Dinner & a Show – Misuta Chows, Buffalo NY

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My sister is awesome and for my birthday in January, she gifted me with tickets for us to go see the 20th anniversary touring production of Rent when it came to Buffalo. For a long time, Rent was the only musical that I liked. I actually thought I hated musicals with Rent being the exception (yeah….that’s not true at all). But when I first saw Rent in High School (on video) I just fell in love. It’s such a wonderful story and I was so happy to be able to see it live (I’ve seen a smaller production when my sister’s college did the musical, and it was great there too)!!

Seeing Rent at Shea’s was the second time I’d seen a proper production of a musical. The first being when Hamilton came to town (and was everything I hoped and then some). I used to go to a lot of concerts, but I haven’t in a long time because unfortunately, all the flashing lights and the noise often meant every concert I attended came with a bonus migraine. I miss going out and experiencing live music, but I’ve found that musical theater is a wonderful alternative. I’m able to sit, it’s indoors (I swear I’ve been rained on at nearly every concert I’ve ever attended), there’s generally no massive exodus of traffic afterwards, and so far, there hasn’t been any insane flashing lights to trigger my cranky head.

The show itself was great. Somehow I behaved myself and didn’t sing along to every song, though trust me – I wanted to! The cast really did a great job and if the show is coming to your town, I highly recommend getting tickets. Even after seeing it here and there, and watching different versions of the show, it still gets me in the feels. Even all these years later – it’s still such a relevant and wonderful show.

My only real issue were the seats but that was part my body – I overdid it the day before and my back was in a REAL MOOD – and part the historical (read: uncomfortable) nature of the venue. I was in a lot of pain during the show and of course, I switched bags before leaving and didn’t have anything to take for it. As soon as the show was over though, walking started to help and I felt a lot better.

After the show we walked down to a restaurant we were both really wanting to check out: Misuta Chows. I’ve got to admit, the fact that Buffalo is now a place where there’s stuff to walk to on Main st. is sort of a crazy prospect. I mean, there’s always been something here and there, but the city is changing into something I never imagined.

Misuta Chows is part Japanese restaurant and part arcade/bar. The attention to detail in terms of design is excellent. It’s got the feel like you’re in some alleyway Japanese restaurant and despite feeling small, it doesn’t feel too cramped – more cozy. There’s a faux roof on the kitchen area with a little counter, and paper lanterns hang throughout the space. The noise level in the dining area wasn’t bad which I really appreciated. 80s tunes wafted in (also appreciated) and as we were seated at the counter facing the kitchen, it actually felt quite private. The lighting was also great  – I know, perhaps weird details to comment on, but some places are just too bright and too loud for me to deal with and this just felt right, so they get points for ambiance for sure. Also, the Maneki Neko banners on the roof over the kitchen space was adorable. Can I have that please??

 

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Upstairs is a second bar and an arcade, which you get to via a pink glittery Hello Kitty adorned stairway. Because, why not?? The arcade itself is a fun little space with a bunch of pinball machines and about a dozen older video game machines. The games are $0.50 a play, with the pinball machines costing $1.00 a play so they’re not the cheapest thing in the world, but it’s definitely a nice feature and one I can get down with. I think it’d be neat if they did something where you got a token or two to play when you ate there. That’d be a really nice little detail!

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In terms of the food, we started with two appetizers – the cucumber slices and the pork gyoza’s. Missy also got a drink – the “Hey Samurai” which she felt was really nothing like it’s description, and at their drink prices, that was a little bit disappointing. Being seated by the kitchen meant that our food was placed directly on the counter in front of us for us to grab which was nice in a way.

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For our entree’s we both went with the Shio Ramen. I have wanted to try real ramen for years now, but I just haven’t found myself in a place to do so until now, so I was excited to finally try it. Overall it was pretty good. I LOOOOVED the soft boiled egg!! I would have liked more bamboo shoots/scallions as I felt that was a bit sparse, and I personally wasn’t a fan of the large pieces of pork due to all the fat. I’m not a fan of fat because the texture really bothers me, so that might be more a personal issue – but I was sort of anticipating thinner slices of pork. The broth itself was good, but definitely super salty as Shio ramen is meant to be. I’d really love to try a Tonkatsu ramen sometime!

In the grand scheme of things, Misuta Chows is a great little place and I think it’s a welcome addition to downtown Buffalo. I like that while it’s a place with two bars, it’s still a welcoming environment for people who don’t really drink (hi), although we were there early on a Saturday evening and I’m sure it’s likely a different atmosphere later at night.

If I found myself in the area and wanting a place to eat, I’d definitely keep Misuta Chows in mind. I’d love to see them expand their menu options!

 

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