Salvatore's has been my mother's favorite restaurant for decades. My sister's wedding reception was there in the 1980s. Recently new ownership took over (the son took over from the father). Two years ago the restaurant still had good service and food. However, beginning last year both have gone done dramatically. I went with my family in October and we had the same abrasive waitress that we had last year; it's not that she is overtly hostile, it is simply her personality to be brusque and unfriendly. There were no Italian or vegetarian options. Salvatore's has become primarily a meat warehouse in order to rack up the highest bills possible. A lobster tail was on the menu with a price tag of $90. This is Buffalo, people, not the Upper East Side of Manhattan. When I asked if I could have spaghetti or some other pasta dish with no meat, the waitress informed me that they could make anything, but it would have to be part of the 3 for $33 menu. A plate of spaghetti accompanied by iceberg lettuce with a few croutons and a dessert of cake popsicles (which you can get at Starbucks for $1.30 a piece) for $33? No thanks. Everyone else in the party ordered and when I said I did not want anything at each course, the waitress was visibly dismissive. My mother got the pork chop: a 5-inch thick tiny slab that had no flavoring. It was accompanied by potato gratin with pungent cheese that made it inedible and 5 tiny carrots. The other dishes were equally disappointing.
When the father ran the restaurant, the service was outstanding--everything from the way customers were greeted, the way coffee was poured, the impeccably swift manner that the tables were cleared and cleaned, was impressive. Russell walked around each night personally greeting the customers. Our salad plates remained on our table throughout almost the entire meal; the only person who did a good job was the young man who filled our water glasses. At one point the manager (not the owner) and, without making eye contact with anyone, stopped by and asked, "How is your meal?", but before we could even answer, he walked away, nodding his head.
At the end of the meal, my mother declared: "Salvatore's is no longer my favorite restaurant." This means that we will stop buying gift certificates for my parents for birthdays and holidays.
Finally. There are many other wonderful restaurants for half the price and quadruple the quality.
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