by Karen Huefner

Russell'sRuss Salvatore truly turned up the heat on his latest restaurant endeavor. Russell’s Steaks, Chops & More opened back in the Spring and after a few months of passing it by on Transit Road, I finally made a reservation. My family and I deemed that last Saturday was going to be a night to indulge ourselves. We started out with cocktails at the bar. Considering it was August 1st and the start of a new month, I deviated from my typical drink-ordering path and asked for a mojito (phew, they had fresh mint). After warming up the evening with a pre-dinner cocktail, Russ personally walked us to our table. I have a feeling Russ is there every night to make sure everything is running smoothly. To Buffalonians, Russ is somewhat of a local celebrity.

As soon as the menus opened, I felt like we bombarded our waitress with orders of everything. We were firing off orders of stuffed banana peppers, seared ahi tuna, crab cakes and the tomato bruschetta bread. Each of these appetizers left us wanting more…I’m talking plates licked clean and looking for the next round. The bruschetta bread was incredible. It’s cut into bite-sized pieces I think for a reason but I helped myself to about 5 or 6.

For dinner our table was a sea of goat cheese crusted filet mignon, Chilean sea bass served over lobster ravioli, 2 lb. lobster tail, king crab legs, and osso bucco. The menu is a la carte and the sides serve 1-2 people. As I’m contemplating a side of the lobster mac ‘n cheese or the jumbo sweet potato, I leaned towards the starch with the famous last words of “How big can a jumbo sweet potato be?”. When Russ means jumbo, jumbo it is. This veggie was the size of a small football so beware!

Every thing that came out of that kitchen was to die for. We didn’t have one complaint from the food to the service to the ambiance. First class all around.

Russ Salvatore outdid himself again. Our family splurged a bit on this meal but there’s a dinner for two option ($35 per person) that may fit more into your budget. Or take advantage of the ultimate deal that includes an overnight in his new Salvatore’s Grand Hotel and dinner for two.

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