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The whole herd: Bigger is better at E.B. Green's

Dignified, handsome, impressive. E.B. Green's calls itself Buffalo's premier steakhouse. And we are talking major steak.

They serve all the other steakhouse appurtenances, too -- the superb martinis in huge, beautiful glasses, the enormous steak fried potatoes, the three-pound lobsters.

In case you haven't figured it out by now, this is a classic case of big, bigger, biggest. When it comes to restaurants, E.B. Green's is the King of Excess.

You get this message as soon as you are seated. Your server wheels over to your table a tray full of Saran-wrapped meat. "This," she says, staggering slightly as she lifts it, "is our Double Filet (14 ounces, $33). This is our Veal Chop (18 ounces, $26). This is our Double Porterhouse (48 ounces and the only main dish meant for two people, $49)."

When I reviewed this restaurant on its opening five full years ago, I noted that it featured "beef as a religious experience."

I see no reason to change my mind.

So while consuming our drinks (served with a delicious but incongruously sweet house-made Monkey Bread), we discussed how much of this bloody protein we really could handle. At E.B. Green's you dassn't share entrees, so it pays to think ahead.

But what the heck, we went a little crazy and ordered. A lot.

The meat, when it came, was mighty impressive. The Companion's New York Strip (20 ounces, $27) had been thoughtfully cut into bite-size pieces because our kindly waitress offered to do so without any prompting. (She noticed he was wearing a cast on one arm.)

"I know it won't look as good," she admits, "but it certainly will taste good." She was right. The steak, ordered rare, was served rare, and was just tender enough, juicy and tasty. The very epitome of steakdom, in fact.

Also on the very full plate: a baked sweet potato served with a fine butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, dipping sauce and, at a conservative estimate, 500 pieces of crispy fried onions. Especially in the depths of a ghastly winter, this is very welcome food.

My Veal Chop was equally wonderful, though I could not finish it. Also, I thought the steak fried potatoes were cut into pieces that were much too large.

If you stop to think about it, though, there's no wonder that neither of us could polish our plates -- before the main course, we had shared an appetizer of delicately cooked scallops, wrapped in thick slices of bacon ($8). And then there were the salads as well.

The Caesar was eminently respectable, but the House Salad was even better because it was topped with a big slab of baked Parmesan cheese that was superb.

The only trouble with this meal came at dessert time. We had ordered a Chocolate Souffle ($6) in advance because hot souffles require advance planning.

And we waited and we waited when our main course was through. At least 20 minutes went by before the thing arrived at the table -- and it did look very attractive. All puffy and tall.

But when we dug in, there was no rich chocolate flavor to speak of. The fact that the dessert was so light-colored should have been a tipoff. In fact, there was no flavor at all. (Unless you count the taste of warm egg whites, that is. Hardly deserving of top place on anyone's list.)

The accompanying yellow-colored sauce was no help because it didn't taste of anything, either. Was it supposed to be Creme Anglaise? I wondered. It didn't taste like custard. Or was it was supposed to be Vanilla Sauce? Then why didn't it taste of vanilla?

Too bad to end a fine meal on such a low note. We looked through the glass kitchen and there were a lot of people on the line back there. Certainly the steak chef was on duty.

But maybe the the dessert chef was off that night.


E.B. Green's - 4 stars (out of five)

2 Fountain Plaza, in the Hyatt Regency (856-1539). They call themselves "Buffalo's Premier Steakhouse" and they sure do serve a lot of the beefy stuff. In luxurious surroundings, too, it should be noted. Credit cards: American Express, Visa, MasterCard.

BEST DISH: The New York Strip, of course. Did you doubt?

NEEDS WORK: Chocolate Souffle.

PRICE RANGE: Dinner main dishes from $18 include salad and potato. (Most main dishes above $25.) No sharing allowed.

SERVICE: Very good.

HOURS: Dinner only, Mon. through Sun. 5 to 11 p.m.

HEALTH-CONSCIOUS CHOICES: Stop laughing. And try the French Cut Chicken or Fish of the Day.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes, on the top tier. Go through hotel lobby.

PARKING: Valet parking, on the street or in the ramp across the street.

KID APPEAL: Only if you love them very much.