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Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino's WD Bar and Grille shows flair

Most modern casinos are intentionally showy: massive video screens, eye-catching slot machines, vibrant colors, flashing lights and oft-over-the-top decor temporarily transport customers to a palace of luxury.

The same premise carries over to the eating establishments within these casinos - they're meant to be impressive in their fare and decor. WD Bar and Grille, the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino's foray into upscale dining, is now open, serving customers daily, beginning at 5 p.m. on the casino's second floor.

Seneca Buffalo Creek general manager Joanne Israel and new WD chef Montez Crane met with the media Thursday, describing the highlights of the restaurant and giving a tour of the premises.

*LAYOUT: While the two adjoined dining rooms are fairly standard - the room to the west is bathed in natural light, while the eastern room is more dimly lit - at narrow patio on the restaurant's perimeter seats 25-40, with standing room for close to 100.

While it's not exactly a waterfront view, the General Mills plant, the Cobblestone District and glimpses of the skyline aren't too shabby.

The restaurant tables inside WD Bar and Grille. Twenty-five to 40 people will be able to eat on the patio, too, with standing room for roughly 100. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)


*IDENTITY: WD Bar and Grille downtown intentionally separates itself from its sister restaurant, The Western Door, in the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, with a handful of menu options.

Rotating flavors of deviled eggs, a Mediterranean Board, two different flatbreads, the 12-ounce hanger steak and the ahi poke are exclusive to the Buffalo casino; read Andrew Galarneau's recent dining review of the Niagara Falls' Western Door here, especially useful because many of the menu offerings overlap.

Menu at WD Bar and Grille in the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. Please click for a larger image. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)


*STEAKS: Steaks are the most expensive items on the menu, and Chef Crane clearly cares about tracking down choice cuts across the world. For instance, the grass-fed 10-ounce ribeye ($55) comes from Black River Farms in Vermont, while the 12-ounce wagyu 12-ounce NY strip ($65) arrives from Greg Norman Cattle Ranch in Australia.

While there's some debate over dry-aging vs. wet-aging meat, WD chooses the latter, and that quicker process still results in a tender, juicy product. Crane is an advocate of the hanger steak, exclusive to WD, which used to be called the Butcher's Cut because it was rarely found in stores - butchers tended to hog these for themselves.


*FLARE FLAIR: The restaurant's biggest piece of showmanship comes in the form of a dessert - the tableside s'more, which is a thin layer of chocolate melted with a blowtorch over homemade marshmallow and a from-scratch graham cracker cookie.

The parfait, a spin on Grandma's pudding, starts with peanut butter cake and blends with old-fashioned pudding and caramelized bananas. It has sold out every day WD has been in business. WD makes its own gelato, too.

The tableside s'more is made with housemade graham cake, housemade marshmallow and a chocolate ganache which is toasted at the tableside and finished with white chocolate anglaise. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)


*EXTRAVAGANT BURGERS: The media tasted slider-sized versions of the WD Burger, which is available with one ($19) or two ($26) 8-ounce patties and is served with Corfu-based Yancey's Fancy sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion rings, with your choice of an assortment of condiments (red chili aioli was a good choice).

Chef Crane raves about the meat mixture in the burger, a combination of ground chuck, sirloin and brisket. Although it was cooked a cautious medium to medium-well for the media, the thick patty was a little more hearty and rich than your average burger. The buttered brioche was a terrific complement.


*EGGS: While WD didn't trot out any steaks for the media to sample (probably smart), the classic deviled egg and an arugula, poppyseed and bacon version ($8) represented one of the casino's specialties. The arugula-poppyseed-bacon eggs were decidedly better, lending a richer flavor (and serving as something that's not as easy to make in your kitchen).

WD's classic deviled egg, right, with the arugula, poppyseed and bacon deviled egg to the left. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)


*INTRIGUING SALAD: "House salad" is often easy to equate with "boring." But WD's version weaves together baby bibb lettuce, red and gold beets, radish, Mariposa Dairy goat cheese (from Ontario), sun-dried strawberries and white balsamic vinaigrette, exciting ingredients for a usually drab starter. Although it was served to the media in a rather unwieldy cone, the flavors were sprightly.

Bibb lettuce, radish, gold and red beets, Mariposa Farms goat cheese and more are involved in the WD Bar and Grille house salad. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)


*SPECIALS: Chef Crane teased some specials coming in the future, including lamb sous vide, in-house smoked sausage and WD's own charcuterie. The restaurant hopes to start a rooftop garden to grow herbs.


Why not have another look at the tableside s'more, via News photographer Sharon Cantillon?

Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino's WD Bar and Grille presents a tableside s'more. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

INFO: WD Bar and Grille inside Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, 1 Fulton St. Hours: 5 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.


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