Butterwood: Dainty Decor, Disappointing Desserts

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Butterwood Desserts
5409 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14221
Web: Butterwood Desserts
Phone: 716.204.0939
Rating:    [learn more]
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"The bread pudding tasted like left over French Toast had been mashed and tossed under a heat lamp with dabs of faux maple syrup."

If a picture was always worth a thousand words, Butterwood Desserts' photogenic dishes, interior design and web site would scream "delicious." But the devil's in the details, and this Main Street, Williamsville shop's desserts don't taste anywhere as good as they look; they're expensive, too.

The Story: Picture the following scene: a beautifully decorated room with a musician playing in the back, a dessert counter off to his side, and tables stretching all the way to the front. Each table's a visual delight, and from the menu to the interestingly shaped glasses and the plating, everything appears to have been conjured to appeal to the eye. You order one of the menu's desserts, named for a butterfly, and get one of the day's specials, bread pudding. Top it off with a cup of Ghiardelli's cocoa and you're all ready to go. You take your first bite. And that's when it all begins to fall apart.

Highs: Served in large, nice mugs, Butterwood's hot chocolate - again, a Ghiardelli's mix - is an ideal pick, especially as you may well be using it to wash down other, less savory flavors. Physically, Butterwood is interestingly decorated all the way from the dining room to the bathroom, combining old village charm with hip interior design. Unfortunately, as you might know if you've read our other reviews, there's something wrong when the list of highs ends here.

Lows: Completely putting aside the bleating of a youthful saxophone player during our meal, both of our desserts were, in a word, awful. The bread pudding, one of our mutual favorites as a couple at other restaurants, tasted like someone's left over breakfast French Toast had been mashed up and tossed under a heat lamp with small dabs of faux maple syrup. We felt that it was the worst we had ever had, which is saying something given that it's not a difficult dish to make.

The Gianduia Butterfly, which tosses a molded brown butterfly atop a chocolate mousse-filled cream cap, was presented with a small, flavorless cream puff and had virtually no taste of its own. A chocolate stick on its top and whipped cream on its side were bland, seemingly on the plate only to increase the dessert's apparent size. Each of the items cost around $7, and despite their attractive presentation, complete with small droplets of sauce on nice plates, we never felt so poorly sated after two desserts - in fact, we stopped eating the bread pudding before it was finished. Friends and family confirmed that we weren't the only ones to leave Butterwood's displeased; it's off our list of dessert destinations.

The Verdict: Great looks aren't enough to save mediocre food, or justify asking prices that are on the extremely high side relative to other local options. Rare is the dessert place that we wouldn't want to revisit, but the utter mediocrity and weirdness of our Butterwood experience was memorably bad; it so sharply contrasted with inexpensive options such as Anderson's and more expensive but delicious ones such as Dessert Deli that we couldn't even place them in the same league. Our hope is that this place will stage a turnaround, as the area would greatly benefit from some upscale competition.

Butterwood Desserts on Urbanspoon

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Comments (4)

Julue Krajewski :

HI You should check out Chow Chocolat on Main Street. It is very upscale with incredible chocolates and confections.

J. Healy :

The Williamsville location for Butterwood was great when it first opened. Pascal G, the mad genius behind the "entree" desserts, was actually there, and kept an eye on quality and service. The last few times we have gone, however, have been major disappointments. Over the years, we have noticed a steep decline in the quality of the desserts. But they were worth every penny when they first arrived on the scene. One hopes for a similar "entree" dessert establishment to pick up the reins.

bob samuels :

Just visited Chocolate bar and read your review. The people who own it sold Butterwood years ago thats when you saw decline. It was when they owned it was the finest dessert restaurant in nation BAR NONE!!! it was incredible. Cbar was a bit pricey but we took out of town guests (perfect place for that) they loved it (I did till I got the Bill) but it was fun.

Margaret :

Butterwood in Williamsville was and still is a wonderfully decadent dessert destination. I have a correction for Mr. Samuels. Butterwood was not sold years ago, in fact it was only sold a few months ago. The decline you mention occurred under the previous and original owners, not the new owners, who are in fact trying their hardest to bring Butterwood in Williamsville back up to the very high standard it once held. And in my opinion, they are doing an excellent job. Please check your facts before you make conclusions. Thank you!

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