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Eckl's Beef on Weck Restaurant

4936 Ellicot Rd., Orchard Park, NY - (716) 662-2262
Posted By Michael Stern on 9/22/2011 3:05:00 AM
Located in an 1816-vintage building that used to be a brewery tavern and opened as a restaurant in 1934, Eckl's is a Buffalo beacon for beef on weck. Years ago proprietor Dale Eckl reminded us that a proper roll is as significant as good beef in making the city's cherished sandwich right, a point made clear by the one served here: on a bun that is fragile and fine-crumbed but sturdy enough to hold up almost to the end even when sopped with juice, just-right salty with a good caraway zing. The beef piled into this roll is carved (when ordered, not before) to be extra thin. "You have to shave that roast," Eckl told us. "It has so much good flavor, but it is going to be tough if it's cut too thick." The custom at Eckl's is for the carver to pile up enough slices for a sandwich – an inch thick, at least, then dunk the whole mound into a pan of natural gravy, placing the soaked beef upon the bottom of the kummelweck roll. Degree of doneness, from dusky outside flaps to scarlet rare from the roast's interior, is diner's choice.

If beef and weck rolls were all Eckl's had, we would recommend it with gusto. But there is so much more: moist German potato salad that is bacony and sweet; French onion soup loaded with translucent petals and blanketed with cheese atop a layer of soaked caraway-rye; fine steaks and prime rib and Friday fish fry; and masterfully-made highballs (the whiskey sour is peerless). All this is served with skill and ingenuous charm by a staff of waitresses who really are helpful. (When asked if the mashed potatoes are real, Katie says, "No, they're not, and I'm not afraid to admit it. But our American and German potato salad are definitely homemade.")

There is a friendly bar up front and a couple of quieter dining rooms. We like the bar and room just behind it because they provide a view of the cutting board. It is a joy to watch an expert apply his sharp knife to the roast, carving sheaves of beautiful beef.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Beef on Weck
French Onion Soup
Roast Beef Dinner
Chicken Noodle Soup
German Potato Salad
Relish Tray
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The beef is carved so thin and piled so tight that it looks like a single slice. It is in fact countless slices, moist enough to cause the bottom of the delicate weck roll to start falling apart by the time you get close to the end of the sandwich. Of course, hot horseradish is supplied on the side.
"The beef is carved so thin and piled so tight that it looks like a single slice. It is in fact countless slices, moist enough to cause the bottom of the delicate weck roll to start falling apart by the time you get close to the end of the sandwich. Of course, hot horseradish is supplied on the side."
Michael Stern





What a crock! French onion soup comes gooped with cheese and layered with a slice of caraway-rye. It is loaded with soft, sweet onions.
"What a crock! French onion soup comes gooped with cheese and layered with a slice of caraway-rye. It is loaded with soft, sweet onions."
Michael Stern


In Orchard Park far from the bustle of Buffalo, This gracious white house is an essential destination for all those in search of fine beef on weck.
"In Orchard Park far from the bustle of Buffalo, This gracious white house is an essential destination for all those in search of fine beef on weck."
Michael Stern


Four soups were available the Wednesday evening we dined at Eckl's: French onion, lobster bisque, New England clam chowder, and this hearty, healthful chicken-noodle.
"Four soups were available the Wednesday evening we dined at Eckl's: French onion, lobster bisque, New England clam chowder, and this hearty, healthful chicken-noodle."
Michael Stern


We want the recipe for this German potato salad. It is extremely bacon-flavored, vinegar-sugar sweet, and impossible to resist.
"We want the recipe for this German potato salad. It is extremely bacon-flavored, vinegar-sugar sweet, and impossible to resist. "
Michael Stern


If you walk into Eckl's during daylight hours, the interior will seem blindingly dark. It's the right atmo for a beef-house tavern.
"If you walk into Eckl's during daylight hours, the interior will seem blindingly dark. It's the right atmo for a beef-house tavern."
Michael Stern


A nice, old-fashioned relish tray begins every meal.
"A nice, old-fashioned relish tray begins every meal."
Michael Stern


The same roast beef (here, ordered rare) as served in the sandwich is available on a plate, with all side dishes served on the side. It comes swimming in natural gravy.
"The same roast beef (here, ordered rare) as served in the sandwich is available on a plate, with all side dishes served on the side. It comes swimming in natural gravy."
Michael Stern


The restaurant was established in 1934, but the building dates back to the early 19th century, when it was a brewery-tavern. It still has a distinct tavern ambience, supplemented by the aroma of roast beef.
"The restaurant was established in 1934, but the building dates back to the early 19th century, when it was a brewery-tavern. It still has a distinct tavern ambience, supplemented by the aroma of roast beef."
Michael Stern



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