Last night was the third time that I paid a visit to newly opened Epic Restaurant and Lounge. The first time I stopped in for a beer, the second time for dinner and the third time was for a glass of wine. I’m sure that BRO readers are well aware that this was the location of the former Wine Thief – an establishment that many people were sorry to see close. When Wine Thief opted to not sign a lease after the building was purchased, I was concerned that the high-profile corner on Elmwood would sit vacant for a long time. I was wrong.
Not long after Wine Thief moved out, I began to hear rumors of another establishment that was planning on moving in called ‘Epic’. Word on the street was that the new owners, Dale and Adam Ali, were also the owners of the Elmwood Village Market – a market that I am happy to have in the neighborhood (you might remember Adam from this BRO post on bike racks). Seeing that I live right down the street and was familiar with the original remodel, I was hoping that the new owners would utilize much of what already existed in the space (mainly due to the amount of work that originally went into it). Fortunately that is the case. Although Adam and Dale did add many of their own touches to the bar and dining areas, there is a familiar vibe that is felt throughout. That’s actually why my wife and I stopped in last night for a drink. We wanted to go somewhere that was dark and quiet. We were looking to have a conversation without having to scream above the din of a bar crowd. That’s exactly what we got.
Most of the places that we go these days, even the more low key ones, can get loud. That’s OK if you’re in the mood to have a fun night out with some friends. But if you’re looking for something a bit more chill, for a romantic dinner or a drink at the bar, choices can be somewhat limited. What I like most about Epic is that it is as much of a relaxed bar as it is a restaurant. Each time that I have stopped in, customers talked in low voices, there was no TV to contend with, and the ambient music was perfectly tranquil. There was no noise battle between the bar and the dining areas. The candlelit tables with black linens and the dimmed lights created a pleasant atmosphere that was very calming.
The menu at Epic is not longwinded, offering a couple of salads, six appetizers, twelve entrees and a few specials. Chef Sergio Aquino has put together an arrangement that includes a mint scented avocado and grapefruit salad – seared fresco with vanilla port syrup ($9). That and the smoked shallot crusted crab cake BLT sliders – truffled gruyere fondue with pomme frites (appetizer $18). Also an entree that looked mighty interesting – the house smoked beef short ribs with guava, barbecue sauce, white cheddar polenta fries and braised Swiss chard ($24). I ordered the shrimp pappardelle pasta with lobster cream, tomato, pancetta, basil and shaved black truffles ($24). I was quite satisfied with my dish (photo) and was pleased that it was not as rich as it looked (or sounded). There was a lot of nice sized shrimp in the bowl and the flavors all blended together nicely. Along with the food, the management has put a lot of thought into the flatware, soup bowls, plates, etc. The servers and the bar staff are friendly and attentive. Overall, the owners and management have done a fine job in bringing a classy establishment to Elmwood that has created its own niche in the market.
Epic Restaurant & Lounge | 431 Elmwood Ave Buffalo, NY 14222 | 716-883-3742