For my third adventure during Restaurant Week I went to Parings Wine Bar on Main Street in Williamsville with two of my best friends from high school Mel and Kristy. We had a reservation for 6pm, but I was running early and pulled into the parking lot around 5:45pm. I was immediately greeted with a tiny parking lot, and only saw two available spaces for the three of us to park in. Luckily someone was leaving right when Mel pulled in and we were all able to park without hassle.
As a random side bar, girls nights absolutely rock. There’s nothing better than catching up with your best friends, especially when you haven’t seen them in a few months. If you haven’t spent time with your friends lately, give them a call and plan a night. I know schedules are crazy, but it’s time well spent.
Alright, so Parings. When we walked inside Parings, we felt like we were walking into our Grandma’s houses. You immediately come upon stairs that lead upstairs and a room to your right. We had no clue where to go. There was no one anywhere around us, and no one greeted us. One of the waitresses walked out from a room down a hall and pointed through the doors to the right. We made our way in, still no clear hostess station, and someone finally directed us to a table.
The only way I can really describe the restaurant is like this: Pretend you take everything out of your house, and all you have left are the walls. Then fill it with small cafe style tables and chairs, some couches and fake trees and plants and that is Parings. They do also have a decent sized bar, but it felt awkward in the space. The flow of the restaurant layout was extremely odd to me and my friends. It is broken up into a few rooms, that each have a handful of tables in it, with a few high rise tables here and there. Some of the couches serve as one seat at a four seat table, and the couches, all different, were not my style. The walls were painted a pink color with floral curtains. I asked my friends during the meal how they would describe the style and Kristy said, “Umm, I guess homey? You can quote me in your blog too.”
We were seated in the far back room (there were four tables in our area), and no one else was back there with us so we felt comfortable and had plenty of room. Our waitress handed us the menus and explained their restaurant week menus to us and gave us some time to look it over. One thing I noticed immediately was that there were no glasses on the table for water, and we weren’t asked if we wanted any. I typically always, even with a glass of wine, want water too. There was also no bread service.
For the first time in the history of eating out (at least for me) all three of us ordered the exact same meal from the wine, to the appetizer to the entree. We all started off with a glass of Riesling which was great. They do have an extensive wine list, but I’d expect that from a wine bar. As our appetizer, we ordered the coconut shrimp (one of my favorite things in the world) and it was absolutely delicious. The spicy sauce it came with was right on the mark, and the shrimp was cooked perfectly.
For our entree we chose the Bacon Lobster Mac & Cheese, which is an award winner for the restaurant and it absolutely delivered. Sometimes with restaurant week, chefs give you a smaller portion size, but this dish was huge! We all took half of our meals home. There was a generous amount of lobster in mine, which impressed me, and it was so delicious and tender. The cheese sauce was phenomenal and the bacon pieces on top were a great addition. Although, a few bites into the meal, Mel pointed out we were all going to hell eating meat on Friday.
The food really redeemed the restaurant for me, and I happily enjoyed my leftovers, which still tasted as delicious. Overall, I had a great night, but I think it had more to do with the company than the atmosphere of the restaurant. The meals we had really were delicious, and I would definitely go back for the lobster mac and cheese (which normally costs $17).
Parings is a relatively new restaurant that opened in 2010. They are definitely on the right track with the food, but I think the space itself needs some work. Maybe it just wasn’t my style, but I felt like it was just all thrown together with whatever they could find.
The address for Parings is 5893 Main Street (right next door to Milo’s Restaurant), and they are open Monday – Saturday for dinner (they open at 3pm) and late night drinks. If you want to make reservations you can call (716) 630-5951.
For more reviews on Parings Wine Bar, check out: