A very traditional American menu, well done
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Longfellow’s Inn and Restaurant is a popular and attractive venue for weddings and other large gatherings. They produce high quality food that everyone likes for events and, as my friend Lisa and I discovered, also in their restaurant.
If you like a restaurant with white tablecloths without surprises and a very traditional American menu, then Longfellow’s is for you. They do it well.
The restaurant is in a barn-like building, divided into open and staggered levels. It’s beautiful, well managed and a bit formal.
Lisa and I had been assessed by the hostesses and deemed fit to climb several stairs to the highest dining room, with its bird’s eye view.
It was a bit bewildering looking at people’s heads and plates from our seats, but we forgot about it soon enough as our extremely attentive and enthusiastic waiter got things going immediately. Before we knew it, she had come down and up the stairs with drinks and menus and she kept that pace throughout dinner.
The menu online is different from what we saw at the restaurant, but for what it’s worth, it lists seasonal and interesting entrees, like Caprese Watermelon Salad ($ 12). The starters are very traditional; local: grilled, roasted, braised and salad beef, Cornish game; and sea: Mahi mahi and lobster, bourbon salmon, pan-fried Ahi tuna, fried seafood platter. The prices are about right for this kind of upscale establishment, the eggplant roulade is $ 19, the most expensive is the beef tournades with shrimp, $ 32. Salads not included.
There are meal-sized salads and burgers. You will find wings ($ 12) on the bar menu.
Either way, we ordered from the special paper menu while I sipped a delicious glass of Napa Valley Flint & Steel Sauvignon Blanc. Lisa ordered a prix fixe meal ($ 24 for three courses, available Sunday through Friday 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and I chose the dish of the day, the Tour of Italy.
Lisa started with the Soup of the Day, a chicken-based chowder that she called “Amazing and Hearty”, with corn, carrots, tomatoes, celery and lots of chicken and noodles. “Tons of stuff,” she said, and “very tasty.”
The house salad ($ 6) was fresh but the vegetables and croutons were too big to eat easily. The house’s white wine balsamic vinaigrette is very good, with a nice hint of garlic.
Lisa dipped the cucumber slices in the dressing and gave it high marks as well.
The Tour of Italy Platter ($ 25), with chicken, eggplant roulade and prawn scampi, all served over al dente spaghetti, offers a window into what’s going on in the kitchen. The shrimp were perfectly cooked and seasoned, with lots of garlic in a balanced sauce. Two breaded and fried eggplant rolls were stuffed with ricotta and marinara sauce, topped with melted and nicely puffed mozzarella, all good, but the breadcrumbs tasted slightly sweet which ruined everything.
Lisa agreed. “They need someone’s Italian mother in the kitchen,” she observed. Like hers, maybe.
I had to agree, especially on the last component of the dish; the boneless grilled chicken breast, very well cooked with an Italian marinade, is a bit further from Italy than even the Italian-American cuisine we’re used to. The garlic bread was made with what looked a lot like a sliced bun.
As an assessment of the cuisine, the Tour of Italy was perfectly executed and reflected a desire to produce more user-friendly dishes. Which is good, just so you know what you are getting.
Lisa’s starter was fairer, roast turkey with all the trimmings, something a lot of people would like. The sliced white turkey meat was moist, the mashed potatoes smooth and garlic, and the stuffing dense and a little crumbly. She liked the herb-flavored sauce.
The sautéed yellow and green squash were a welcome reminder of summer, and all the cranberry sauce topped it off. We agreed that the prix fixe menu is a great deal for the price.
We shared her dessert, baked apple chips with hot baked sweet apple slices that quickly melted the vanilla ice cream. There was a lot of whipped cream and it was nicely finished with a caramel sauce. It was more than enough for two, especially after a big meal.
The bill for food, before taxes and tip, was $ 55.
You won’t find any challenges or surprises at Longfellow Restaurant, but you will find great food and service that will appeal to almost anyone.
Longfellow hotel, restaurant and conference center
O: 500 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs, 518 587-0108, www.longfellows.com/restaurant
WHEN: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $ 67.85 for food, with tax and tip
MORE INFO: Credit cards: Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover. Children’s menu available. Reservations accepted. ADA Compliant.
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Categories: Food, Life and the Arts