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Saratoga Springs, NY


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I was at Jazz Fest last week and Mrs JPW, Peanut and I had dinner at the new location in the Saratoga Hotel on the very edge of downtown. The space is beautiful. The lower level dining room has about 20 or so tables and looks out ovre a nice courtyard where they have installed several of Joseph's sculptures. About 5 steps up is a huge bar area with another dozen or so tables and a very attractive bar.

We started with the pate a choux which was very good, but could have withstood a touch more seasoning IMO. I had the duck breast which was also very good, but the star was Mrs JPW's brined pork loin. This is a superb dish. For dessert Mrs JPW and Peanut polished of the "nearly flourless chocolate cake" and I had a well thought out cheese course.

Cheryl picked out a nice Corbieres for us at $48. Wine prices are more than reasonable. I spotted several bottles at less than twice retail.

The only problem was the Keystone Kops-like service. But seeing as how the place opened literally the week before and that all of the servers were extremely earnest, attentive, and well-meaning, this was easy to overlook in the context of a highly enjoyable meal.

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Ravenous is a sweet and casual little family run creperie just off the main drag on Phila Street. Their frites were fantastic with aioli.

Unfortunately, I can't recommend Mouzon House, which bills itself as French-Creole using locally procured meats and produce. The house salad was very fresh - butter lettuce, a couple of cherry tomatoes some cucumber slices (the "select summer vegetables"), and a mild crumbly blue cheese (Old Chatham's Ewe's Blue - best part of the entire meal). The charcuterie plate ($14) did not have any if the items listed on the menu - house made sausage, pates, smoked trout, etc. Instead, it consisted of three slices of an uninteresting smoked gouda, some fresh mozz with no salt, pepper, oil or herbs to enhance it, a couple of slices of speck and a couple of slices of prosciutto (really ham) - some gherkins and one small radish. I had to ask for some bread, which came later as a small plate with slices of limp french bread with cold butter. The mains did not fare well - the duck ragout's penne pasta was terribly undercooked, and the seafood stew I was told was overcooked and rubbery....and at $34 woefully overpriced.

It's Confidential is the name of a new casual bar and restaurant on Caroline St. It has a couple of large outdoor patios with live music in the evenings. Passable food - including some pretty good catfish tacos and KC style ribs of all things. However, house policy is that they absolutely will not serve you tap water. You must have ($2.50) bottled Saratoga Water or nothing!

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