5409 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14221
Web: Butterwood Desserts
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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.