Last week, when a coworker and I were discussing places he could take his mother for dinner, we made mention of the obvious (to us), surefire venues—The Black Sheep, Ristorante Lombardo, Marble + Rye—and the less-top-of-mind but worth consideration, like Osteria 166, Coco, and Bacchus. One place that did not dawn on either of us, even for a hot moment, was Panorama on Seven, the restaurant in the Marriot at HARBORCENTER.
Since that conversation, I had the opportunity to sample some of the dishes off Panorama’s new summer menu at the invitation of the restaurant’s director of food and beverage. And since that conversation, I’ve added Panorama to my mental list of restaurants to recommend to veterans of Buffalo’s dining-out scene.
I say veterans because Panorama is not the first place I would suggest to visitors to the city or suburbanites who rarely venture downtown. I would prefer they hit up a small, homegrown operation that showcases the local talent and gumption (not to mention, local meat and produce) that is slowly but surely elevating Buffalo’s culinary credentials.
But for those of us who patronize those establishments often and want to add variety to our restaurant repertoire, Panorama is a solid option. And lest you worry that the experience will feel oppressively corporate (i.e., cold and soulless), rest assured that that was not the impression it imparted on me.
Behind the summer lunch and dinner menus is not a Shaner Corp. automaton, believe it or not, but a living, breathing chef from Pittsburgh, whose skill and passion for his craft is evident in the dishes he conceptualized and turns out on a nightly basis. Sure, there are the expense account-friendly items that are requisite on hotel restaurant menus, like the 22-ounce, Flintstonesque tomahawk steak (lead image – $48) and a perfectly seared slice of foie with brioche French toast and sauternes
compote ($16) that smacks of lavish breakfast. But there are also dishes that speak to the season, like the halibut ($29), which is served with pistachio pesto, confit coins of fingerling potatoes, crunchy lardons, and freshly shelled peas that (thankfully) the chef only briefly exposes to the heat of the pan.
There are also the playful entrees that tug at our comfort food heartstrings, like the chicken and waffles ($26). The former is juicy and more flavorful than one might expect from boneless poultry, and the latter is perceptibly bourbon-infused and only subtly sweet. Even the bourbon maple syrup is applied with thoughtful restraint.
There are also menu options for those seeking a casual dining experience or snack, say after a day of kayaking or participating in some other goings-on at Canalside. Shareable steam buns ($11) of Buffalo chicken and pork belly varieties are available, as are beef on weck, bison burger, and salmon sliders ($19) and oh-so-ubiquitous blistered shishito peppers ($8). Sandwiches ranges from $12 to $15.
It is unfortunate that Panorama doesn’t better utilize the bounty offered by Western New York farms, but that does not mean it eschews local altogether. First Light Creamery goat cheese makes an appearance on its cheese board ($17) and in a frisée salad ($13) of lardons, marinated tomatoes, and a poached egg. And Panorama exclusively uses BreadHive for its grilled breads ($4), served with local honey butter, as well as for all of its sandwiches.
Panorama is open every day for lunch and dinner, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and its bar (where I had an excellent orange and blackberry-infused old fashioned) is open until at least 1 a.m. nightly.
I anticipate I will find myself at that bar again soon, whetting my appetite with a barrel-aged negroni or sidecar. I also anticipate telling my coworker that he and his mom might want to check it out themselves sometime.
To check out more about this restaurant, click here.