There was something familiar about “Billy Baroo,” the name of the bar and restaurant inside the Wehrle Golf Dome in Clarence. Something about the sound of the words being murmured, “Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy ...”
And then it came to us – of course! The prized Billy Baroo putter, pulled out of a purple cover, comes through for Judge Elihu Smails (Ted Knight) in his match against Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) in the comedy “Caddyshack.” The line, “Spaulding, this calls for the old Billy Baroo” is a classic in many homes.
The local Billy Baroo’s, which opened about a year ago, could become a classic gathering spot, too. On the weekend afternoon when John, Pat, John and I stopped in, a few couples and trios clustered at the bar and about eight golfing buddies shared cold drinks and perused menus at a table.
Billy Baroo’s contains a long, two-sided bar lined with tall chairs, and a room containing about a dozen tables. The room is kept just a bit dim, the better to see the spectacular color on the big-screen televisions showing – what else? – a golf tournament. The sound was down, though, so we were able to enjoy our conversation.
There’s nothing about the menu that says, “You are eating inside a golf dome.” In fact, it’s just like any moderately priced restaurant, with a special of two dinners and a bottle of wine on Saturday nights for $29.95, and a variety of dinner entrees, most several dollars over Cheap Eats limits, listed on a large white board.
The printed menu was nicely varied, with a wide selection of choices hovering around the $10 mark, along with some that were several bucks less and a couple that were a few dollars more.
The menu starts with two soups daily – French onion ($4.50 a crock) and seafood bisque (cup for $3.95, bowl for $5.95) – along with other soups of the day, which were chicken tortellini and chili. Appetizers range from chips and salsa ($3.95) to wings (single, $8.95; double, $16.95; triple, $24.95), with a variety of wing sauces (including barbecue, hot, honey, honey hot or Cajun barbecue) and three with a honey taste (spicy, mustard or garlic). There are four hearty salads, including Caesar, Pittsburgh or chicken finger, with most priced right around $10.
There are 15 hot and cold sandwiches and wraps, as well as burgers. The roasted portabella sandwich, with roasted red pepper and melted mozzarella, is the cheapest at $7.95, and the French dip is the most expensive at $10.95. The sandwiches and wraps are made with turkey, chicken, corned beef, barbecued beef, chicken fingers or roast beef, of which the kitchen is very proud. In fact, the sign inside Billy Baroo’s says “House of Beef.” The roast beef is described as slow-roasted black Angus beef, hand-carved to order.
Every sandwich we were served was very good, and two were spectacular.
The Rachel ($9.95), modeled after the classic Reuben, but with turkey breast and coleslaw substituted for the corned beef and sauerkraut, was perfectly made. The turkey was fresh, the coleslaw added a bit of crunch, and the melted Swiss unified the layers and helped the flavors blend. Like the other menu sandwiches, it was served with crisply fresh-cut potato chips; fries could be added for $1 and waffle fries or sweet potato fries for $2.
The hot ham and cheese sandwich ($8.95) was deliciously melted and perfectly grilled, as ordered, on rye. The menu explains that “pit ham,” used in this sandwich, is an old-fashioned ham that delivers the flavor of bone-in ham without the bone. The ham was very good but perhaps not as spectacular as I was expecting, given the billing, although I’d certainly order it again.
A side order of slender sweet potato fries was delicious, although not as hot as they should have been. They came already drizzled with honey, so those who want to moderate their honey application should ask for it on the side. For us, they were perfect.
Now, on to the spectacular sandwiches. The club sandwich ($9.95), which can be made with turkey, ham or roast beef, was served, as requested, with half turkey and half ham, a good arrangement. It was gorgeous on the plate, cut in quarters and laid sideways, with layers of bright, crisp lettuce alternating with lovely toasted bread, tasty bacon, tomato, cheese and meat. It was also delicious and satisfying. The waffle fries we got on the side were total overkill, but several of us tried them. Crisp on the outside and puffy and steamy inside, they drew the reaction, “Yum!”
Finally, how is the beef in this House of Beef? The French dip ($10.95) served on a roll with a generous bowl of au jus for dipping, was not as flashy as the club sandwich, but it was exceptional in its simple way. The generous layer of sliced beef stood out. It was not only full of flavor but of perfect velvety texture, exceptionally tender and utterly lacking any fat or chewy bits.
The judge would be proud.
Where: 8230 Wehrle Drive (inside the Wehrle Golf Dome), Clarence (932-7610)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Wheelchair access: Yes
Parking: In the lot