Cheap Eats 2012: Melting Pot

Pekilia at Acropolis is food critic Kevin Purdy's pick in the Melting Pot category

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Acropolis - Pekilia ($11)

Small dishes—passed around, eaten between sentences and laughs, and enjoyed with wines or ouzo—are central to Greek cuisine, and the culture that cuisine stems from. Acropolis’s menu reflects this in its varied and very generous offering of mezes. To choose one is very difficult, because pita comes with all of them, and properly fried calamari is almost in a different league. But the $11 Pekilia plate hits the mark, because it’s substantial for the price, it works for vegetarians in your party, and complements a number of scenarios. It has substantial grape leaves and not-too-oily artichoke hearts, which pair well with the ample pita. The spanakopita varied a bit in crispy flakiness across three visits, but is generally less greasy than you might expect from festivals or diners. And feta and olives are a great complement to whatever you’re drinking.—Kevin Purdy

Acropolis, 708 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, 716-886-2977

Acropolis OPA on Urbanspoon

Niagara Cafe - Rotisserie Chicken ($7)

The aroma of fat, glorious roasted chickens pervades the air around this Puerto Rican café, making Niagara Street smell that much more delicious with every order of rotisserie chicken it serves. Quarter, half, and whole chickens are available; for an easy lunch for two, get the half, add a hearty portion of beautiful yellow rice and juicy beans, and eat like royalty for under $7. In a town surprisingly short on authentic Latin fare, Niagara Cafe offers Puerto Rican comfort food at its finest—simple, filling, and packed with flavor.—Julia Burke

Niagara Café, 525 Niagara St., Buffalo, 716-885-2233

Niagara Cafe on Urbanspoon


Kabab & Curry - Lunchbox Special ($6)

The biggest drawback to a buffet, especially a great buffet, is that you can’t take it with you. The deal is that you’ve paid into a volume-based, time-limited culinary effort that you are expected to enjoy in one sitting. Except at Kabab & Curry, where few people think to inquire into the take-out and delivery options. You can pick out vegetarian or chicken appetizers and dishes from the menu, or ask what’s in the buffet that day, for $4–$6, including rice. You will absolutely need a side of naan for $1.49. Finally, you can pick it up, or, if you live or work within two miles of Kabab & Curry and you’ve got more than $20 in orders, they’ll deliver it. The price for the quality is a great bargain, and so is the feeling that you’ve broken free from the typical buffet boundaries.—Kevin Purdy

Kabab & Curry, 5185 Transit Rd., Williamsville, 716-565-3822

Kabab & Curry on Urbanspoon


Newroz Market & Grill - Four Kabob Lunch Special ($11)

Working at a refugee resettlement agency has distinct advantages when it comes to discovering great ethnic food, so when looking for a delicious Middle Eastern meal, I asked my Iraqi co-workers where to go. Newroz Market and Grill is the answer. “Get kabab,” Farouk says. “You will like.” So I do. Newroz’s interior is draped in rich, textured fabrics that, combined with the Arabic background music, can make diners forget they are in Buffalo. I arrive for lunch, but the owner, Shakhawan Hawramy, a former refugee, says it’s best to come late and have dinner and hookah. Two kabobs, one lamb tika, and one chicken tika is my order, and any four meat skewers come with a side, so I opt for hummus with fresh flatbread. The hummus is light and creamy which greatly complements the juicy, spiced meat kabobs.—Sarah Quintal

Newroz Market and Grill, 1175-77 Hertel Ave., Buffalo, 716-877-7143

Newroz Market & Grill on Urbanspoon



Other wallet-friendly options in this category: Amy's Place, Falafel Bar, Kung Food, Mythos, Pete 'n' Paul's

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