Vera's summer menu
Lead image courtesy of Vera via Facebook
Like many of the area's restaurants, Vera has rolled out its summer menu, which features a variety of locally-sourced ingredients and weather appropriate dishes. As the restaurant that birthed Buffalo's craft cocktail movement, Vera has grown a lot over the years. Staff behind the bar has certainly changed, as it does, but thanks in no small part to the many people who have stood behind the pine at Vera, we've become more educated consumers and a town with much better drinks on offer, all around. I was happy to sample some of their summer cocktails and menu items, here are a few highlights.
Of the dishes I tasted, you'll find my favorites pictured above. Chef Karl Wyant's chimichurri sauce is delicious. Its addition to his subtly spicy and verdant gazpacho (left), and to the house steak (right), make both of these menu items solid choices. In the gazpacho, the sauce works to round out the mouthfeel of the dish through its addition of oil, and the bright flavors of its herbs draw out and highlight the flavors of the dish's raw ingredients. The flat iron steak—which is served with a croquette and a tomato salad augmented by housemade buttermilk dressing—is chimichurri sauce's intended use, and for good reason. The marriage of a well made chimichurri and a perfectly cooked steak is a marriage made to last. Finally, Vera's pizza crust has come a long way since it first opened its doors, and I was quite impressed with its advancement. Of the pizzas sampled, the one pictured in the middle was my favorite—with a blanket of spicy red sauce, housemade sausage, red peppers, shaved fennel, and luxurious spoonfuls of warm and supple, salty and sour goat cheese, it is sure to win your heart, too.
The great thing about a craft cocktail bar, besides its good drinks, is its dedication to constantly revising and refining its offerings. Seasonal menu changes encourage that behavior, and you should consider doing the same thing when you're ordering a drink. Skip the Old Fashioned or the martini this time around and try something new, something created especially for warm weather consumption.
Vera's cocktail menu still has a few of its old favorites, but is largely new. Here are a couple of the cocktails I tried.
The first drink, depicted above on the far left, was my favorite, but I really love good vermouth, so it's no surprise. Made with tequila, Pillow Talk also makes use of Dolin's dry and blanc vermouths, as well as its Genepy des Alpes. The nasturtium-topped coupe in the middle holds Be Good or Be Gone, a drink of applejack, Salers, Gran Classico, and Peychaud's. It's highly drinkable, and a nibble on the peppery flower garnish makes for an excellent ending. Finally, falling under the slightly pricier (but top shelf-centric) "Dealer's Choice" portion of the menu is Cenobio's Choice, which is made with Fortaleza Blanco, agave, fresh lemon, Worcestershire sauce, fresh thyme, and ginger, it's a cocktail that drinks like a meal.
Check out Vera's new menu online or stop in for a bite and let them help you find your perfect summer drink.
220 Lexington Avenue, Buffalo