The Grill at Strathallan has more than just exquisite cuisine and an extensive wine list, it has what every truly top-notch restaurant should have – a history.

Rick Tramamoto and Gale Gand, founders of the restaurant, met while working for The Grill. For those non-foodies, Rick Tramamoto is a former recipient of the James Beard Award, which is given to the best regional restaurant. The restaurant has since relocated from its Water Street location, but all that it has lost is an enchanting entrance.

The Grill is located within the Strathallan Hotel, which means easy parking and a rather large dining room. The dcor is traditional – wine cabinets span the room and rose buds float in bowls of water in the center of the table.

For the women, there are convenient purse stands to provide your purse a comfortable place to rest during your dining experience.

The Grill has the only four-diamond AAA rating in Western New York and probably the best wine list as well. For the college student, who can’t afford the $5,000 bottle of Burgundy, there are also very reasonable wines by the glass and half-bottles. My personal favorite is the Estancia Meritage, a nice, leathery red wine that accents many of the meat dishes on the menu.

The executive chef, Jason Soule, is playful in his treatment of traditional dishes. The ostrich appetizer was succulent, tender and well accented with pasta in a tomato cream sauce. Plus you get the added bonus of being able to say you had ostrich for dinner – that definitely will get a more surprising reaction then the usual Saturday night garbage plate. The presentation of the entire meal was artistic without being pretentious. The Chilean sea bass was served over a pancetta risotto with tarragon pesto drizzled over it. The smokiness of the pancetta added depth to the flaky and buttery fish. The pesto pulled the meal together by both flavoring the risotto and adding character to the sea bass.

My favorite entre, and one of the few items on the menu that does not change with the season, is the scallops. Large diver scallops are wrapped in leeks, which add a pleasant touch to the pan-seared scallops. The veal braise develops the dish, giving it a heartier character than one would normally expect from a fish entre. The purple Peruvian mashed potatoes and the scallops are a colorful addition to the dish.

For those chocolate lovers out there – you know who you are – the chocolate cake is truly heavenly. Chocolate also serves as an aphrodesiac, which will bring a whole new meaning to the word “dessert” later that night. The house-made vanilla bean ice cream cuts the richness of the molten chocolate center and perfectly offsets the depth of the chocolate. It is extremely decadent but not exceedingly rich.

The service at The Grill is also exceptional. Exercising traditional French-style service, with a front and back waiter, the servers are courteous and knowledgeable. They can predict most requests, and they perform them without you even so much as noticing them.

For a special date or when the parents come to town, this is an excellent restaurant to attend. Reservations are highly recommended, so be sure to call ahead and remember that dress is business-appropriate.

The Grill can be reached at (585) 461-5010.

Kaplan-Shain can be reached at

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