Reviews: Three delicious local restaurants you won't want to miss

One more week until Spring Break! Start treating yourself early by stopping by one of these spots for a tasty meal

February may be the shortest month of the year but it certainly felt like it dragged on. Every day seemed like a constant reminder that Spring Break was just out of reach, midterms were right around the corner, and the warm weather was still nowhere to be found. Fortunately though, my February went out with a delicious bang, as a few warm meals snapped me out of my winter blues.

Between February 15 and February 28, the AmericCU-sponsored Dining Week in Downtown Syracuse gave diners like myself the opportunity to enjoy a three-course meal at some of Syracuse’s best restaurants for $25. Over 20 restaurants participated and I hit up three of them.  Check out my reviews to see which spots you should head over to before Spring Break:

Bull and Bear Pub

Have you ever heard of maple butter? After a trip to Bull and Bear you’ll be thinking about it, dreaming about it, wondering what else you could possibly spread this deliciousness on. Our appetizer, maple butter with a side of sweet potato fries, was a perfect mix of crunchy and smooth, salty and buttery-sweet. In a greedy attempt to hoard all the maple butter possible, I ordered a side of corn bread that came with the butter alongside my salmon burger. To my delight, the corn bread came in muffin form with a crisp crust all around and fluffy muffin inside.

The pub is known for its burgers and I was pleasantly surprised to see the salmon burger, something different, on the menu. The ground salmon loin tasted fresh and soft underneath a light crust. The lemon dill aioli and frizzled onions on top, however, stole the show. The crispy bits were a perfect contrast to the tender salmon while the aioli melded it all together with traditional complimentary flavors.


I have never had Persian food. I was a little skeptical to hear that Parisa is Persian-American fusion since I was eager to get an authentic experience. But the fact that the executive chef there, Chef Chance Bear, won Syracuse’s Best Chef of the Year 2012 convinced me we’d be getting a great meal no matter what.

The Koufteh appetizer, Persian meatballs, was served in a light broth that gave the lightly packed meat a sense of traditional home cooking that soothes the soul. Our shrimp kabobs were perfectly grilled with a slight char along the spine of each succulent jumbo-sized shrimp. Dipping each bite into the cilantro cream and honey mustard provided contrasting flavors of herbal citrus and sweet tang.

After a hearty soup and refreshing salad, our entrees arrived. The short ribs in a Persian demi-glaze were so tender they fell apart at the touch and each bite was plump with the meat’s natural juices. Beneath the tender cut were mashed potatoes lounging in a sea of blue cheese foam, an airy and refreshing compliment to the heavy dish. If the short ribs were cooked well the salmon dish was perfect. The filet was seared just enough that the fish was still succulent and soft with a bright pinky-orange hue – a nice contrast against the pungent, saffron yellow rice and white cucumber sauce that tied the whole dish together.


Everything at bc is sleek: the bar, the dim lighting, the presentation, even our friendly waiter’s slicked back hair. Wanting to keep up with the vibe, my dining partner and I indulged in their specialty cocktails and wines, even though they were not part of the Dining Week menu. I got a glass of the Blanco Vino de Casa ($6), a grassy Spanish sauvignon blanc with a semi-sweet finish. My partner got the el presidente ($9), a mix of rum, pineapple juice, grenadine and lime juice, which was a fruity refresher from the cold weather right outside our window table.

Our appetizers were surprisingly small upon arrival but ended up being just the right amount. Together they would have made a well-paired meal. My tiny bowl of curried pumpkin bisque was served at room temperature, highlighting the wave of heat after each spoonful. Meanwhile my friend’s chubby crab cake had a crunchy coating that would go well with my smooth soup.

Between sips of our tasty drinks our entrees quickly appeared. Though my lobster mac and cheese was decadently cheesy I was disappointed by the lack of actual chunks of lobster. Instead it seemed the lobster was infused in the cheese sauce with fine bits of the chopped up crustation hidden throughout the bowl. We wrapped up our meal with the cinnamon cheesecake and blueberry compote. The crumbling cinnamon crust was a textural delight with the smooth cheesecake while the blueberry compote was bursting with fruity sweetness. My only complaint was there wasn’t enough.

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