On August 13, 2004, Barbara Ireland wrote that the Rue Franklin is a restaurant whose reputation as Buffalo’s best restaurant is rarely challenged… Download the entire Buffalo in 36 Hours article here
New York Times
This has become the premier restaurant of Buffalo and indeed of the whole region around the Lake and Falls. Small and inviiting, with all the details suggesting an owner who is expressing a viewpoint, Rue Franklin is the kind of place you cannot fail to return to when you are in the area….
An evening at Rue Franklin, a longtime contender for the title of best restaurant in Western New York, can make you feel as if you are in Paris. Now, restaurants are ephemeral things, and Joel and Deedee Lippes’ ability to stay atop a very competitive heap is nothing short of remarkable.
They have owned the restaurant for decades, and I should say that I’ve known them for many years. Sophisticated, understated in decor, this is an intimate place. Enter to a small barroom, dining rooms opening from each side.
The menu is basically French, but don’t fall asleep — it has kept up with the times. The Rue was probably the first restaurant in this area to vary its menu with the seasons, and this spring you have a choice between the conservative (Filet Mignon with Cognac Sauce and Green Peppercorns) and further out (Squab Breast with Apricot and Cardamom is served medium rare with b’steeya, the phyllo pie which is the very hallmark of Morocco gastronomy).
Or perhaps you’ll opt for Braised Veal Cheeks with Curry and Lentils ($21) or Filet of Sole and Seafood Sausage with Shrimp Sauce ($21). Even the appetizers are tweaked. You get your Seared Sea Scallops with Sweet Pea Sauce ($9). You also get your Shrimp Tortelloni with Orange Cream. The Companion practically inhaled the sauce on that one.
The Rue moves with the times in providing a prix fixe menu, too. Available Tuesday through Thursday, this one-price meal involves three courses for one price — choice of appetizer, entree and dessert for around $27.
The prix fixe changes from week to week, but on a recent visit it included a microgreen salad with shrimp, mango, prosciutto and lemon or thinly sliced salmon with shiitake and beurre blanc as starters. Entrees offered a choice of Eggplant-Wrapped Swordfish, grilled and served with stuffed Provencal vegetables, or Chicken Fricassee in a light cream sauce.
Sometimes the best ordering technique seems to be closing your eyes and pointing, but my Arugala and Artichoke Nicoise Salad first course ($8) was a clever pick. It was served with diced fresh vegetables. And my main course, Arctic Char with Preserved Lemons and Capers with braised Belgian endive ($22), was equally fine. It was properly served medium rare to show off its flavor.
Meanwhile, the Companion’s Rib Pork Chop ($23) was an amazing thing. For once, we had pork that was neither dry nor tough. It can be done — all you need is good meat and short cooking time. The Reisling sauce certainly helped things along. And let us not forget the accompanying spaetzle.
Which brings us to dessert. Yes, there is the standard and rightly beloved Molten Chocolate Cake, but there is also a Caramel Assortment. Be daring. Call me un-American, but when the chips are down I’ll take caramel to chocolate any day. And that Caramel Brulee, those caramel- dipped strawberries and that caramel profiterole just hit the spot
JANICE OKUN – Buffalo News 30 April 2004