East-West Cafe: Soul Food With A Few Surprises

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.

food at east west cafe

Left, the Philly Cheesesteak with french fries; right, barbecue-style ribs with mac and cheese and cabbage and potatoes.

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.

mac and cheese at east west cafe

The macaroni and cheese needs no introduction.

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.