The Frugal Forager: Sutton’s delivers on promise of hearty breakfast
QUEENSBURY Lake George was jammed. Cars crawled through the village dodging jaywalkers hustling toddlers through traffic. On a sunny weekend morning, tourists crowded the sidewalks as family-friendly venues vied for their business. Husband Eric and I were glad to be heading out of town to meet his brother and sister-in-law.
In contrast, Sutton’s Marketplace & Country Cafe was a peaceful oasis. It’s a small, country-style empire on Route 9, selling handsome furniture, stylish clothing and gifts, baked goods and probably more, but I couldn’t take it all in at once.
On the patio, there’s plenty of elbow room between tables. Coffee came immediately, and the light breeze that levitated the empty sugar packets kept us cool. It was the antithesis of the crowded village. We relaxed and read the menu while Helene filled me in on some news: Native and celebrity Rachael Ray featured Sutton’s Country Cafe on a Food Network program.
The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch with simple menus and a few specials for each. The restaurant gets its eggs from a farm in Schuylerville and bakes its own bread, the menu said, so I knew it was going to be good. And it was.
Doughnuts for openers
Helene ordered us a basket of cinnamon-sugar coated apple cider doughnuts ($3.95) to enjoy while we waited for breakfast. Six doughnuts in a paper-lined plastic basket soon arrived and were passed around the table to an appreciative crowd. They were light, a bit crispy at the perimeter and very fresh. Sutton’s cider doughnuts are the lightest I’ve tasted, leading me to think they have fewer calories. Never mind, each one was worth it.
Eric ordered two scrambled eggs with two sausage patties ($6.95) from Oscar’s Smoke House, just up the road. The eggs were as good as expected and cooked in butter, just like we make them at home. At Sutton’s, you have a choice of hash browns and toast on the side or three pancakes. “I really like having pancakes as an option,” said Eric, scarfing them down. The sausage was good, but not outstanding, he said.
Helene loves Sutton’s corned beef hash ($6.75) even though she doesn’t even like corned beef. Their version of the hash is crumbly, smooth with mashed potatoes and a bit salty, delicious. The accompanying fried eggs were cooked just right, their runny yolks more orange than yellow, the best you can get.
I ordered rye toast, as did Helene, and it arrived on one plate. It’s made in a loaf pan and sliced thick; it’s light and full of caraway seeds, and it was soaked in places with melted butter. I’m afraid I ate most of it, although the vegetarian omelet ($9.95) I was enjoying was outstanding.
You won’t find Sutton’s vegetarian omelet in the healthy section of the menu because it’s filled and topped with melted cheddar cheese. The tiny, bright green broccoli crowns were cooked exactly long enough, something I never seem able to do. I liked the sliced mushrooms and bits of fresh, not-quite-ready tomato. It was like eating a bunch of tasty vegetables held together with scrambled egg; more about the fresh vegetables than the egg. Delicious, and I ate the whole thing.
Sutton’s incarnation of hash browns is much better than most. They use small potatoes cut into chunks and cook them until they’re actually brown, an important step that nonetheless eludes most restaurants. I left most of them, though, in favor of the omelet and toast.
Richard ordered pancakes with his ham and cheese omelet ($9.25) like his brother Eric, and finished them off just as efficiently. The omelet was browned in places while the cook waited for the cheese to melt, which I don’t mind, and it was puffy and gorgeous. Richard commented that it had more filling than most omelets, as I’d found with mine.
The dishes were cleared except for mine. I reluctantly handed the last of the rye toast to the server, who, by the way, was friendly and performed perfectly during our meal, remembering to top up coffees and checking to see that everything was satisfactory. Her pleasant demeanor and professional service made a good meal that much better.
The tab for breakfast for four people with coffee and orange juice, came to $54.15, before tip. We were all more than satisfied with our meals, and left in good spirits, in the opposite direction of Lake George.