Daniels Restaurant in Hamburg, NY Delivers Stunning Evening for BDC
There is a famous story called “Three Feet from Gold” written by Sharon Lechter that tells the story of a group of miners. After their attempts to find gold failed, they abandoned their expedition and sold their equipment to a junker. This junker took the equipment he had bought, started digging just three feet away from the original mining site and struck gold!
This is exactly how I felt after our most recent dinner at Daniel’s Restaurant. I’ve lived in Hamburg all my life, but for me Daniel’s was a gold mine waiting to be struck, and let me tell you, after eating there I felt like I won the lottery!
This gem has been sitting under my nose my entire life and I know I am not the only Western New Yorker who shares this sentiment or who will – once they try Daniel’s for themselves. Daniel’s has been owned by Scott & Lisa Donhauser since December 2013, but it has been open. If offered a dinner that was very different from anything that the Buffalo Dinner Club had done before. This 10-course tasting featured the best that Daniel’s had to offer.
Since taking over ownership, the couple has implemented new and exciting changes to the menu, including adding a “small plates” option. They also made aesthetic changes to enhance the dining experience.
“We completely redecorated the dining room and restrooms with a more modern feel, and added an outdoor patio in 2017. The patio was very well received and gave patrons the option to experience Daniels on a more casual level,” Lisa explained.
The small plates were beautifully prepared and looked like dishes straight out of a magazine or NY restaurant! The full menu with description is below:
1st Course – Tuna Tartare
Avocado ice cream, wasabi and soy “brittle”. Daniel’s works with Honolulu Fish Company, one of the best seafood suppliers in the country, who ship their product overnight so they we know it’s the freshest product available.
2nd Course – “Fish & Chips”
Beer, potato crust, sweet and sour pickles. Again this product was from Honolulu Fish company. They used fresh Opah that was marinated in beer for 24 hours and crusted with Lays potato chips. It was topped with a hot sauce cream and served with mixture of dill and gherkin pickles, pickled vegetables and a beer “chaser.”
3rd Course – Eggs Benedict
Quail egg, Chorizo, asparagus. The restaurant purchased the quail eggs from a local farm. This dish featured an “English muffin” bread pudding topped with Chorizo sausage and pureed asparagus into the hollandaise sauce.
4th Course – Corn in Three Styles
Porridge/Truffles, Flauta with goat cheese and Corn soup with saffron. They made porridge with cornmeal instead of oats. A house-made corn tortilla was filled with local “First Light Farm” goat cheese and lightly fried. Cream corn soup was simmered for 6 hours while we infused saffron threads into it.
5th Course – Foie Gras PB&J, Brioche and House Jam
This dish was inspired from a trip Scott and Lisa took to South Beach Miami. They went to a restaurant called “Bazaar” owned by Chef Jose Andres. They used Hudson Valley, NY foie gras which was cooked and then whipped with peanut butter until spreadable. The jam was from Daniel’s sous chef’s own backyard garden. The bread was griddled with the duck fat with the richness of the foie gras we decided to add a vanilla-balsamic semi-freddo to cut some of the richness.
6th Course – “Coq Au Vin”
Pork belly, wild and tame mushrooms, red wine butter. This was just a twist on the traditional preparation of this dish of chicken cooked in red wine and mushrooms with bacon.
7th Course – Veal
Vegetable Sofrito, Salsa verde. One of the most popular dishes on Daniel’s our menu is the veal and lobster in lobster cream sauce so they we wanted to feature veal in a different way. A piece of seared veal was set on a vegetable sofrito which is a Spanish dish of various vegetables cooked in olive oil and tomatoes. It was finished with a salsa verde made with tomatoes, green peppers, chilis, cilantro and lime.
8th Course – “Surf & Turf”
Lobster tempura, filet, pepper cream. Another very popular item on their menu is roasted lobster tails with house made pasta. This was a twist on the lobster which was tempura battered and fried and paired with a petite cut of filet mignon in a black pepper cream.
9th Course – Brownie
Brownie, Bacon “snow”, bourbon caramel sauce. House made brownie with bourbon caramel sauce and dusted with bacon “snow.” This is the restaurant’s most popular dessert we feature during Restaurant Week.
10th Course – Coffee & Donuts
Espresso and Beignets. Miniature house made donuts lightly dusted with powdered sugar and espresso cream for dipping.
10-Course Dinner Wrap-Up:
I bet your mouth is watering and stomach is growling after reading the menu isn’t it?
Now, there are probably a couple of ingredients or dishes on this that might strike you as odd, or as something you would never try, and believe me, I felt the same way! But, with an open mind and empty stomach, I tried everything and so did almost every other BDC member that was at this event. Let me tell you, I would have regretted it if I hadn’t because I was blown away by the flavors, combinations, and overall taste of each creative culinary piece of art!
I went around the room between dishes to get feedback from the other members in attendance, all of different backgrounds, ages, and food experience! I did not receive one single piece of negative feedback and every person I talked to shared my same experience. They were scared and almost going to skip some dishes, but because they were at this event, they gathered up the courage to try everything and loved it all!
I guess one of the major obstacles facing Daniel’s and many other restaurants who change ownership is the preconceived ideas that possible patrons may have.
Daniel’s was known to many as a “special occasion” restaurant to be visited only once or twice a year, but Chef/Owner Scott said that he and Lisa wanted to make the restaurant more approachable and a place where people didn’t have to be “dressed to the nines” to sit down and have their meal.
“We believe we are changing that impression with our private but comfortable patio dining as well as the option to order a few small plates and a glass of wine or cocktail as opposed to having to order a full course dinner,” he explained.
This event was definitely one of the Buffalo Dinner Club’s most successful because as Lisa put it, “We wanted to showcase the newer side of Daniels and a tasting menu was a great way for us to show people who may have never dined with us before that we are more than just “your parents’ Daniels.”
Thank you for all 60 members who joined us and especially to the owners and staff of Daniel’s Restaurant who put on a phenomenal culinary show!