Protocol- to me that means rules governing conduct, as in one must follow protocol. I like the concept of rules as they apply to other people. I don’t know how that moniker was given to Protocol Restaurant in Williamsville. What I do know is for years I drove by this place and never considered stopping. For some reason I thought it was something more like Club Protocol the Disco Dance Scene… As the saying goes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover…or name.
Protocol is a traditional (and I mean that in a good way) “steak and seafood” restaurant with an interesting menu, good service, fine food, and a well thought-out wine list. No, it is not a dance club –my bad.
In the traditional manner it has a handsome full-service bar, dark wood, white tablecloths and comfortable lighting.
The restaurant was pretty quiet when we went but it was late and an off day. There were six or eight patrons enjoying themselves at the bar, two or three tables in the adjacent dining area.
I started with the wedge salad ($8). Interestingly, it came as a wedge of romaine with red onions, tomatoes, radish, blue cheese, bacon and a hard-boiled egg. A hard-boiled egg? Nice! I’m not sure what the rules are on for a wedge- maybe there aren’t any- either way this was good.
For my entrée I had the Chicken Pancetta & Pasta, which was outstanding. Pan seared chicken, pancetta, garlic, calamata olives, sundried tomatoes, spinach and pappardelle pasta. I like everyone of those items so it was an easy choice. Besides, I’m a huge sucker for Pappardelle. I got the large for $20, they have a small for $16. I figured for $4 I could always take some home if I wanted. Turns out that wasn’t an issue.
Not only was I cheerful about my meal, there were several items on the menu I’d like to come back to sample- they have is a nice selection of seafood: Ahi Tuna ($29), Chilean Seabass ($31), Shrimp Scampi ($24), Horseradish Salmon ($24); and some mouth watering meat selections: Braised Short Ribs ($24), Porterhouse Pork Chops ($23), Rack of Lamb ($30).
My group also had the Pan Seared Sea Scallops with roasted corn chowder, crispy pancetta appetizer ($10) and the Dry Aged Kansas City StripBone-in, dry aged, truffle French fries ($38). Both were excellent and the steak was cooked perfectly.
I suspect half the battle in getting the steak cooked perfectly is getting it ordered right. Thankfully, our waitress, who was knowledgeable and attentive, took the time to make sure what we understood as medium rare was the same as what the kitchen understood as medium rare.
The wine list is first rate. I’d say nicely conservative, meaning I recognized most of what I read. They have an extensive selection, over 80 bottles according to the website, and fairly priced. We had the Simi Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley – $42.
While it will likely be a while before I get back to Protocol, I am eagerly looking forward to my return.