If you’re always down to eat, as I am, and you haven’t been to Italian | Prime At Salvatore’s yet, I think it’s about time you make the trip.
Typically thought of as a special occasion destination, owner Joe Salvatore and his sons Russell and Nick have revamped the look, the feel, and the menu.
Introducing Italian | Prime At Salvatore’s at the Delavan Hotel.
The old school Italian restaurant has been serving up the staples of the motherland for 80 years – the restaurant got its start on the city’s East Side. I asked Nick Salvatore what has been the key to the long standing success. “Pretty simple,” he said. “Attention to detail. Nothing has changed in the way we’ve done business. From start to finish we strive to make every interaction perfect. It’s the culture we strive for, from the employee to food. Top to bottom and bottom up, everything that we do is so important to the guest experience.”
Looking at the menus, Italian artichokes, spaghetti and meatballs, and bolognese are prominent features and they do not disappoint. Perhaps something else that you didn’t know is that Salvatore’s has always been a steak house.
“Of course we have all the Italian favorites… though we serve 70% steak, so why not showcase it!” said Russell Salvatore. “That was the inspiration in rebranding the restaurant. Taking the restaurant in a different direction. More personalized, to create that elite dining feel,” he continued.
To fit the Prime name, the steaks that Executive Chef John Pisarek have brought in are from several sources around the globe. “I think we’ve done a really good job sourcing the best product. Trying to be local when we can,” said Pisarek. Broadleaf Wagyu Beef from Australia; Creekstone Farms in Kansas; and Utley Acres, sourced locally in Akron, New York.
The new menu has been out for a couple of months now, and I can tell you it hits harder than Conor McGregor! In true steakhouse fashion, the options to choose from are extensive, and each just as good as the next. I was anticipating that one or two would rise to the top, leaving the others behind, but that was simply not the case. The prime filet is fantastic, the Kansas City strip spectacular, and the tomahawk tremendous. With the finishing touches – both the cabernet butter and truffle butter – were exquisite… perfect accompaniments to the steaks.
In the past, I have had meals that I thought were not up to the Salvatore’s standard. So to ensure I exercised thorough due diligence, I tasted just about everything that I could muster. I must say that my experience with the new menu was flawless – along with the rebranding comes elevated culinary offerings that are simply outstanding.
To me, the steaks unequivocally reigned supreme, though some other items were also standouts, as follows:
Apps: The grilled octopus with Romesco sauce, duck wings with an orange ginger reduction, and the meatballs with fresh made in house ricotta (playfully, the kitchen calls it Chuck E Cheese, but that’s not how it appears on the menu).
Entrees: Berkshire Pork Chops with apple bacon jam, and the pecan crusted sea bass with a raspberry beurre blanc were on point.
Sides: It’s hard to shy away from the Salvatore’s signature truffle cream tortellini. That essence of truffle and creamy goodness—each bite gets better and better. The creamed corn was another great side.
There are also three signature breads – spinach, sausage, and bruschetta – and plenty of salads to choose from, not to mention a mushroom mascarpone soup (because summer is paying hard to get). And we can’t forget about their homemade flatbreads, such as carbonara, crumbled meatball, and the caramelized bleu. Keeping up with the times, they even have a couple of vegetarian options, featuring pan seared tofu Milanese and roasted cauliflower steak. But back to my meal…
One of the sleepers you wouldn’t think of when it comes to combining two different cultures is the fried chicken ala vodka – a Northern Italian newbie meets the venerable Southern American tradition. Yet they marry better than any relationship I’ve ever been in.
It is interesting to note that the name ‘Delavan Hotel’ is due to Salvatore’s original location on East Delavan Avenue, near Bailey, on Buffalo’s East Side – it was called Salvatore’s Restaurant.
To make it much more approachable, they have weekly specials to encourage first timers to try it out. Dinner for two ($85), Wine Wednesday (half price bottles under $100), or their everyday specials at the Chandelier Bar, which has an excellent cocktail menu (I am partial to the smoked whiskey cocktails). If wine is your forte, you’re in luck! IP at Salvatore’s has one of the most comprehensive wine menus in WNY.
If you’re one that doesn’t skip dessert, you’ll be happy to know they have a pastry chef in house who makes all of the desserts. Scratch made items like the peanut butter dream, flourless chocolate cake, or bananas foster (served table side) won’t disappoint.
The Salvatore’s Hospitality group orchestrates many “pairing” dinners throughout the year. This is where they pair a libation with a chef inspired food menu. They also have plans to open a cocktail centric tapas café in Clarence Hollow by the end of 2019.
As I mentioned before, if you haven’t been there in a while or you’re new to Salvatore’s, it’s prime time to pay a visit. You won’t be disappointed. If you need a dining partner, reach out, I’m always down to eat!