Soup sleuth, Part II: Butterwood Sweet and Savory - PHOTOS
blog by Thea Tio • November 07, 2013 @ 10:58am
“It screams fall. It’s very seasonal. It’s Thanksgiving in a bowl,” said Butterwood Sweet & Savory executive sous chef Stephanie Viles.
Viles lights up when describing her Soup of the Day creation, a sweet potato and sage sausage bisque (pictured above). The bisque has bacon to add a little saltiness, notes of fennel and topped with cranberries and toasted pumpkin seeds.
“The soup has a sweetness with the cranberries along with the savory of the bacon and the sausage. This bisque embodies the kind of dishes our restaurant is all about, a sweet and savory concept,” said general manager Jonathon Benson.
Owner Claire Bacon opened Butterwood Sweet & Savory [lunch menu, dinner menu] inside the Hotel at the Lafayette, 391 Washington St., Buffalo, in September 2012, and the restaurant features an eclectic modern-fusion cuisine.
A perfect example of this culinary style is their Eat the Bowl soup, offered daily at lunch and dinner for $7.
Eat the Bowl is a French onion soup built in a whole onion and topped with Gruyere and smoked provolone cheeses.
“It’s our play on French onion. We incorporate spices that aren’t typically found in this kind of soup. The key with the bowl is after we scoop it out, we lacquer it in BBQ sauce and then we bake them off,” said Viles.
“It’s a unique experience eating the soup. Customers come down here multiple times a week just for that soup,” Benson added. “It’s a meal in itself.”
Another soup staple on the Butterwood menu is the $8 soup flight, which includes a trio of the popular lobster bisque, Asian egg drop and the Soup of the Day.
At first taste, the lobster bisque is delightfully creamy with a light buttery taste.
Frankly, I loved it so much it was hard for me to eat it quickly enough with the cute little spoon that accompanies the soup flight (see right).
The bisque has morsels of langoustino in it, which I learned is a hybrid of European lobster and shrimp.
The egg drop soup is fairly traditional, made with chicken stock, ginger, eggs and scallion. The third soup in the trio was the aforementioned sweet potato and sage sausage bisque, the Soup of the Day.
Viles is charged with creating Butterwood’s Soup of the Day recipes. She has worked at the Buffalo Chophouse, Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse and Russell’s Steaks, Chops & More before finding her way to Butterwood Sweet & Savory.
While Butterwood employs set recipes for their French onion and lobster bisque, Viles likes to experiment with her fellow chefs in the kitchen.
“One time we started with just a raspberry glaze and turned it into a southwestern pork and vegetable soup. You know basics in the creative process. If it’s too bitter, you want to add salt to it, if it’s too sweet you want to add something spicy. Once you know basic flavor profiles then you can adjust anything,” said Viles.
“We try to utilize every aspect of the fruits, vegetables and meats that we can,” she added.
Other Butterwood soup creations: a sweet and spicy Thai vegetable with coconut curry broth, an Asian surf & turf soup (soy based broth with shrimp, scallops, langoustinos and beef), a chipotle chili (with cilantro crème fraiche, smoked cheddar and a hint of cinnamon) and a cold fruit gazpacho (apple juice base with chopped pears, apples, cranberries, cucumber and mint).
“We always make sure at least three people in the kitchen try a new soup recipe and approve it to make sure that it’s not just liked by one person. If not, we’ve found a way to turn it around. We’ve had some interesting soups that we’ve had to adjust,” said Viles, pictured above, left, with a laugh.
All of Butterwood’s soups can be found online and ordered to go, a distinct advantage if you’re craving the restaurant’s Eat the Bowl.
“Our director of operations Donald Breitkrus is very active on social media, constantly updating different specials and events on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re not using social media, you’re not in the game,” said Benson.
For Part I of Tio’s Soup Sleuth series, read about and view her experience at Globe Market here.