Teton Kitchen Thai & Japanese Cuisine has opened at 153 Elmwood Avenue in the former Cozumel building. My wife and I ended up going on a whim. We were actually on our way to Gabriel’s Gate, because my wife was in the mood for wings. But as we passed by Teton Kitchen we decided to try it out… even though at first we thought that it was closed, because it looked dark. We almost didn’t even try the door – there were no signs of life outside and we couldn’t tell if the open sign was actually lit up or reflecting the sun.
After walking inside, we asked to see a menu. Everything looked pretty good, so we asked to sit at the bar. I walked around the place checking things out before sitting down. The place is pretty sparse – not a lot of decor, which I suppose is fine, as long as the food’s good. The bar was adorned with two bear lamps, a bunch of beer signs, and three flatscreen TVs, one of which was on. It was showing a college football game, and the announcer was rattling off the plays. I asked our server if she could turn off the sound, since nobody was watching the game. Once the sound was off, the radio came on, playing modern country music. The sound kept bouncing from loud to soft, and back to loud. It was like being in an alternate dimension for a spell. Hopefully they get their act together with the decor and the ambiance, because for a while there I thought I was sitting in a fraternity house on an early Sunday morning.
As for the food, Teton Kitchen does have its act together, thankfully. Everything that we ordered was spot on. Our lunchtime meal consisted of two miso soups, mixed green salad with miso ginger dressing, Wings of Niagara (ginger garlic wings, ordered spicy and crispy), two green dragons (giant sushi rolls with shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, tuna, and wasabi masago topping), and yaki soba (chicken & veggie). We actually ordered the veggie yaki udon, but it came out yaki chicken, which was fine.
First off, the green dragon roll was out of this world. The sushi preparer, camped out at a little nook by the entranceway door, did a fabulous job. The rice was perfect, flavors were divine, and the fish was fresh. The addition of a sprinkling of wasabi tobiko (flying fish eggs) was a welcome touch. I will be back for more green dragons in the future.
My wife could not stop raving about the chicken wings – she loved the super gingery flavor, the sharpness of the ginger – it was not cloyingly sweet, which was also refreshing. There was a nice note of sansho or some other type of Sichuan pepper. She also liked the chopped cilantro, green peppers, carrots, and onion which was an excellent enhancement to the flavor profile and it looked pretty to boot. It was the perfect spicy, crispy and flavorful dish. Plus, the wings were just as large as The Gates’, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.
As we ate, we sipped a couple of green teas – the perfect accompaniment to a well-rounded and very satisfying meal. I ate the salad towards the end of the meal, which was a nice way to wrap up the dining experience. Altogether, I must say that Teton Kitchen is now on our list of top food destinations on Elmwood. The food was that good. Hopefully they can nail the consistency angle moving forward, which a lot of local restaurants can’t seem to come to grips with. If they can somehow figure out the ambiance, it will go a long way, because cheap Coors light beer signs, college ball, and hokey country music is not the approach that best suits an excellent Thai & Japanese restaurant.
Teton Kitchen Thai & Japanese Cuisine | 153 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo NY 14201 | (716) 405-2599 | See menu | Full bar | Patio