My face is littered with freckles. I swear like I’m paid by the curse word. My convictions are set in concrete. I am insufferably charming. In short, I am Irish(-American). My credentials check out. But feck if I don’t like corned beef! Or at least I thought I didn’t.
After soliciting recommendations from Buffalo Rising’s social media audience, the powers that be charged me with drawing up a list of places Buffalonians can get their corned beef fix before, during, or after this years’ St. Patrick’s Day festivities. And in anticipation of writing about something I thought I didn’t care for, I decided to give the stuff another shot. Now, you might consider me a convert.
Below are a couple of the picks submitted by readers (including the plate that changed my corned beef-loathing mind), and one wild card in case you’re in the mood for an elevated Irish meat experience.
Where: 73 Hamburg Street
What: Corned beef braised in OFW beer with potatoes, carrots, and cabbage, topped with creamed leek sauce; rye bread included – available every day after 5 p.m. ($13.50); corned beef sandwiches are also on the menu.
This was a top reader recommendation. It is the corned beef dinner that convinced me to rescind my membership to the haters’ club, but not because it offers some haute spin or avant garde deconstruction of the classic. To the contrary—it’s unapologetically traditional. But the thick-cut beef was clearly house made and prepared with care. And just a few bites in and a corrective sprinkle of salt later—after the butter-soft potatoes and vegetables amalgamated into a cushy, leek sauce-bound jumble, and each forkful yielded a little taste of everything—I understood what the fuss was about. My only regret? It wasn’t served with mustard, and I didn’t ask if they could bring me some from the kitchen. Don’t make my mistake.
Blackthorn Restaurant & Pub
Where: 2134 Seneca Street
What: A corn-ucopia of options! Choose from corned beef dinner ($13.99); corned beef on rye ($9.99); “The Pub” sandwich—corned beef and turkey with onion and melted cheddar with horseradish sauce on rye ($10.99-15.99, depending on how high you want your meat piled); corned beef and cabbage eggrolls ($8.50)
When we asked BRO readers where they like to eat corned beef, Blackthorn proved a favorite. And with five corned beef iterations on its menu, including a Chinese-Irish fusion appetizer, there is surely something for everyone. In contrast to the husky slices at Gene McCarthy’s, the corned beef here is wafer thin, and if you order it as a sandwich, it’s served with jalapeno-cheddar tots. (!)
Where: 329 Erie Street
What: Higher-end corned beef dinner with caramelized cabbage, potatoes, onions, and carrots ($16.95). Available March 16-19.
If you like your corned beef with a view and a little panache, the more gourmet take at lakeside William K’s is likely your best bet. Chef Todd Lesakowski house cures and brines his brisket for seven-days before slow cooking it with vegetables that he first takes the time to caramelize. The resulting dish earned Chef Lesakowski accolades from Food Network when he was working at Franklin Café in Boston. Time things right, and you could be indulging your annual corned beef habit with a nice glass of wine and a view of the sunset.