2 Fountain Plaza, Buffalo, NY 14202
Web: E.B. Green's Steakhouse
Rating: [learn more]
Largest quantity of food per plate relative to other local steakhouses. Friendly, attentive service, generally good food quality.
On quality rather than quantity, meals didn't feel like they were as worthy of high asking prices as they should have been. Outdated decor, mediocre appetizers and dessert detracted.
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Buffalo Fine Dining Steak
"Our meal was fine; no item was especially impressive, but nothing was really bad, either, so in summary, the experience was only a little better than okay."
If you love steak as we do, you've surely noticed that in-flight magazines are packed these days with ads touting "top 10 steakhouse" awards from people you've never heard of. E.B. Green's Steakhouse has received one of those awards - it is, one list claims, the #5 steakhouse in America - yet as we finished our meal in its downtown Hyatt Regency location, we couldn't help but chuckle at the premise, much as we laughed off the deplorable Peking Garden's "top 100 Chinese restaurants" award. For all of its entryway placards, ranging from a prominently framed advertorial it bought in the Buffalo News to a 1996 Metro Weekend newspaper award, to a Buffalo Spree citation as 2007's "best piano bar," E.B. Green's comes across as a nice enough place that has spent more effort on marketing than on excellence in food preparation.
Decor, Ambience and Riff-Raff Factor: In looks and in ambience, E.B. Green's is a throwback to the 1980's, its split-level dining area offering a pleasant but neither hip nor traditional venue. Our eyes were drawn to somewhat period-dated, boxy and gold-hued overhead lighting and strips of light dots at foot level; tables and booths similarly have only a little of the class you'd see at any of the other steakhouses, with none of the trappings - artificial or otherwise - of age. The crowd here appeared to be middle class to upper middle class, rather than well- or not-so-well-off, and halfway through our meal, a large, loud group of people began a late exchange of holiday gifts. Between the room and the crowd, there was less of a sense here than in the Buffalo Chophouse of rarified air, or of an ideal romantic setting; neither one of these places matched the smart, modern Black & Blue in either regard.
Service and Parking: Parking at E.B. Green's was the least impressive of the group. Like the Chophouse, this restaurant is located in a nice area of downtown Buffalo, but yet it doesn't provide free parking; thus, surrounded by clumps of dirty snow, we parked in a metered spot across the street from the Hyatt and hoped that we didn't exceed the two-hour, $2 maximum. The friendly service, however, made up somewhat for this and other omissions: with the exception of modestly overaggressive table bussing - no, we're obviously still eating - we were generally very well attended to, with frequent drink refills and prompt delivery of every ordered item save for our dessert, which was ordered at the start of our meal, yet arrived a little late. We were especially glad to see servers presenting diners with an educational steak cart, highlighting both portion sizes and varied cuts of beef to familiarize novices with some of the better available portions. E.B. Green's also offered a wonderful variety of tea choices, displayed in a wooden box that's not unique to this place, but highly attractive. Sadly, there was a $4.50 charge for the tea, higher by 50% than the prices at its competitors. This was unusual in that most of the items we ordered were more aggressively priced than at the others.
Entrees: As at all of the steakhouses, we ordered two entrees - one filet mignon (8 ounces, $37), prepared "medium rare plus," or a touch under medium, and lamb chops (full rack, $41.50), prepared medium rare. No reference was made here to the steak aging or seasoning processes, but both entrees - unlike other places - were served with a house salad and baked potato at no additional charge. E.B. Green's filet was properly cooked to order, charred on the outside and ever so slightly pink on the inside, though a little under the tenderness of the other three options for whatever reason, and lacking a bit in flavor; seasoning was needed. The lamb chops were impressive in quantity, and above average in taste, although a little inconsistent in preparation: two of the eight chops were in the rare category, and four of the chops were presented in a block, with the other four sliced. This wouldn't have been an issue, save that the plate was overloaded with items, including unrequested mint jelly and a cup of thick red wine sauce, while the steak knife was falling apart, collectively making the chops difficult to move around and cut. With the wine sauce, the lamb tasted good, but it wasn't anywhere near the best of this bunch; we'd pick it only over Hyde Park.
Breads, Appetizers, and Side Dishes: Like its four complementary pieces of slightly soggy, sliced garlic toast, E.B. Green's non-entree items were amongst the least impressive in the group. As crab cakes weren't available, we ordered Salmon Cakes ($8.50), which made a good enough first impression in golden texture and flavor, but became less than exciting with every bite; by the third of three cakes, we didn't want to finish them. Four Coconut Shrimp ($11.95), splayed on a simple salad, were also not as enticing as we've had at less pretentious places, possessing the expected ingredients but little of the richness or depth of flavor such deep-fried, unhealthy sweet seafood snacks can offer. But not for the sugary, run-of-mill pina colada sauce, we mightn't have eaten all four. Having said that, we did enjoy both of our salads - one good house salad with lightly candied nuts, field greens, and orange slices, plus one substitute Caesar - though neither was as good as it might have been. Our baked potato and substituted grilled vegetables were similarly fine, not great. Substitutions added $2.50 to the standard entree prices.
Dessert: Told of a 30-minute preparation time and sold on its status as a highlight dessert, we ordered the Chocolate Molten Lava Cake ($8.50). It arrived an hour and 10 minutes later, roughly 10 minutes after we'd finished our entrees, served traditionally in a medium-sized white ramekin bowl atop what initially appeared to be a chocolate cracker but turned out to be a sugar-dusted napkin. It was good, but in no way noteworthy, its exterior properly cake-like in crust while its center was as liquid and warm as hot fudge. A smattering of strawberries, blueberries, and a raspberry on the plate added little to the cake when dipped, but we didn't have a problem finishing the item nonetheless.
Other Notable Menu Items: E.B. Green's menu is generally predictable, including and beyond its selection of meats. The well-worn classic Lobster Thermidor sits on the list of items, and was being described by a server as on "discounted" special; it and a normal two-pound lobster normally sell for $79 each. Those desiring duck ($27.50), chicken ($22.50), or even an Angus Cheeseburger ($12.95) can also find themselves as sated here as at... well, virtually anywhere else. A handful of well-known seafood items, including scallops ($10.50), clams casino ($9.50), and the mysterious Seafood Appetizer ($9.95 per person, minimum 3), also make brief appearances on the menu.
Value and Conclusions: Ultimately, our impression of E.B. Green's was that it was either a steakhouse that time had passed by, or something less impressive - a pretentious hotel restaurant with an aggressive marketing arm and comparatively unambitious menu, offering few but high-class items in an effort to attract a moneyed clientele. Our meal was fine; no item was especially impressive, but nothing was really bad, either, so in summary, the experience was only a little better than okay. These feelings and the overall rating were bolstered modestly by the friendly service and E.B. Green's somewhat better value for the dollar - slightly better quantities, not quality, of meat than competitors. This wouldn't be enough to bring us back, and it's not enough to justify the $125 pre-tip check for two, either. Rather than bolstering its array of entryway placards, it's our feeling that E.B. Green's should spend some time working on its interior and its menu; it could be a legitimate local standout with a makeover and some updates to its entrees and appetizers.