By Raymond Bill
I’m always excited to learn of a new restaurant opening in town because while I love the few places I frequent regularly, I enjoy the opportunity to order from a new menu and hopefully find a new favorite place to dine. However, new restaurants often have hiccups that can make for a bad first impression. This was the case on my recent dining adventure at Buffalo’s in Palm Desert next to Red Lobster.
Many of my friends and I enjoy the local music scene and karaoke. We support local bands and live entertainment, and often, we enjoy being the entertainment on stage after a few drinks. We heard that one of our favorite KJs, Todd “T-Bone” Avery, was starting his new Monday night karaoke at Buffalo’s and we flocked there to support him. I knew the restaurant was casual from looking at the menu online so I was not expecting extreme attention to detail in service. What we received however was far from impressive.
We grew to a party of seven and moved from a tight booth near the kitchen to a table in the main dining area. The ambiance is welcoming; clean floors and high ceilings allow for a lively environment. The karaoke event takes place on Mondays only for now, with set up near the back of the restaurant adjacent to the bar. Though away from the main dining area, the sound was still quite loud but no one was bothered.
Our server was charismatic, but lacked understanding of the menu, often leaving the table to find the answers to our questions. I would have expected some form of menu test to be administered before opening but it was clear that our server still struggled with the details. We were eventually able to place an order, opting to try some appetizers and of course, buffalo wings.
I’ll admit the wings were very delicious, with an extensive selection of sauces to choose from. I opted for the mild and after much discussion on the size options, we were convinced a, “medium” portion would be ideal for sharing amongst a few of us. We also ordered to share, a sampler platter to include all the typical bar fare such as mozzarella sticks, chicken strips, spinach eggrolls and queso dip and chips. What I was not expecting, however, was small portions and bland food for such high prices. The sampler was $19.00 and the one order of wings that were served in a small basket for us to share, was $20.00!
One from our group ordered the nachos and had to send it back when we saw that it was nearly the same dish as the Queso Dip, reinterpreted. A plate of tortilla chips covered in queso dip and chunks of sautéed chicken was placed before us. No additional toppings such as sour cream guacamole, jalapenos, olives, or salsa were provided, despite the online menu description, leaving this dish very lackluster for the $16.00 price tag.
What I can say about this place that is positive, is that the drinks are great and priced well. The staff is young but energetic and excited to be there. The karaoke was fun and entertaining, bringing out some great talent in our valley, including our server, who was perhaps the best singer in the restaurant that night! Truly the voice of an angel. And though I will likely return, I do not foresee us dining there, rather, drinks and karaoke will have to do.
Every new restaurant has some kinks to work out and I hope Buffalo’s can get the hang of things soon because it could become a great addition to Palm Desert now that Schmidy’s has left a hole in our hearts. Buffalo’s is new to the desert but not new on the scene, as they are celebrating 30 years in business. Located at 72261 Hwy 111 Suite 130, Buffalo’s is open Monday through Friday from 3pm to 11pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 11pm. Karaoke with T-Bone each Monday night to begin at 8pm.