1 Walden Galleria, Cheektowaga, NY 14225
Web: Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse
Rating: [learn more]
An initially nice-looking, well-located steakhouse; convenient to the Walden Galleria Mall and Buffalo/Niagara International Airport. Large menu includes steaks and seafood.
Disappointing food quality and service at some of the area's highest prices; meats arrived undercooked and servers didn't attend to drinks or other details with any care. An unpolished, semi-precious stone.
See More Restaurant Reviews For:
Cheektowaga Fine Dining Seafood Steak
"It is an expensive disappointment relative to its competitors, falling short of all of them in service, proper prep of its meats, and quality of the various surrounding items."
Prior to the opening of Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse in the newer, more upscale wing of the Walden Galleria mall, we weren't aware that it was part of an Ohio-based chain, that it planned to offer both food and decor to rival the area's top steakhouses, or that it would soon sit alongside a similarly high-end chain bar right across from the mall's new valet station. These were all good signs. Then we received our first trustworthy report from the new restaurant, indicating that the service was spotty, but the meal acceptable. Hyde Park was new, so we gave it some time to settle into its new location, cleared our minds of what we'd heard, and visited anyway. Unfortunately, our experience was much the same.
Decor, Ambience and Riff-Raff Factor: If first impressions were everything, Hyde Park might well be a real competitor for local steakhouse dollars: from the modern outside to the nouveau-traditional dark wood and rich red interior, this is certainly one of Cheektowaga's nicest-looking dining establishments. But as you wait for the hostess or server to reappear, you may well notice that the place's dim lighting is helping to obscure the nail gun marks left in the wood paneling, or that there's an entry table from Cost Plus World Market, or that the medium red leather bench-style seating doesn't quite match the darker crushed red velvet back padding. Hyde Park looks like it was rushed to completion with good but not great components to satisfy a mall crowd - albeit an atypically upscale mall crowd. Most people inside are reasonably dressed, quiet to moderate in volume, and enjoying the less than polished but still cozy and somewhat romantic seating. We noticed a couple of baseball cap- and t-shirt-wearing patrons inside; this definitely is not the sort of steakhouse that requires a jacket or dress.
Service and Parking: Perhaps the single least impressive element in the Hyde Park experience is its service. The story we'd heard before visiting was that a group of family and friends had been attended to in the restaurant's first month by an almost comically poor server, whose demeanor and knowledge suggested little screening, training, or conversational judgment. While our server was friendly and certainly decent enough, we've had better, smarter, and more attentive service at The Cheesecake Factory across the way. Tea kettles stacked up on our table and water glasses sat unrefilled from the start of our appetizer course through the beginning of desserts, alternating between causing thirst and clutter as we ate. There was no crumb-scraping service, or really much attention to any of our needs throughout the meal after the initial order was placed. And we're not needy diners, either. Notably, parking wasn't an issue for us, as we were lucky enough to find a nearby space in the unreserved adjacent parking lot quickly, though many patrons will need to either rely on the $5 valet or locate a free spot in the nearby parking garage.
Entrees: As at all of the steakhouses, we ordered two entrees - one filet mignon (10 ounces, $35), prepared "medium rare plus," or a touch under medium, and lamb chops (three double-cut chops, $33), prepared medium rare. A brief reference was made by another table's server, not ours, to a "maximum" 28-day aging process for the meats; no minimum was noted. Nothing was said about seasoning, and no mint jelly was offered for the lamb. Both plates came drizzled in a very light butter and with fried onions, but with no other seasonings on the meats. They both arrived noticeably undercooked, lacking for significant char on the outside, and falling generally into the "rare" category. In the case of the filet, which was actually the most impressive cut of meat that we had at any of these restaurants - truly almost jelly-like in softness - the steak was certainly edible, but disappointing to its purchaser in both warmth and flavor. There was an unusual amount of fat on one of the filet's sides. The six lamb chops were large and visually attractive, but quite fatty and similarly less than fantastic in flavor. To its credit, Hyde Park sends along a person from table to table to check on whether the meat was cooked to patrons' satisfaction, but this individual arrived before we'd even taken our first bites, and never returned.
Breads, Appetizers, and Side Dishes: Hyde Park's selection of complementary breads was amongst the best of the bunch. Pretzel bread, a small white loaf, and sesame-poppy crackers were attractively presented and entirely enjoyed. Unfortunately, an appetizer of Lobster Crab Cakes ($14) sounded much better than it tasted, with a soggy, crumbling consistency that our server actually praised, and less combined crab and lobster flavor than we've had elsewhere; our pure Crab Cakes at Chophouse were decidedly better. A Beefsteak Tomato Salad with Mozzarella and Basil ($7) was light on basil flavor, bland in the cheese category, and loaded with tomatoes that could have as easily been found on a Wendy's hamburger. Not a bite was as good as expected. A side dish of Fresh Cut Boardwalk Fries ($6) for "two people," served with tongs and a cup of spiced mayonnaise, was also fast food-caliber in quality and quantity; today's places mightn't even call that portion "super-sized."
Dessert: A Warm Molten Lava Cake ($7.50) was perhaps the highlight of our Hyde Park meal, though it wasn't stellar, either. It was beautifully presented - perhaps the most interesting such version we've ever seen, looking more like an oversized bon bon than a hot, gooey-centered piece of chocolate cake, but when its white chocolate stripes were pierced, neither the exterior nor the lukewarm interior had anything special going on. Fresh berries and a raspberry sauce helped both in looks and in flavor, however, and as we sipped our only recently refilled beverages, we agreed that this was a better conclusion to the experience than anything that had preceded it.
Other Notable Menu Items: A variety of other steak cuts, ranging from strips to porterhouses, ribeyes and various filets, are also available, plus ridiculously expensive Japanese and American Wagyu beef steaks that many would know as Kobe or "American Kobe" beef. In addition to its steaks and chops, Hyde Park offers a number of seafood offerings taken from the chain's other restaurants, including caviar, shrimp, crab, and lobster cocktails, a number of fresh fish, and lobster tails.
Value and Conclusions: There's no other way to explain our feelings on Hyde Park than to say that it is an expensive disappointment relative to its competitors, falling short of all of them in service, proper preparation of its meats, and quality of the various surrounding items. From bland salad, appetizers, and sides to undercooked, underflavored entrees, the best that can be said about this place is that it provides the unpolished trappings of a modern, sophisticated steakhouse, and has the potential - with the same menu, but a better staff, sharper cooking, and interior design adjustments - to handily surpass places like E.B. Green's. For now, however, and despite the pre-prep quality of the meats it serves, Hyde Park falls far short of the expectations customers do and should have for the $65 per person asking prices. Apart from its geographic convenience, it has little to offer, and we wouldn't have any reason to return.