what??? oh, we showed up at happy hour at the wine bar on the main drag in saratoga springs, ny back in early october. the bar was packed. we ordered a glass of wine each (not whiney! wine each!!!) only $5 until 600 pm - santa julian malbec (organic, big, fruity, spicy) and a calcada vinho verde (citrusy, light, slightly slightly bubbly, refreshing). there were 6 specialty cocktails, 11 beers $4 each with a few NY bottles, and "well drinks" (probably these won't make you sick if you drink too much) just $8. nice happy hour!!! OH and lots of bottles to choose from ranging from $28 to $408/bottle (with plenty riding $50-60).
|CUTE ENTRYWAY. THERE'S A CIGAR BAR DOWNSTAIRS|
HUH??? WHA? Pardon??? yeah - right on: $6 apps!!! included rock shrimp with garlic chilies, mussels with Harissa broth and grilled artichokes. hard to decide. no i'm not trying to hide!!! We shared an olive tapenade with warm pita ($7) - buttery and satisfying, nothing fancy there, no lemons or capers, simplicity itself. itself i said, not it's an elf. sheesh. as we nibbled we admired the lovely view of the street, the clean, neutral decor and the hipster crowd, mostly locals. very friendly and chatty.... oh i ordered more wine - mud house sauvignon blanc 2014 from new zealand - delicious, cool and citrusy ($10).
|LAID BACK LAUGHTER AND CHATTER FILLED THE AIR. A VERY FRIENDLY SCENE.|
anyway, the menu isn't extensive but to me that speaks volumes about controlling the quality of food coming out of the kitchen. specials included a pan roasted salmon with porcini mushroom risotto ($24), Moroccan chicken with a fall vegetable tangine (also $24) and a rack of lamb, with turnip mashed and brussels sprouts ($15 for a half and $32 for a full rack).
|THE OLIVE TAPENADE WITH PITA WAS THE PERFECT START TO OUR MEAL|
I loved my swordfish wrapped in grape leaves - earthy with lots of rosemary ($14 for the small serving). no i didn't say i'm the rose fairy i said rosemary. The plate was finished with a nice contrasting and gentle taste and texture of giant beans, a home pickled caperberry, wheatberries?, and grilled lemon. the flavors were strong - not for the meek of heart or mere mortals, interesting, challenging even.
|SWORDFISH WRAPPED IN GRAPE LEAVES|
ff loved her crispy duck leg confit ($25 for 2 legs), with NICE CRUNCHY skin, served with sweet potato and chorizo. the sausage overwhelmed the sublime flavor of the tender dark meet fowl, but it was still an excellent plate.
met the chef... the chef... no i'm not deaf! i said the chef... and hugged him. it was good. I also liked our waitress - she asked "how is everything tasting?" wonderful!!!
but the ambiance was kind of loud except for that slight lull between happy hour and the after dinner party crowd. at 740 they even cranked the tunes. hence zena does all caps for this review. when i yelped the wine bar yelp for some funny reason removed all the caps. that was very calming.
DINNER WITH TWO ENTREES, 2 WINE SPECIALS, 2 MORE GLASSES OF WINE BECAUSE, TEA AND TAPENADE $84.53 PLUS TIP. A WARM AND WONDERFUL NIGHT OUT WITH A GREAT FRIEND. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FF!!!
ZENa, goddess of fire