The food at East-West Cafe scans as soul food, but you’ll discover some surprising twists along the way – like the Philly Cheesesteak, topped with a stew-like mix of cheese, meat, hot peppers and sweet onions. I ate it like a curry, with the bread as the starch; if there’s a way to pick it up and eat it like a sandwich, I couldn’t figure it out.
And by the way, if you’re one of these people who says things like “that’s not a real Philly Cheesesteak, a real Philly Cheesesteak has [insert conventional wisdom here], well… this ain’t Philly. This is Buffalo’s east side. This is something else entirely.
Everything we ordered lived up to our lofty expectations. The lunch special ($8.99) comes with a meat dish and two heaping sides. The mac and cheese was rich and filling, the secret star of the show like good mac and cheese always is. The barbecue-style ribs were tender, bathed in a sweet sauce with a low-key, lingering spice profile. And the ham-enhanced cabbage and carrot stew brings the flare of Southern U.S. cuisine to a dish that’s very similar to the kind of cabbage and carrot dish you find in Ethiopian restaurants.
From pleasantly surprising to simply satisfying, East-West Cafe fits right in with other Broadway Market installations that offer quality and value with avoiding the tendency toward chic boutique ambiance. For a meal that’s just good, East-West Cafe is worth the trip.