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Restaurant Notes: Goodbye, Butterwood restaurants

The Butterwood era is over, for now at least.

Butterwood Sweet & Savory in Hotel @ the Lafayette, which closed before New Year’s Eve, will not reopen. The retail bakery counter it contained is closed as well. Brioso by Butterwood, the South American inflected restaurant in Williamsville’s Wyndham Hotel, closed two weeks ago.

Butterwood owner Claire Bacon did not respond to a request to comment.

The Williamsville hotel restaurant will reopen with a new name and menu concept, said Donald Breitkrus, a former Butterwood manager. Breitkrus now serves as food and beverage manager for the Wyndham Hotel’s owner, Ellicott Development, which will be the new restaurant’s owner.

Breitkrus said service at the Williamsville restaurant, 5195 Main St., should resume with breakfast later this week. “We’re working on getting our liquor license,” said Breitkrus, “and after that we’ll be up and running.” There will be some minor renovations to the space, as well, for “a little bit of a new look.”

An auction for the contents of Butterwood Sweet & Savory and Butterwood Desserts Bakery has been set for April 20 at the Hotel @ the Lafayette premises.

Taste of Culinary: The annual Taste of Culinary fundraiser is April 10 at the Erie Community College City Campus.

Organized by the American Culinary Federation’s local chapter, a portion of proceeds will aid the Child and Chef Foundation’s nutrition education mission.

More than 25 restaurants, wineries and brewers will offer samples at the event, which runs from noon to 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, and available through

Clarence Wagyu: In a development at the luxe end of the local food movement, super-premium Wagyu beef from a steer raised in Clarence will be appearing at a Hamburg fine dining restaurant next month.

The first Clarence Wagyu actually appeared on the menu at Daniels, 174 Buffalo St., Hamburg, in February.

Daniels chef-owner Scott Donhauser said the beef from Clarence is the best he’s ever offered. He has long offered beef from Wagyu-cross cattle in his restaurant, he said, bone-in strip steaks that sell for $52. This was better, and could top $60 for a steak. “The price I pay for the meat is much more,” Donhauser said, “but the quality is so much better, just beyond.”

The Wagyu tartare from Daniels Restaurant will feature locally raised beef. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News file photo)

The Wagyu tartare from Daniels Restaurant will feature locally raised beef. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News file photo)

One dish offered was Wagyu beef tartare, served with tomato-cipollini jam, truffled mustard and sourdough crouton, for $18.

Pamela Armstrong, the Clarence rancher, said that her Wagyu cattle are full-breed Wagyu, from Japan, not cross-bred with Black Angus or other beef breeds to help them gain weight faster. A full-breed Wagyu steer takes up to 28 months to reach its butchering size, she said, about twice as long as breeds more commonly raised in the United States.

“My label says 100 percent Wagyu because I have everything documented and DNA-tested,” she said. It’s a tiny herd of 15 animals, which means she’ll only turn two or three animals a year into steaks. The steer appearing at Daniels in coming weeks will be only the second she’s sent to market.

The downside is that supplies are limited, and sometimes he’ll only offer Wagyu-Angus, Donhauser said. Armstrong’s small herd means the meat must be an occasional guest star on his menu. But what a star it is, he said. “The stuff from Clarence was far and above, the most insane marbling I’ve ever seen,” Donhauser said.

Armstrong, daughter of Clarence farmer Hans Mobius, started raising beef cattle about three years ago because “I was looking for better tasting beef,” she said. The beef is also retailed through, from ground beef to tenderloin, at $9.99 to $69.99 per pound.

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