“Currently, about 10,000 wild bison still roam 12 states in North America…” (LiveScience, December 23, 2017) but only one bison roams in Buffalo.
The Roaming Bison Tavern is a bourbon bar. Decked out in wood plank walls and wooden barrel tabletops and sporting about 40 varieties of bourbon (I lost count) it is the quintessential Southern Kentucky-styled honey hole. And it’s right on Hertel Avenue.
There’s ample, well-lit space that offers plenty of room for intimate dining or for larger groups. And it’s attached to the bar so you can wander back and forth as you like throughout the night.
It’s been no secret that Roaming Bison Tavern was using their own BBQ pit and smoker, so we ordered their RBT Signature Smoked Wings as an appetizer and requested the Blueberry Bourbon BBQ sauce. We both agreed that the dish was excellent – a lightly sweet, bourbon-back, crispy wing that was cooked throughout and very moist.
For our entrees we ordered an RBT Bison Burger with Mac-n-cheese from the regular menu and a Shrimp Po’Boy with signature house fries from the Specials menu.
The Shrimp Po’Boy was tasty and I enjoyed the nice counter-crunch of the pickle plank in the sandwich. Overall it was good but the shrimp flavor, texture and sauce – simply didn’t pop. It was lost beneath the very enjoyable lettuce, tomato, pickle and roll. The house fries intrigued me. They had a nice slightly hot, slightly tangy dry rub that, admittedly, defeated my best efforts to guess the ingredients. Cayenne yes, Cumin maybe, salt and black pepper definitely, paprika I think and at least 2 unknowns that will bring me back to enjoy them on my next visit.
The side of Mac-n-cheese was, sadly, disappointing. It was soupy and gritty and, I hope, just having a ‘bad cheese’ day. The Bison Burger, however, was amazing. Bourbon caramelized onions added a sweet counterpoint to the salty bacon that topped melted cheddar and a really great burger. The best part of it, for this foodie, was the Bison meat – it was actually seasoned. I loved the flavor and I love that it was prepared with enough care to have been seasoned correctly.
Menu: original flavors, great bourbon pairing, good portions, keep an eye on what leaves the kitchen.
Service: attentive, friendly and knowledgeable – overall very good.
Ambiance: bar décor breathes Kentucky or Tennessee, restaurant modern yet rustic, nice atmosphere.
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