Between the Wildlings of Allentown and the Dothraki bloodriders of Chippewa, a bit of civilization has popped up along Delaware Avenue.
Located in that stretch of civilization, in the former Snooty Fox, the new Greystone restaurant looks set to add to that sophistication by offering a range of ambiences, from VIP vibes to chill cocktail spaces to intimate dining.
According to owner George Mintzer, that variety is by design and partly due to the Greystone’s location.
“We tend to get people who come here first and then make downtown their second stop,” Mintzer said. “We’ve already seen that in the short time we’ve been open. People come in, have a nice dinner, have a glass of wine, and they’ll carry on.”
“We’re not going to get the 21-year-old who wants to come in and do shots, and that’s not what we’re about,” he added. “We get a really good mix of young and old professionals. Once Shea’s kicks off and the Sabres season kicks off, we’ll get a lot of people from that. It’s a good spot and it’s convenient.”
At the front of the restaurant, up against the large bay window, is an elevated lounge area with plush banquettes. This prime seating is meant to offer “a little bit of a New York-ish, lounge feel,” Mintzer said.
Still in the front room, across from the bar and near the kitchen door is a large chef’s table that is priority seating for guests having the tasting menu (reservations are recommended). In the back of the restaurant, beyond a few cocktail tables, are two dining areas far removed from the bustle of the bar area.
If you go for the tasting menu, prepared by executive chef Kevin O’Connell Jr., your server will ask you about food allergies and preferences. Then, the chef will create a prix fixe menu based on your responses. Mintzer promised unique experience each time, with the typical tasting menu including a combination of on-menu and off-menu items.
“A dish could be something on the regular menu with kind of a tweak on the preparation of it,” he said. Mintzer added that Chef O’Connell “is a phenomenal chef. I would put him up against any chef that I’ve ever been around.”
If guests decide to go with a more conventional menu, they have two options: the bar menu and the dining room menu. Available late into the night, the bar menu is mostly upscale comfort food: lobster mac & cheese, a gourmet burger, fried calamari and Neapolitan-style pizza.
The dining room menu features small plates like beef tartare ($16), buratta ($12) and mushroom bisque $10; medium “entree-sized” plates like braised short ribs ($26), pan-seared scallops ($27) and bolognese pasta ($25); and large sharable plates for the table such as a 24 oz. beef tenderloin for two ($90) and rack of lamb for two ($90).
If those options are a lot to consider, brace yourself for even more choices at the bar. Mintzer is a certified sommelier, so the wine program is a particular point of emphasis. He said guests should expect great value on wines that you may not have heard of.
“You’re not going to walk in and see KJ (Kendall Jackson) by the glass or CK Mondavi by the glass,” Mintzer said. “You’re going to see Cotes du Rhone, Italian pinot grigios and different French varietals.”
There are also five beers on draft: two by local breweries, Guinness, and Stella Artois. The cocktails on offer are mostly twists on classics, as well as a few specialties. Mintzer said his bartenders won’t be getting too exotic, so don’t expect “burning orange peels and sherpa water.”
“We’ve got a couple great bartenders who are long-time mixologists, and the response to their specialty cocktails has been awesome,” he noted.
You should know that happy hour runs Wednesday to Friday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and it includes half-off bar menu food, as well as $5 drafts, well drinks and select wines. The Greystone also serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
Whatever options you decide on for relaxing, eating or drinking at the Greystone, you should expect top-class service. With a resume that includes stints at Four Seasons Hotel in Palm Beach Florida and the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Manhattan, Mintzer probably knows how to provide good service to his guests.
“It was always all about the service and the steps of service (at the Four Seasons), making sure you have everything nice and correct so you can offer a great experience,” he said.
445 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202
Hours: Wednesday — Saturday dinner @ 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11a.m. to 3 p.m.