For a while, Buffalo Rising readers have suggested we take a look at Vizz’s on Kenmore Avenue whenever the subject of good “dive” style food comes up, especially burgers.
This past week, BR writer Chao Li and I decided to put it to the test. Vizzi’s is half bar, half restaurant, and it’s divided that way by a low wall just as soon as you walk through the door. Not much of a treat for the eyes, Vizzi’s had a bunch of regulars hanging at the bar, about half the 15 or so tables filled, and a great aroma that told us we were going to enjoy our meal.
Chao started with the beef barley soup and decided on the steak sandwich that was shaved beef – dripping with cheese and mushrooms – and a side of pasta salad. The soup was thick and full of barley and big chunks of tender beef, and I gladly took a bite of her enormous sandwich (below). It was divine. Not one for pasta salad, I tasted hers, and it was good.
I opted for the burger. Confession: I have had exactly one other burger in the past 8 years, more a matter of choice than any other reason. I eat beef if that’s what my host or hostess is serving, but I don’t opt for it. Still, I wanted to be able to report, so I went for the 1/2-pound “Monster” cheeseburger and home cut fries.
The fries were outrageous. The too-much-for one-sitting burger (probably not for big eaters) was great. And huge. I asked for it medium-well, and I would probably have liked it better had it been a tad more rare. Imagine what happens to the outside of a burger that size when the cook is faced with getting rid of traces of pink on the inside. Lesson learned – it would have been better less cooked.
Our meal, including a couple of beers, came to $30 including tip, and we went home with a lot of leftovers. I’m sure Chao’s boyfriend Keith felt like he had a whole meal when he was done with Chao’s half a sandwich and her pasta that she brought home.
I will say this also, the last burger I had was a Coles, right after our nearly 60-degree November day win over Miami at the Ralph
. Maybe it was the day overall, but that burger, the first one to break the years-long cheeseburger fast – that burger was the best ever. Maybe I’m not a 1/2-pound burger eater, and maybe it was the way Cole’s burger was cooked, but I enjoyed every bite to the finish.
Vizzi’s was a great visit for good food, and a lot of it. At one point wile we were eating, one of the bar patrons alerted the bartender that a man had just left, taking the shovel that was parked just inside the door with him. As everyone at the bar, went to the sidewalk to watch the guy walk down the street, the bartender called out not to worry – seems it was just a guy who lives around the corner, and that was his shovel that he brought in with him. That’s the kind of neighborhood place Vizzi’s is – clear your walk and come as you are, shovel in hand, for a beer and a burger. If you’re not a neighbor, it’s still worth the drive.