We have been kicking ourselves since moving to downtown in 2012. Bistro Europa, formerly located on Elmwood Ave., was on our must-do date night dinner plans…and we missed it. BUT…the beautiful minds of Steve and Ellen Gedra created Black Sheep, making their new home on up & coming Connecticut Street. Well worth the wait.
Grabbing a late night date, we arrived slightly early upon our reservation and sat by the bar- noticing the exposed brick on the right (which is forever a favorite of ours) giving it that old New York City/Brooklyn vibe. The place was packed with twenty-thirty-somethings who were laughing in large groups and sprawled out amongst the large farm tables and seating- a design from Wrafterbuilt. It was no wonder the bar was filled with Buffalonians- Black Sheep hosts a robust cocktail, beer, and wine menu for those seeking to kick back and relax.
The evening was all about reconnecting with one another. Guy bird had been in California for 10 days, girl bird began a new job that week he was gone, non-stop wedding details, and then upon his return it was just work work work all week. We were over it. We had to get dinner together. We were ecstatic to see that the majority of the menu at Black Sheep was Small Plates- a time when we order almost everything and sample all evening while chatting and laughing. Right off the bat, we went for it: Beets 5 Ways, dinner specials, Pork Skin Fritters, Pierogis, and Pulled Pork Nuggets. There is nothing we love more than being able to experience highly-crafted food that takes a chance on flavor.
We must have been hungry….because the artisan bread disappeared within seconds. First up: pierogi. One pork, one cheese. A heavy critic for Eastern European cuisine- girl bird squealed (at a low volume, thankfully) with delight.We would have been completely satisfied with these, alone. The fillings were perfect and stayed intact with every slice.
Second: Pork Skin Fritters- romesco, chimichurri, kimchi. The crispy outside gave way to its melt-in-your-mouth interior.
Third: Pulled Pork Nuggets. Honestly, these are the adult nuggets of foodie lovers. We could not get enough of these, either. Ridiculous.
Fourth: Beets 5 Ways- carpaccio, tartare, pickled, roasted, budino with pistachio vinaigrette and a goat cheese truffle. We both can honestly say we have never experienced a beet sensation like this! Each beet style was more distinct than the other and pairing one bite with a beet, goat cheese, and pistachio was enthralling.
Fifth: Chicken Liver Flan (on special). Perfect to use as a spread and was surprisingly smooth to the palette.
Sixth: By this point, we had lost our minds based on the dishes we were experiencing and ended on another evening special of Heart Delicacy. Usually iffy about iron-heavy heart plates, our wonderful server Sam assured us it was not so. She was right. Served as a bolognese-style, the heart paired well with the wide noodle and seemed more like a natural comfort food.
We were feeling good. Bring on dessert, we’re goin’ all out again!
Sam recommended two of their most popular desserts: The Graceland and the Sticky Toffee Pudding (which we remember from a Buffalo Spree article). Done. Bring both.
The Graceland was like a dessert brunch! Peanut butter, chocolate, honey-roasted peanuts, drizzle….
And the Sticky Toffee Pudding? Yea, we’ll take 4 of these to go- if possible. Arriving in a very cafe-au-lait-mug and literally bubbling from heat, we really do not think we can explain the explosive intensity of this. We’re talking sticky, sugary, salty, pudding-y…we never want to leave.
Being dubbed as her favorite table of the evening (thanks, Sam!), we found ourselves in a rare form- we were impressed and excited by an artful cuisine. It isn’t too often you become blown away by the design and creativity of a menu; yet when it occurs- it is something you never forget. It was the perfect date night- talking, sharing plates, experiencing unique combinations, and developing an obsession for a new dessert. Props to Steve and Ellen on their fantastic Black Sheep location and to Michael Thill, sous chef behind the doors- whom also, according to their website, is rocking out a light saber and bringing the pain in the kitchen. Right on, we feel it.
The Black Sheep
367 Connecticut St. Buffalo, NY 14213
perfect for: date night- adventurous, exciting, and ideal for sharing