Nestled on the corner of Tonawanda St. and Austin St. in Black Rock, I’m a believer that The Viking Lobster Company is one of Buffalo’s best kept secrets.
Out to celebrate a friends’ 30th birthday, I was honestly a little nervous walking up to The Viking; as it is looks to be a poorly lit home and the exterior of the building needs a good paint job.
Going up the plank-like ramp to the entrance of the restaurant, I wondered what everyone I talked to was raving about? It would have an understatement to say I was anxious to see what was inside based off of the exterior’s appearance.
Boy, was I proved wrong!
We were immediately greeted by a lovely hostess and I found the inside to be absolutely charming. The décor was dated and rustic, it felt like my great-great- Aunt Betty’s house, with hidden nooks and crannies, but it only added to the feel of the establishment – fun, relaxed and not out to impress.
We were led through a kitchen storage area and seated out on the patio – which was quite warm for the middle of winter. The wooden planked walls were reminiscent of an old fisherman’s, ahem… Viking ship. Settling in at our table and looking around at the other diners, the anticipation of snapping succulent crab legs almost got the best of me.
Here is what I took away from my experience
1. It’s all about the food.
Above is the Ultimate Viking Feast. It included two lobsters, King Crab legs, ribs, grilled chicken, shrimp, scallops, haddock and a choice of two sides. I may be missing something. More or less, it was a pile of the most delicious seafood I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. I split this with one of my friends and both of us had enough food for dinner the following day.
Also, it’s not every day you get to bring home a whole lobster for leftovers.
2. It’s BYOB
As in bring your own booze… beer, wine, bottles of vodka – whatever.
I’m just going to say it. I like to drink, and sometimes I like to drink copious amounts of alcohol on a rare night out without kids. It was really nice to eat an amazing dinner, drink my favorite wines and not kill my wallet with the drink portion on the bill.
3. You can pretend you’re a Viking.
Like, a real Viking, with a real Viking hat; but only if it’s your birthday. Sorry Jess…
If you are not lucky enough to wear a Viking Hat, you still feel like a Viking with the gigantic amount of food you just can’t seem to stop eating. Only Vikings can eat like this.
4. The staff was spectacular.
From the busboy and hostess, to the server and the chefs, they were all friendly, happy, and on top of their shit. I have over a decade in the restaurant industry under my belt, and much to the annoyance of my family and friends, I tend to judge the customer service pretty hard. The chef came out to greet our party to make sure we were enjoying the food, and it was clear our server was a seasoned pro in the field of hospitality. She even let us plug in a phone so we could listen to our own tunes.
5. Cash only
Don’t bring your plastic. Bring an appetite, the booze, and a few crisp bills to pay for the diner and tip.
I liked this, I knew the menu was pricey going in and was able to budget accordingly.
If you live in Western New York or in Buffalo, have a love for seafood and want a great atmosphere to dine in, get your reservation now for dinner. They book up weeks in advance, so do yourself a favor and pick up the phone!