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Epic Restaurant & Lounge

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

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is ‘queenseyes’ – Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world’s largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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  • Travelrrr

    Don’t like the dark windows-makes the place look like it should be another klassy joint on Chippewah. Such a beautiful building, though….
    Is Wine Thief opening downtown?

  • The Boss

    wine thief I believe has auctioned off its assets, they are all done.

  • Greg

    I had heard they were moving to the Genesee Gateway, did that fall through then?

  • Lego1981

    The new Wine Thief was suppost to open up in the Genesee Gateway this month. I haven’t been over that way to see if thier was any progress. I’m curious to know the status too.

  • ReginaldQMerriweatherIV

    The seared fresco just tasted like burnt plaster.
    Honestly, a blind man could make that better…

  • The Boss

    once again…..Wine Thief is done, not going to open on Genessee

  • not so common tern

    I really hate the blacked out windows as well as the logo. The logo is looks likes a mistake with the offset 2 color writing and furthermore repeated so all over the front of the building, yuck!

  • jjcefa

    On a saturday night,, 10:30…The place was empty…I hope the best for them but not for the Owner of the building, who continues to disappoint the Elmwood Village with overpriced lease deals…It is embarrassing to continue to see his buildings up for lease and empty, especially when they are such great locations…

  • wnywatercooler

    i heard the genessee people wanted a huge down payment they couldn’t afford and aren’t reopening

  • Barbara Jurasek

    February 16, 2012
    Doesn’t like it
    Never again
    by barbj (1 review)
    The servers went home before we did! Imagine how we felt being left with just the bartender, as we gathered our coats to leave the establishment. Before that, when we actually had a server, we were brought the check as soon as we said we didn’t want dessert, but were never asked if perhaps we wanted another glass of wine. The server sat within view at the back of the restaurant working on her cell phone. The whole evening was rather unpleasant, and we will never go there again. Too bad, we so very much like to support restaurants in the city, especially on Elmwood. But this was just too uncomfortable–who wants to feel they are keeping their waiters from going home? This was 9:30, by the way.
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