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Oshun makes soft opening as downtown Buffalo's newest restaurant

The bar portion of the new Oshun seafood restaurant.
The bar portion of the new Oshun seafood restaurant.

Downtown Buffalo's newest dining spot may also be among the city's most attractive. Oshun, an oyster and seafood bar located at 5 East Huron Street, opened in soft mode on Monday, and should have worked out the kinks by this weekend, according to chef-owner Jim Guarino.

The 130-seat Oshun, which experienced some delays earlier this summer over plumbing issues, had been projected for a mid-July opening. Guarino, chef-owner of the Shango Bistro in the University Heights neighborhood, now has a venue more than double the size of his first restaurant. It highlights an aquatic theme, with sleek metal and fabric touches and lots of mood lighting.

It all fits well in the Art Deco-style building that was constructed in 1946 as a restaurant named the Waldorf Lunch, part of a popular lunch counter chain founded in 1904. It later became home to a variety of other businesses, before being renovated last year to return it to much of its original style.

Guarino describes his Oshun menu as "a contemporary take on a seafood house," noting that the culinary influences will come from a far wider range of places, transcending the American South to draw from the Caribbean, Africa and Italy, among other cuisines. That is distinctly different from his Shango Bistro Shango which specializes in New Orleans and Cajun cuisine.