Today, the Buffalo Sabres and Delaware North Companies Sportservice unveiled an entirely new menu of items available at First Niagara Center this upcoming hockey season. With upgrades from the 100/300 level concessions to the Harbour Club and Suites menus, I can easily say that you will be impressed with the offerings. The only problem is, to get the REALLY GOOD stuff, you better have a ticket to the Harbour Club or Suite. The Sabres and Delaware North invited members of the media to a free tasting that was hosted in the 100 Level Harbour Club. It was wonderfully decorated in tune with the title of the event: “Tastes of the Season” as it took on dual meanings. A Sabres logo was neatly carved on a watermelon and numerous faux leaves and pumpkins and gourds decorated tables. The atmoshpere was casual.

Ted Black joked that he was happy we could all make it…for the free food. He asked to check Rob Ray’s credential. The guy is genuine and very likable.

Sabres President Ted Black Sampling New Food at First Niagara Center

You can't get a good picture of someone someone eating....ever.

Executive Chef Scott Green said that he “gave [new chefs] a challenge to come up with new ideas”. He also mentioned “We’re not going to stop, we’re going to keep making changes and improvements during the season.”

Since there was so much food, I’ll have to break it down by where in the Center it will be available. You can also find a PDF of the new offerings HERE. There are a few photos below, I do apologize they aren’t the greatest. Very low light. Indented bullets are my comments.

100 Level General Concessions:

  • Steak Sandwich (Tender beef, white cheddar cheese sauce, sautéed peppers and onions. Served on an Italian-style roll)
  • Chicken Parmigana Sandwich (Lightly breaded chicken breast, baked, topped with tomato sauce and provolone cheese)
  • Home-Style Pizza (Made in house with local cheese and pepperoni. Cut in larger pieces)
    • In addition to standard cheese or cheese and pepperoni, five specialty options will rotate throughout the season, including the Buffalo Chicken Pizza that we sampled. It was good and tasted freshly made.
  • Anchor Bar Chicken Finger Sub Sandwich (Original Anchor Bar sauce, bleu cheese, lettuce and tomatoes)

300 Level Concessions:

  • Millard Fillmore Hot Dog (Sahlen’s hot dog with chili, cheese, mustard and onions)
  • Downtown Hot Dog (Sahlen’s hot dog with chili, sauerkraut and mustard)
    • Both hot dogs were good, and a welcome change to the typical ketchup/mustard/relish.

100 Level Harbour Club:

  • Tapas (Assorted olives, marinated tomatoes, shaved cured meats and grilled pita. Served with roasted red pepper hummus and fresh basil oil)
    • The Tapas were good, but the cured meats were outstanding.
  • Beef on Weck Sushi Roll (Sesame beef and cucumber tempura-fried sushi roll with caraway rice and horseradish fish roe)
    • One of the top three items. Unique idea done very, very well. Delicious and clean with beef cooked very rare and the taste was excellent.
  • Lobster Mac (Butter-poached lobster tail with creamy five-cheese mac and roasted shallots. Topped with panko and truffle oil)
    • Again, one of the top three items. The chunks of lobster in this were the biggest I’ve ever seen in ANY lobster mac. It was creamy and delicious.
  • Homemade Jumbo Ravioli (Ravioli stuffed with whole-milk ricotta and goat cheese and basil. Served with cremini mushroom and sun-dried tomato broth and a Parmesan crisp)
    • The homemade pasta was great, filling was great.

200 Level Harbour Club:

  • Beef Bomber (House-roasted top round thinly sliced with sautéed peppers and onions and American cheese on a torpedo roll)
  • Grilled Steak Flat Bread (Grilled steak with tomato, basil, red onion, olive oil and white garlic sauce served on flat bread)
    • Though I like my steak rare, this was good. It seemed like the steak was grilled and the flat bread assembled, then it was all put under the broiler.
  • Margarita Shrimp Cocktail (Citrus bouillon poached shrimp, lime salt and Pico cocktail sauce)
    • Great presentation with the mini margarita glass filled with Pico cocktail sauce and rimmed with lime salt. Shrimp were large and good.
  • Greek Salad (Fresh romaine, grilled chicken, Greek dressing, feta cheese, sliced olives, tomatoes, red onion, banana peppers and cucumbers. Served with grilled pita)

Suites:

  • Hop and honey roasted cashews
    • They were okay. A little dry.
  • Warm Bavarian Pretzel Twists (Served with cheese and hot mustard dipping sauces)
    • Super yummy, warm soft and salted.
  • Artisan Cheese and Sausage Board (Chef’s selection of regional cheeses, fresh and dried fruits, cured pepperoni, sopressata and gourmet crackers)
    • The Blueberry Stilton was my favorite thing that I tasted. It was creamy and sweet and tangy. Wow, I have to buy some. The board also featured a couple Yancey Fancy cheeses which are always good.
  • “Hat Trick” Quesadillas (Beef tenderloin in a sun-dried tomato wrap, grilled chicken in a honey-wheat wrap and vegetarian filling in a spinach wrap with sautéed peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese. Served with salsa and avocado sour cream)
  • Wedge Salad (Iceberg lettuce, crumbly bleu cheese, thinly sliced onions, crumbled bacon, cherry tomatoes and California French dressing)
  • Buffalo BBBLT (Bacon, pancetta, Canadian bacon, mozzarella, tomato aioli and romain hearts on a heart toasted French loaf)
    • This was good if your a fan of pork. It might of had too much going on between the bacon, bacon and well…bacon.
  • Shrimp Scampi (Jumbo shrimp over orzo pasta in a light beurre blanc sauce and sautéed asparagus)
    • The shrimp were large (like the cocktail) but warm and buttery and yum.
Overall it seemed everyone was REALLY impressed with the offerings and how much the food had improved. The switch to Sahlen’s hot dogs was a no brainer, and will be popular with the fans.
I asked Chef Green about the suggestions that came through the website and he told me that the resounding suggestion was to add “Buffalo Flair” to the offerings. While I would love to have some Duff’s wings while watching the game…I guess that will have to wait until the next round of improvements.
As I write this post and chat on Twitter with @AlliBuffaloEats@BuffaloGal, @BfloBlog and @MikeCanfield36, I’m beginning to realize that the truly unique offerings are only for the Suites and Clubs. It’s a shame not everyone can experience these improvements; to be able to access the “gourmet” offerings you have to be a premium ticket holder. The people in the 100 and 300 levels are easily the “majority” of fans. The improvements made in these “majority” areas are just that…improvements. It a step in the right direction. Nothing mind blowing, but nice to see.

Mark Miller

Mark is the owner of Ice and Bites, an epicure and a former Sabres media member for WBSU. Be sure to find him on Twitter or Facebook to chat!

More Posts - Twitter - Facebook

Tagged with:
 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge