Buffalo officially slinging Asian-fusion burgers, baos in Mountain View | Peninsula Foodist | Elena Kadvany | Mountain View Online |

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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as education and youth staff writer. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in jo...  (More)

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Buffalo officially slinging Asian-fusion burgers, baos in Mountain View

Uploaded: Feb 17, 2014
Buffalo, a beers-burgers-baos establishment on Castro Street in Mountain View, officially opened over the weekend after a few soft openings held since the beginning of February.

The 292 Castro St. restaurant is all-things fusion, with a mixture of Asian and California fare as well as higher and lower-brow food.

Appetizers include small plates like shishito peppers with lemon-citrus aioli ($6); wings with ginger, garlic, soy and chilies ($9) and edamame hummus served with pita chips ($6.50). There's two salads (Caesar for $7 and fuji for $8) as well as fries, which come with a few dipping sauces and can be served with just sea salt ($3), furikake (garlic, nori and toasted sesame) or garlic/parsley (both $4).

Entrees take the form of baos (Asian steamed or baked bun sandwiches with a range of meat and vegetable fillings), sliders and wagyu beef burgers. Baos range from $4 to $5 and all have an Asian tilt (pork belly, duck confit, grilled eggplant, chicken karaage). Siders are also in the $4 to $5 range and represent both Asian and American cuisines, from a classic (arugula, roma tomato and cheddar) to the "220" (caramelized onions, jalapeno, applewood bacon, fried quail egg, cheddar cheese and a "house special" aioli).
The burgers are in the same vein but all made with more expensive Japanese wagyu beef.

"I figured I would try to take as much of what I learned in culinary school, kind of nicer dining techniques and downplay (them) into a little more casual comfort food," said chef-owner Brandon Poon, who studied at The Art Institute of California in Sunnyvale.

Poon said Buffalo's beer selection will be "as local as possible," featuring only California breweries (on tap) plus bottles. Soft opening options included a hefeweizen from Santa Cruz Ale Works, Healdsburg-based Bear Republic Brewing Company's Racer 5 IPA, and others from breweries in Berkeley, Novato and Buellton.

Poon is a Bay Area native who grew up within the restaurant business, his family behind local Chinese fast food joints, including Express 7 in Mountain View and the Mr. Chau's chain. After receiving his culinary degree, he had a short stint at Madera in Menlo Park, interned at the Cheesecake Factory in Santa Clara and also cooked at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Photo courtesy of Buffalo.

For details on the story behind the restaurant's name, head to Buffalo's website.

292 Castro St., Mountain View

Hours: Sunday-Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by shopper, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Feb 17, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Large BBQ pork baos fresh out of the oven cost around 70 cents each in Chinatown and they are delicious. Can't believe that a yuppie fusion restaurant is charging $5 for the same thing.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Elena Kadvany, a resident of another community,
on Feb 17, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Elena Kadvany is a registered user.

shopper: Definitely an inevitable and (I think) fair commentary for these kind of concepts. I recently dined at acclaimed Ramen Shop in Oakland (opened by a few Chez Panisse alums) and felt the same way. It's the same kind of food technically, but you're paying for something in a different category altogether.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by shopper, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Feb 17, 2014 at 8:45 pm

I don't mind paying $5 to $10 for a bowl of good ramen at Santa in San Mateo. I admit that I haven't tried that new ramen restaurant near the Mountain View post office. How much does Oakland's Ramen Shop charge? How does it differ in quality from popular ramen specialty restaurants on the peninsula?

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Elena Kadvany, a resident of another community,
on Feb 17, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Elena Kadvany is a registered user.

What's your favorite Peninsula ramen spot?

Check out the Ramen Shop menu and you'll see what I mean: Web Link

$15-$17 bowls of farm-to-table ramen. Really amazing but a different style, approach than traditional ramen spots.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Moa Boa, a resident of Barron Park,
on Feb 18, 2014 at 9:39 am

Wait up Elena, don't run away from the boa topic so soon (haha). I've never had one. Are they similar to the steamed/baked dim sum bbq pork buns?
If I want to try one, is there a "classic" type...they all sound pretty tasty.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Elena Kadvany, a resident of another community,
on Feb 18, 2014 at 9:49 am

Elena Kadvany is a registered user.

Moa Boa: The dough is semi-similar, but they're not enclosed buns. For lack of a better description, they're sort of like tacos in a way. Check Buffalo's Yelp for some photos: Web Link

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Moa Boa, a resident of Barron Park,
on Feb 18, 2014 at 10:14 am

Ah, I see, thanks for the link. Almost looks like how I've had peking duck, only bigger. I need to get one of these this week, I feel so out of touch ;)

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Feb 21, 2014 at 10:23 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

Elena wrote: "shopper: Definitely an inevitable and (I think) fair commentary for these kind of concepts."

I disagree on both points, and here's why, for readers interested in a comment about this new restaurant from someone who has actually tried it a few times, and its actual competition, before judging.

The usual char-siu bao or "BBQ-pork steamed bun" that Bay Area dim-sum restaurants have sold for many decades is a commodity product, assembled and cooked in bulk (like pot stickers, siu mai, etc.)

Buffalo's baos are much more in the spirit (and, in fact, are today's hip Pacific-Asian counterpart of) fancy hamburgers. Each is made from a bao wrapper, similar to but larger than those often served with Peking Duck (which Moa Boa mentioned), folded over custom ingredients, like duck confit with mango salad.

Another of Buffalo's baos, with pork belly and savory garnishes, resembles a version made for a few years at Bushido, the established Japanese small-plates-and-drinks (Izakaya) restaurant down the street. A similar style of modern-casual Asian food has been offered by some of today's popular food trucks, such as Eat On Mondays. Those are the natural comparison points for Buffalo's Bao offerings, and those competitors similarly charge a few dollars each for their made-to-order baos with creative fillings. They are not your standard char-siu bao at all.

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