Last night, I had a great weekday date night with my wife. We'd been planning to go to Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar for some time. The Groupon that we used just made us want to go even more.
I've always had an affinity for Allentown. I don't know why, but I just love that area of the city. It had been a while since we'd been down there for something new and Duke's was on the top of the list of things to try.
When I called earlier in the day to inquire as to the use of the Groupon, they advised me that I should make a reservation since they were only holding tables for 15 minutes and they had live music. I made the reservation, although it turns out it wasn't necessary. We were the only people eating in the dining room when we sat down around 6:00 p.m. I'm usually scared to eat the food at a restaurant when there are few or no other diners, but I was pleasantly surprised.
We arrived at Duke's around 5:30 or so. Plenty of time to have a relaxing drink at the bar. I immediately enjoyed the dark vibe of the barroom. The bartender was very friendly and helpful in selecting a libation. Here's the view as we waited for our first round:
Duke's has a great beer selection, both on tap and in bottles. There were at least 10 craft beers on tap, and well over 100 bottle selections of all types of beer and hard cider. Pints on tap ranged from $4-$10. There was also an ample and affordable wine selection.
After we enjoyed our drinks at a leisurely pace, we headed to this cozy dining room:
There were no other diners around as we ordered and ate our meal, but that certainly didn't foretell the food quality. The menu was quite large and there were many things to choose from. It's certainly a gastropub type menu and it offers a lot of options in that genre. There are plenty of appetizers & munchies to choose from, as well as salads, sandwiches, burgers, some entrees, and a few barbecue selections.
We wanted an appetizer to share, so we tried the eggplant wings. Breaded batons of eggplant came out hot from the fryer, crispy on the outside and warm and chewy on the outside. We opted for the medium wing sauce and weren't disappointed. They were delicious! Here's a glimpse:
We both then selected a sandwich and choose to split them so we could each try a half.
My wife selected a special: the Bohemian Patty Melt. An angus beef patty, seared on a flat top, came perched between grilled rye bread with caramelized onions and Swiss cheese. The sandwich was good, but a tad on the bland side. A stronger cheese or spicy condiment like a flavored aioli would have helped. Pretty good though. She, like me, went for the hand-cut truffle fries on the side. Here's the presentation:
I ordered off the menu and went with the Skillet Grilled Cheese with aged cheddar and house-cured bacon. We both agreed that it was certainly the better of the two sandwiches. It was perfectly cooked and the sharpness of the aged cheddar played well against the house-cured bacon. The bacon could have used a tad more smoke, but it was tasty nonetheless. The truffle fries were good as well. They were clearly finished with truffle oil, but were a tad under seasoned. Here are a few shots of my selection:
All in all, a good night! We enjoyed the place. The drink options were great and the food was quite good. It was wasn't as good as Blue Monk, which I feel currently holds the title for best gastropub in Buffalo. I'll definitely go back, though. For some drinks, live music and a good time, this place can compete with the best in Allentown.
What do you think is the best gastropub in Buffalo??
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