ADVERTISEMENT

Are you visiting Artpark? Anticipating hunger before or after the show? Readers have questions about eating in the Lewiston area and there are several ways to go.

If it's fine dining you're seeking, my suggestion would be Carmelo's, 425 Center St. -- but don't attempt this without a reservation, especially in summer. (Call 754-2311; they are closed on Sunday.) Word has been gradually getting out that it is one of the best restaurants in Western New York.

The reason? Chef Carmelo Raimondi is a young man committed to the idea of farm-to-table cuisine, and as our growing season matures, he takes advantage of local bounty in imaginative ways. Most of the producers' names appear on the menu.

This means that said menu changes as the calendar does; don't expect to see fresh tomatoes listed until midsummer, because, well because that's just not the way things work in this part of the world.

Here's a sample from the current menu: appetizers of crisp Pork Belly with Pickled Rhubarb, Beluga Lentils and Rosewater Caramel Sauce, and Cold Smoked Arctic Char Carpaccio served with citrus salad.

Or, as an entree, Grilled Lime and Oregano Marinated Game Hen with Spicy Carrot Salad. Even the asparagus here is being is topped with a fried free range egg.

The restaurant features old-time comfy decor -- it looks like an English pub, though the menu slants toward Italian; the service is great.

Another Artpark way to eat is casual, not a problem since casual restaurants in Lewiston are almost too thick upon the ground. I like the Brickyard Pub & BBQ, especially the outdoor patio, at 432 Center St.

And speaking of outdoors, I also love Water Street Landing, 115 S. Water St., which I've talked about in earlier columns. Not the dining room this time, which is of the fine dining variety, with sea bass and strip steak. The place also has a less formal patio right down along the river, a liquid magnet if ever there were one.

It's summer casual outside, with burgers and beers, wings and cocktails, but that view is something else.

If you aren't crazy about hiking and want to park only once at Artpark, you might want to eat before you get to Lewiston. Many of us stop on Grand Island on the way. So consider Dick & Jenny's, 1220 Baseline Road, in a nice old house that fairly screams "country restaurant." This restaurant specializes in Cajun food with all the wonders of tasso and crawfish and shrimp.

You might want to try a Po' Boy or the Tasting Sensation Menu (three courses) at dinner.

Also, there is another Artpark culinary possibility, depending on weather. Have a picnic -- tables and benches are sited right outside the Artpark entrance near the lower parking lot, about 100 steps away. Some are under shelter.

Bring a dinner from home and maybe a bottle of wine. Or, even easier, stop at Brickyard and pick up some barbecue or at DiCamillo Bakery, 535 Center St., for pizza and pretty cookies.

The picnic area is comfortable and it's attractive. Enjoy.

Next Week: The best outdoor patios (spurred by a question from a canine friend).

Send your dining and restaurant questions to janiceokun@yahoo.com.