Like the version in our nation's capital, The Little White House, located at 5877 Main St. in Williamsville, is a sizeable but not extravagant building; with its large windows and plain white siding, the building looks like the ordinary home of a prominent family.
When I went to dine at The Little White House, I had not yet made the connection with the national power center on Pennsylvania Avenue, so the excess of patriotic memorabilia struck me when I first entered the building. A full-size flag hung on a large mirror directly across from the entrance; another flag stood on a pole at the entrance, and a third, fourth and fifth flag hung in the bar, dining area and over the restrooms. Brass bald eagles greeted me at the door and stood guard over the restrooms and bar area.
The Little White House has two quaint little dining areas framed by mirrored, white walls. The tables, few in number but cozily arranged, are decorated with white cloths and fanning napkins, and topped with old-style authoritative green desk lamps.
The bar area reminded me of a lowly-lit, gentleman's study or lounge with its high, dark wooden bar and matching cushioned stools, along with a mirrored back-bar framed by stone. The dining room, though well lit and elegant in design, felt a bit like a conference room.
My friend and I, though we had no reservations, were quickly and courteously seated by the middle-aged, jocular female hostess and then promptly greeted by our young waitress. I wasn't as hungry as I was thirsty (it had been a long day), so I flipped directly to the drink menu and was surprised to find a full page devoted solely to creatively named martinis. The Bill Clinton ($5.95) is made with Tanqueray and served on the rocks with a smoked martini cocktail wiener, the Reagan ($5.50) is an Absolut vodka martini served with jellybeans and Monica's martini ($4) is simply described as the "cheapest martini available."
At this point, I finally realized that The Little White House had a theme (like I said, it had been a long day). Though I'm not a big martini fan, I felt compelled by the creative names to try one, so I ordered The Reagan and began perusing the dinner menu.
The martini was served in a wonderfully elegant and large martini glass with an artistically bent stem; a bit too stiff of a drink for me, but like I said, I don't like martinis anyway.
The Little White House's menu is divided into two sections: "Oval Office Specialties" and "Dinner Bill of Fare." The "Oval Office Specialties" menu section includes steaks such as a tender 8-oz. cut of filet mignon ($18.50) and "The President's Cut Prime Rib" ($17.85), a 12-oz. cut served only Thursday through Sunday, in addition to other hearty meats including pork chops ($15.50) and charbroiled lamb chops ($21.95).
The "Dinner Bill of Fare" is divided into "West Wing Specialties," "Coastal Entrees," and "Vegetarian Delights." "West Wing Specialties" are chicken and veal plates ranging in price from $14.95 for veal francaise, tender medallions of veal saut?(c)ed in a white wine lemon sauce, down to $13.50 for chicken hazelnut, two chicken breasts crusted with hazelnuts and topped with a honey citrus sauce.
The "Vegetarian Delights" are tomato bowtie and basil ($11.95), vegetarian lasagna ($11.95), and Holly's proclamation, lentils and navy beans saut?(c)ed with fresh vegetables in thyme and basil and served over wild rice ($12.95).
My friend and I chose our meals from the "Coastal Entrees" portion of the "Dinner Bill of Fare." I had the seafood brochette ($14.95), a mixture of seafood and vegetables marinated in a creamy garlic sauce and served over white rice and my friend had the almond-crusted sea bass ($16.95).
Our meals were served to us on plain white, modestly sized plates garnished with a smattering of green herbs. Though the presentation on the almond-crusted sea bass was decidedly less colorful, its tender and full flavor made it champion over my colorful but decidedly less tender and flavorful mix of tomatoes, green peppers, onions, scallops and shrimp.
Even so, my plate was tasty and satisfying enough to finish in full - I didn't even bother to ask about desserts. Instead, I headed for the bar for an after-dinner drink to wash down the lingering martini.
Though The Little White House is not the most impressive restaurant in Buffalo, its unique atmosphere and menu selection is one I might enjoy sharing with more friends in the near future.