It's only "little" if you compare it with the real White House. The Little White House restaurant is very generously sized with a separate barroom and many banquet rooms available. It's been under the same ownership since 1987.
The menu, too, is extensive. At dinner, the printed list offers a choice of beef, veal, chicken, fish, seafood and vegetarian entrees and, in addition, there's a separate, clearly printed list of specials that changes daily. (I do like a restaurant that prints up its specials because it makes decisions so much easier.)
To the tunes of some enjoyable piano music, we selected two of the house specialties for main courses. The Double Cut Lamb Chops ($20.50) were billed as "the best in Buffalo or anywhere else" and that turned out to be not much of an exaggeration. Both chops were huge; both were accurately cooked; both had good meaty flavor. A fine conservative choice.
The Salmon Filet ($15.25) was available grilled, broiled or poached, and I took the last option. The fish was very moist with good flavor making the Cucumber Dill Sauce, served on the side, very optional. Based on sour cream,the sauce was served cold.
Both entrees were accompanied by fresh vegetables - oven roasted baby red potatoes and baked acorn squash.
With the dinner entrees comes a choice of soup or salad, and the soup of the day was a Five Onion Bisque. Creamy and gently flavored, it was soothing if not exciting. Could have been hotter, too, come to think of it, and so could the rolls, though they tasted fresh enough.
The house salad was a journeyman salad capably prepared, too.
Desserts are made in-house and be warned - they are rich desserts. Most notable among them was the coconut-covered Snowball with an intense citrus filling. A White Satin Torte with chocolate was pretty good, too.
And what else could we have chosen? Probably the most original part of the menu is the section devoted to pasta and vegetarian entrees. Among them: Pasta a la Dennis - sauteed portabellos and sun-dried tomatoes over spinach fettucine ($12.75), and Marcia's Medley, which consists of blackeyed peas, asparagus and red peppers served with lemon dill vinaigrette over wild rice ($10.75).
And then there are the more usual suspects like Veal Francaise ($14.75), Prime Rib served Thursday through Sunday, and Seafood Stuffed Flounder (with white sauce, $13.75). Dinner specials of the evening included a Pepperwick Sirloin - two 6-ounce medallions dipped in pepper and caraway seeds and sauteed in butter ($15.95), Veal Florentine ($16.95) and a summer pasta with broccoli, cauliflower and summer squash over bowtie pasta ($13.95).
There's a pretty extensive wine list with most of the wines available by the glass.
Villa Fortunata *** (Sept. 15)
490 Center St., Lewiston (754-4904). This old house in the middle of the village has known many restaurants in its day. The latest incarnation features an upscale Italian menu.
Chardonnays ***(Sept. 8)
427 E. Main St., Batavia (344-3000). Sprawling mansion attractively fitted up for comfortable eating. The menu features old time American favorites.
Asa Ransom House *** 1/2 (Sept. 1) , 10529 Main St., Clarence (759-2315). Flowers, gazebos, herb gardens - it all adds up to old-fashioned charm. The food, too, is typical Americana. Your choice of formal or informal dining rooms.
Tim's Rendezvous *** 1/2 (Aug. 25)
520 Niagara St. (849-1349). An offbeat bar/restaurant that concentrates on Cajun food done with great flair.
Bevan's **(Aug. 18)
3298 Genesee St., Cheektowaga (895-2939). This informal dining place offers a big broad menu and a soup and salad bar. Everything from full course meals to sandwiches served here.
Ulrich's Tavern ***(Aug. 11)
674 Ellicott St. (855-8409). The place is over 100 years old and has managed to preserve its charm. The specialty is German-American food, although sandwiches and salads are also available.
Sue's N.Y. Deli and the Juicery ***(Aug. 4)
622 Main St. (Theatre Place) (855-1216). A very casual restaurant that offers freshly prepared food, served up by friendly folk. Big selection of vegetarian items.
Orazio's ** 1/2 * (July 28)
9415 Main St., Clarence (759-8888). Newly opened restaurant that offers a little of everything - veal, chicken, seafood, Italian.
Steel Drums *** * (July 21)
572 Hertel Ave. (876-5009). "Authentic West Indies Eats" is what this restaurant purports to offer, and that's exactly what the customer gets. It's also small and comfortable with a bright Jamaican mural on one wall.
Marie's Seafood Dining Room ***(July 14)
1 Lock St., St. Catharines, Ontario (905-934-1677). Lobster headquarters on the Niagara Frontier for years. Now all spiffed up and shiny.
The Dog Bar ***(July 7)
Route 240, West Falls (652-5550). Located in an old stagecoach transfer station by the side of the busy road and charming. No new culinary frontiers crossed here but there's a big menu of popular favorites.
Mississippi Mudd's ** 1/2 (June 30)
313 Niagara St., Tonawanda (694-0787). Summertime eating taken to the max. Extensive menu, view of the river, kiddie's playground, upper deck and oh yes - hot dogs and burgers, too.
Mother's ***(June 23)
33 Virginia Place (882-2989). Tiny, sophisticated, with nice city backyard space, too. The menu is extensive and the food combinations are interesting.
Orsini's Ristorante **(June 16)
* indicates that restaurant is so new that this is a provisional rating.
LITTLE WHITE HOUSE
WHERE: 5877 Main St., Williamsville (633-7755). Large and comfortable restaurant with a large menu of popular favorites. Live music accompanies your dinner Wednesday to Sunday. Credit cards: American Express, Visa, MasterCard
FAVORITE DISH: Double Cut Lamb Chops
NEEDS WORK: Food is of good quality
PRICE RANGE: Dinners entrees from $12.25 up include salad or soup, potato and vegetable
SERVICE: Very good
HOURS: Lunch, Monday through Friday. Dinner, seven days to 9 p.m.
HEALTHY CHOICES: Poached Salmon Filet, Marcia's Medley (vegetables served over wild rice), Many others
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes
PARKING: In the lot
KID APPEAL: Older children will enjoy