When I lived in Rome, Georgia, my choices as to a night out on the town were limited, indeed. There was an Applebees, a Chilis, and a few other nightspots. There was also a Buffalos Southwest Café. From time to time we would stop here for a few beers and wings, which seemed to be their self-proclaimed specialty. Most Buffalos offer 35 cent wings on Tuesday nights, so sometimes this made it a reasonable choice for a weeknight outing.
Since moving to Atlanta, obviously, my choices have expanded. We have a Buffalos within walking distance from my home, and we have eaten here, too. Overall, I cannot say that I am very impressed with Buffalos. Well go into the reasons for this in just a bit, but first lets explore our friendly neighborhood Buffalos a bit further.
For the most part, Buffalos tries to be a Chilis or an Applebees with a Southwestern theme. When you walk in, youll be greeted by soft lighting, a bar area and a general seating arrangement, and a huge assortment of Western-motif paraphernalia all over the walls. Thats as likely to be fake tumbleweeds to cowboy boots to a generous sprinkling of portraits of Western figures as anything else.
Somebody at our closest Buffalos seems to have a thing for Native Americans, and there are pictures of them everywhere. Sitting Bull and Geronimo are featured prominently, especially in the bar area, where they mix incongruously with neon and metal beer signs.
As I stated earlier, Buffalos features Southwest-themed entrees and wings. Most of the entrees are simple enough. Southwest Express is nothing more than chicken tenders tossed over Mexican rice and black beans. Other dishes are more complex, though certainly not the pinnacle of the culinary arts. Penne Diablo ($8.99) is a tasty mix of penne pasta with corn, beans, dried and fresh tomatoes all spiced up and garnished with parmesan cheese. Its interesting though not exceptional.
On our last visit my Beloved Barbara ordered the Fried Shrimp Dinner ($10.99). It comes with fries, slaw, and garlic bread. They were nice enough to substitute loaded mashed potatoes at no extra charge. Barb is fussy about her slaw, and she didnt care for it here. It lacked any tanginess in my opinion and was on the boring side. The shrimp were tiny, with a mushy frozen-too-long consistency and a much too crunchy breading.
I, as usual, went with the wings. Buffalos offers them in several varieties, including (from their website) mild, medium, hot, scorchin, Death Valley, Teriyaki, sweet & spicy BBQ, and Lemon Garlic Pepper. You can order them in quantities of 10 ($5.99), 16 ($8.99), or 24 ($12.99). For $10.99 you can order the wing dinner, which includes a few onion rings, garlic bread, and Texarkana Corn (seasoned grilled corn on the cob). Wing orders come with blue cheese and celery and carrot sticks.
Wings are hit and miss here. Theyre too small for one thing, and at times theyre overcooked, too dry on the inside and too crisp on the outside. They dont come with much sauce, so you would be wise to ask for extra. I like the Death Valley myself, theyre very spicy indeed, and weve enjoyed them occasionally. They will bring you out an order of mild with a hotter sauce on the side if youre splitting and have different tastes.
The last time I visited, I went for something new on the menu, Coconut Jerk Wings.They were a disappointment, once again being on the dry side and almost no flavor. Jerk spice is bold and flavorful, and these wings were far from any of that. I wouldnt order them again. Most Buffalos have a few beers on tap, but the selection is mostly Megabrews with a Michelob Bock or Sam Adams thrown in. Another strike against them, in a big city like Atlanta Id like to see at least one local micro on tap.
This has been good for the most part. Weve never had a problem, and always receive adequate though not exceptional service.
I find Buffalos to be too inconsistent to recommend. If youre going to do something as simple as wings, do them right, for crying out loud. Our experience here has been anything but consistent. There are much better options indeed for your dining out dollar.
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