Carte Blanche is now taking reservations for mid June. If you haven’t heard – what was once Buffalo Street Grill and in the corner building on Buffalo and Union – the French Donut Shop for you old timers – is now Carte Blanche.
The transition from Buffalo Street Grill to Carte Blanche has proved to be more than a just paint job and a name change – a lot more. A complete teardown and rebuild is what I’d call it. A clean slate is what Chef Andrew Murtha calls it. “A chance to design his own restaurant and menu from scratch” according to Carte Blanche’s Facebook page. The building was completely gutted, a second floor was added (former residential), new bar space upstairs and down, new bathrooms, new outside seating including a second floor deck, a new look, a new feel, a new menu, and new staff. Like I said a total rebuild – and we couldn’t be happier for CB, for Hamburg, and mostly for ourselves (our office is 60 feet away).
Who’s in the Kitchen?
Andrew Murtha joined the ownership group in 2015 fresh from his Executive Chef position at Tempo. His first move was to rebrand Bistro in the Square into Juicy Burger Bar, which has quickly become the burger joint Hamburg always needed complete with craft beers on tap and a good wine list. His second move was the transformation of this corner grill into a unique dining experience centered around haute cuisine. In addition to Murtha, Cody Castiglia will be manning the kitchen as Sous Chef and Christopher Casas will be running the front of the house.
The Look & Feel
About the only thing that will look familiar to BSG patrons are the windows and the downstairs bar location, but not the actual bar itself. A new wood front door welcomes customers to the brand spankin’ new space that is based around mother earth. Elements of stone, wood, and water all make the you feel like you’re part of nature. Tree branches adorn the first floor ceiling set above a brick wall with a working fountain. The bar is trimmed with stone, some of which are from Lake Erie, and finished with a polished cement top. Tree branches are used as railings for the stairs. Beautiful hardwood floors and plenty of natural light tie everything together.
Beyond decor details the space is simply attractive with spacious and solid wood tables and chairs, and a very comfortable vibe. White linen napkins and attractive dinnerware add to the sanguine atmosphere and an enjoyable experience without pretense.
Carte Blanche makes great use of the outdoors too with dining and lounge space on a first floor alley patio and a second floor alley deck. The second floor is generally well accommodated with it’s own bar, wonderfully positioned for private parties and with a fantastic view of the village.
The CB menu will be based on seasonally appropriate, locally sourced meat and produce with an emphasis on house-made. The cuisine is “New American” with a hint of French bistro. “Our focus is to create a unique dining experience for our patrons. We’re going to be creative, make use of both modern and classic techniques, and pretty much use everything in the tool box” said Chef Murtha. Owner Tim Sardinia assured us the menu will be updated regularly to keep customers excited about stopping in often. Currently on the list are mouth watering options like house-made charcuterie, oysters, Foie Gras, house-made gnocchi, smoked shellfish, wild line-caught salmon, aged NY Strip Steak, T-Meadow Pork Chops to name just a few. We stopped in for the soft opening and I can say it is as good as it sounds. Check out the pics and have your drool cloth handy.
The fun doesn’t stop with the food. A robust craft cocktail list, wine menu, and local craft beers on tap (maybe 10) are likely to impress too.
Pro Tip: Reservations begin June 14 but if you happen to wonder in between now and then you just might get a table. No promises. To stay update on Carte Blanche follow them on Instagram and Facebook and check out their menu here.
Full disclosure we are friends with these guys from way back when – but it doesn’t make anything we say less true.
61 Buffalo Street, Hamburg, NY
Price: $$ – $$$
Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 5pm – 10pm, Friday – Saturday 5pm – 11pm, Closed Sunday and Monday