Review by Nicole Mehlman
Located in Buffalo's theater district, Encore presents a sort of closure to a theatergoer's evening. The restaurant's happy hour can also represent a final and entertaining conclusion for anyone's evening, or it can stand alone as a frequent hot spot for those in need of an upscale dining experience.
Encore has two floors and outdoor seating for when the weather is warm. The hardwood floors, brick walls and beautiful fire places give a rustic and spacious feel. With so much space the restaurant can play host to large parties, and can provide a private dining area for any event you may want to hold.
The bar is also large and spacious and continues with the restaurant's rustic setting. With a large beer and wine selection, as well as specialty mixed drinks, Encore can become anyone's new frequent hangout. Every Friday, the bar offers "martini happy hour," which starts at 4 p.m.
There is no lack of variety, in terms of menu options at Encore. The entrees are creatively presented and are flavorful with the perfect mixture of spices and sauces. These dishes are not for those on a budget. Menu items include a 10 oz. American kobe snake river sirloin, seared and served with loaded baked potato croquette and grilled asparagus for $34. A less expensive menu option is the buccatini pasta tossed with spinach, portobello mushrooms and artichoke hearts with shaved reggiano, priced at $18.
If you're just looking for a quick bite or a compliment to your drink, Encore offers great appetizers. I recommend the salt and pepper calamari paired with a thai chili glaze and wakame salad for $10. The calamari was perfectly cooked and had a moist texture. Other appetizers include duck wings, crispy fried and drizzled with a hoisin-maple glaze and sesame seeds for $9; and house-made gnocchi paired with roasted mushrooms and peas in a truffle cream for $11.
Sushi is also offered in the restaurant's sushi bar. This is the only room in Encore that is slightly cramped. The gray brick wall and beautiful hardwood floor make for a more modern feel, but still compliments Encore's country theme. On Tuesdays, the sushi bar offers unlimited sushi for $20.95.
Specialty dishes at Encore include Buffalo chicken roll with Buffalo-style chicken, celery, carrot and blue cheese inside, rolled in crunch for $9; and "Godzilla," which is three times the size of a regular roll, has various fish inside, and is rolled in tobiko ($14).
Encore is located at 492 Pearl St. Dinner is served Tuesday to Thursday, from 5 to 10 p.m., and Saturday, from 5 to 11 p.m. The restaurant is open Sundays when there is a main event playing at Shea's. On those occasions, dinner is from 4 to 8 p.m.
Catering and deliveries are also available.