All of our visits to the newly renovated Hotel Lafeyette have been to Mike A’s but that’s not the only restaurant housed inside the historic building. Pan American Grill opened a couple months ago and while they don’t have the full brewery set up at the moment, they’ve been serving food and the bar is open. Just like Mike A’s, the dining room is absolutely gorgeous and has restored many of the original 1900-era fixtures and decor.
We visited the restaurant on a Tuesday evening and found a full bar with working professionals having some happy hour drinks and enjoying some type of buffet. There were other groups on the second floor but the main dining room was basically empty. The owners of Pan American Grill are also the owners of Pearl Street Grill & Brewing, the very popular pre-Sabres game drinking/dining spot. The menu is very similar with the standard Buffalo pub food menu (burgers, wings, sandwiches), along with some flat-breads, several entrees and even some of their signature beers. We aren’t the biggest fan of Pearl Street’s food (in our opinion its really gone down hill the past few years, not that it was ever that great before), so we were a little skeptical of how our meal would turn out.
- Restaurant Type: Bar, Casual
- Cuisine: Pub Food
- Location: Downtown
- Prices: Flatbreads/Appetizers/Sandwiches Under $10, Entrees $15-20
Since we were the only people dining in the main room at the time, our food came out pretty quickly and the service was great. Our dinner party started with a couple appetizers including the Wedge Salad ($6, gallery) and an order of French Onion Soup ($5, below). The salad was pretty standard but they definitely skimped on the dressing. The bowl of soup was served insanely hot (it was literally still hot even when the entire meal was done) but everyone enjoyed the flavor of the broth (made with Pearl St’s Roosevelt Red Ale). It’s obviously no where near as creative as what’s going on next door, but still a very solid bowl of French Onion Soup and that’s a good thing.
For the main courses our table ordered a couple flat-breads and sandwiches. Both Alli and my Dad ordered the Buffalo Chicken Flat-bread ($5.50, below) and were not impressed. The actual crust had an interesting texture that was a little too chewy and didn’t have enough crunch. Most notably, my Dad absolutely hates onions and the flat-bread had plenty of them cooked into the toppings. This could have easily been avoided if onion was listed as an ingredient of the flat-bread on the menu, but it wasn’t. Additionally, the flat-breads appeared to have sat around for too long and may have tasted better if they were warmer/fresher. Not a good dish.
I decided not to order a flat-bread and instead ordered the Baked Brisket Sandwich ($10, gallery) which turned out to be a good decision since it was definitely the best dish of the night. The sandwich was on toasted thick bread with large piles of BBQ brisket and some coleslaw. The Red Stang BBQ sauce had a great sweet tang and the brisket was tender enough to fall apart with a fork and had a great flavor on its own. The Cheeseburger that Alli’s Dad ordered didn’t look too appetizing. The burger was ordered medium and appeared closer to well done and the cheese on top looked, well, just gross.
We finished the meal with a slice of Peanut Butter Pie that’s actually from future Hotel Lafayette tenant Butterwoods. The large slice of pie was quickly devoured by Alli and her parents. We’re looking forward to once again living within 5 minutes from a Butterwoods location. As I’ve said many times, the building itself is gorgeous and if I worked Downtown, Pan American Grill might be a pretty nice Happy Hour location to grab a beer with my coworkers. But beer is the only thing I will probably ever order here in the future. The food was mostly unimpressive and nothing else on the menu stood out to me as anything worth trying.