aug. 24) 5983 S. Transit Road, Lockport (438-5414, www.oneeyedjacksbbq.com). Veteran Niagara County barbecue specialist offers reliable, smoky meal. 7 plates

Amaretto Bistro (Aug. 17) 7170 Transit Road, Williamsville (635-4750). Little touches elevate dinner in unassuming location. 8 plates

– Andrew Z. Galarneau