WHEATFIELD – Fine dining, indeed! Every visit reminds me of why Suzanne’s Fine Dining is a virtually perennial winner in local food competitions such as the Taste of Buffalo.
Oh, sure, its bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizers have been the talk of the town for years. And its entrees, while not overly fancy, are creative and tasty enough to warrant top dollar – even though its prices remain quite reasonable.
But it’s the small things that help set Suzanne’s apart – things like the fresh-baked rolls with homemade honey butter that accompany all meals. Awesome! Or the all-too-frequently overlooked French onion soup. At many places, it seems like an afterthought. Here, it is delightful, from the savory broth to the onions to the croutons to the baked-on cheese crust.
Suzanne’s does things right, and that’s why it remains one of my favorite places to send everyone, from out-of-town visitors to the merely uninitiated. It is one referral of which I am completely confident. No need to worry whether it has changed things or started cutting corners. Suzanne’s is as good today as it was the first time I tried it several years ago.
Suzanne’s doesn’t offer the most extensive menu, but it offers enough to satisfy virtually any appetite. And what it does, it does exceptionally well and with great attention to detail.
Take the lobster pasta ($20) I sampled on my most recent visit. A teeming platter of linguini topped with a flavorful lobster cream sauce and boasting ample portions of both shrimp and scallops that would have been more than sufficient in itself. But Suzanne’s adds a succulent 3-ounce lobster tail to the mix. The seafood was lovingly prepared, tasty and not the least bit rubbery. The sauce was just spectacular. What more can you say?
Of course, we had to start things off with the bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizer ($8), just because any trip to Suzanne’s would be incomplete without it. And the restaurant did not disappoint: big, meaty shrimp wrapped in tender-but-crispy bacon slices with crab meat stuffing. It’s no wonder this has been one of the Taste of Buffalo’s most popular treats over the years.
We also sampled the French onion soup and were extremely glad we did. Wonderfully tasty broth, not too salty, plenty of tender onions and a goodly amount of croutons, all topped with a two-cheese blend that is baked on. Luscious!
We passed a crock around the table so that everyone could enjoy, and the verdict was unanimous.
Not everyone in our party went fancy. Daughter No. 1 was in the mood for fish – it being a Friday evening and all – so she ordered the baked fish (Suzanne’s also offers a beer-battered version, as well as a panko-crusted variety).
Daughter No. 2 went for the vegetable stir fry ($10), which also was offered with chicken or shrimp added ($5 and $7 extra, respectively).
My wife opted for the 8-ounce mignon with Neptune side treatment ($26 for the steak, $6 for the add-on shrimp).
First, the mignon: A generous cut grilled with compound butter, every morsel was to die for, I was told. I managed to sneak one little bite and have never experienced such a melt-in-your-mouth sensation with meat before. The grilled shrimp were every bit the equal.
The fish was on the plain side; OK but not the best baked fish we’ve ever had. It was an ample-sized piece, haddock, I believe, and was lightly seasoned, flaky and hot.
The stir fry, likewise, was rather unadventurous, a routine collection of veggies sizzled in a sesame sauce and served over white rice. Both were passable but considerably more pedestrian than many of the other (and higher-priced) entrees.
Meals are served with a cup of homemade soup or a chef’s salad, a potato and a chef’s choice vegetable. The potatoes and veggies were nicely done, hot and fresh, as were the salad fixings. If the other soups are anything like the French onion, you can’t go wrong.
Suzanne’s has added some new dishes over the years, one of which is the Buffalo chips ($7), a collection of fresh-cut potato chips served with bleu cheese, hot sauce and chicken. Pretzel-crusted pork ($15) is another, to go along with longtime favorites such as brandied petite sirloins ($18) and steak Gorgonzola pasta ($17).
Suzanne’s offers a spacious, comfortable dining area that accommodates pairs as easily as big groups. It also hosts parties and events, and has a drop-off catering that would fill the bill nicely for showers, weddings and the like.
All in all, a full-service restaurant that offers quality meals at affordable prices in a relaxing setting.
It’s no wonder it is so popular.