It wasn’t long after Fiamma co-owner Noel Morreale opened Bambino (one of our favorite places to go these days) that his North Buffalo establishment closed its doors. According to Noel, the decision to reopen Fiamma came when he stepped back to reexamine the restaurant concept. With a change of partners, Noel has taken what he says was a solid concept when the establishment first opened, well-suited for the local restaurant climate, and he’s updated the formula to keep current with local and national trends.
“When we first opened we were mainly concerned about having a few different quality steaks,” Noel told me. “Since that time there are more restaurants sourcing local and sustainable foods. We’re taking more time to search out the best practices, where we know the products are top grade. And we’re offering a lot more than strips and filets. We are aware that the regional competition is a lot stiffer these days, so we’ve put on the menu items like 28 day dry aged Kansas city strip, American Wagyu (coulotte steak, tomahawk rib chop, 10oz kobe burger), and the rib cap steak (spinalis). Then we have the Cadillac of chicken, Bell and Evans natural chicken… and the Long Island duck breast, the Faroe Island salmon, the prime pork porterhouse, and the double “Boston” cut Australian lamb chop. People are much more conscious of what they’re eating these days. We can tell them where everything is coming from and exactly what it is that they are eating. Our mac and cheese used to be orange…. now it’s white – nothing processed. Our chowder is made to order. We even removed our soda guns from behind the bar. Now we use hand squeezed juices and bottles of Johnny Ryan soda.”
With a kaleidoscope of appetizers and sides (see menu – PDF) including white cheddar mac and cheese (black truffle), parmesan hash browns, crispy sweetbreads and local farmers’ market veggies, the mouth watering menu should go a long way towards elevating the status from that of a steak house to an epicurean sensation. I mean there are not that many places around that feature California caviar and sweetbreads.
As for the interior of Fiamma, the downtime allowed Noel to transform the second floor into a dining facility that mirrors the first floor (see photo above). “We never used to send anyone upstairs”, said restaurant manager Angelo Mantione. “Now I can’t wait to seat people up there to see what they say [laughing]. The extra room allows us to double our seating, and the addition of a fireplace adds the extra ambiance to keep it nice and cozy. The second floor, combined with the new menu, gives us a second chance to make a first impression.”
1735 Hertel Avenue
Buffalo NY 14216