Many people like to go out for a late breakfast or early lunch on a weekend, and if you find a place that serves good, homestyle food in a comfortable atmosphere, you’re likely to become a regular.
That may have been the reason that Buffalo Joe’s, which has occupied a spot in a strip plaza on Main Street just past Harris Hill Road for more than a year, drew a steady flow of customers on a recent Sunday morning. With about nine four-person booths and tables and about 10 stools at the counter, it’s not an enormous place, but the service is efficient enough that you won’t be waiting long for a table.
John, Pat, John and I were in the mood for breakfast, but noticed such interesting dishes on the menu as the three panini, seared tenderloin tips with Gorgonzola cream sauce, a Louisiana shrimp po’ boy, all for $8.95, and a South of the Border turkey with roasted red peppers, brie, apple and guacamole.
We also spotted the all-you-can-eat soup and salad offer, with garlic parm breadsticks, at the beyond reasonable price of $6.95.
On the breakfast side, we liked the “Oh yea, Nate!” made of two eggs, sausage patties and cheddar cheese on a biscuit, topped with sausage gravy and served with home fries for just $6.59. As much as we wanted to say, “Oh yea, Nate!” we didn’t order this.
There are plenty of familiar choices on the menu, too. Salads, each $7.95, include the classic Caesar, a Cobb with chopped eggs, bacon, chicken and avocado, a spinach salad with bacon, a Buffalo chicken salad, a chicken souvlaki salad and a Virginia salad, made with an array of sliced meats, cheeses and fresh veggies. A Cajun grilled shrimp and spinach salad was just a buck more.
Angus burgers on Costanzo rolls come in three sizes, which we love – a third of a pound ($6.95), a half-pound ($7.95) and a three-quarter pound ($8.95).
Sandwiches are as simple as the tuna ($4.90) or grilled cheese ($4.45) right up to the beef on weck, Monte Cristo or patty melt for $6.95.
Two of us started with soup (cup $2.49, bowl $3.49). The soups of the day were broccoli and cheese and chicken noodle, and both were excellent. The broccoli was rich with cheese and smooth in texture; the chicken tasted like the best homemade soup ever, with nicely blended flavors. The chicken soup was full of shredded white meat and vegetables.
The food was served quickly, right off the grill, with every element prepared just as ordered.
The plainly named Number 5 breakfast ($5.79) offered eggs, breakfast meat and a single pancake, a nice combination. The eggs were cooked over medium, not always an easy state to attain, the bacon crispy, and the pancake soft and fluffy. It was also delicious.
The sweet, spicy scent of the cinnamon French toast ($4.99 alone, $5.99 with breakfast meat) was noticeable as the plate was placed on the table. Older or low-quality cinnamon can be more of a color than a flavor, but this was some good, fresh cinnamon. The nicely soaked, perfectly cooked French toast, with slightly crisp edges and sweet, soft interior, was exceptional.
Two of us went with omelets, which arrived plump and slightly browned on the outside. The ham and cheese omelet ($6.25) ordered with crispy grated hash browns, was packed with cubed ham and melty cheese. The Reuben omelet ($7.95), a special of the day that should go right onto the permanent menu, was fabulous. The bits of corned beef were tender and delicious without being overly salty; the layers of Swiss and sauerkraut contributed just enough flavor without being overbearing. Our only quibble was with the pale chunks of home fries on the plate. Get the hash browns instead.
We’ll be back for lunch.