Bring the kids for a wholesome round of miniature golf at the Pirate’s Hide-Out, conveniently situated off Route 9 in southern Saratoga County and, when you go, you’ll find there’s a pleasant, inexpensive restaurant on the premises that serves food that even the adults will enjoy.
Pirate’s Hide-Out Restaurant
WHERE: 175 Guideboard Road, Halfmoon. Phone 373-8438
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, hours subject to change
HOW MUCH: $21.74
MORE INFO: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover. Wheelchair accessible. Children’s menu.
Pirate’s Hide-Out is open for the season, seven days a week, with a staff of lively young girls in pink T-shirts and baseball caps who run between the take-away windows and the counter.
The restaurant is spotless in the way only a new building can be, and the decor is subdued, even tasteful. There isn’t a pirate to be seen. One half of the simple wood frame building is devoted to take-away business and counter service; the other is a bright, pleasant seating area with comfortable leather-upholstered chairs and granite tabletops.
My companion, Mom, and I think that the exotic plants in the glass vases won’t last too long with small buccaneers running around, but it’s quite a pleasant spot for adults, if a bit noisy from the reverberations of sound off the stone floor and high ceilings.
Two things on the menu caught Mom’s eye: the advice to the diner, in capital letters, to save room for ice cream, and an allergy alert that the restaurant cooks with peanut oil, a superior oil for cooking french fries. With happy anticipation, she put in her order at the counter.
Now, some of the polite young staff are less experienced, as you might expect at the outset of the season, but there are capable ones around to help them out. And a smile goes a long way when someone goofs up. These are very nice girls.
At Pirate’s Hide-Out, you can get burgers, sandwiches and wraps, a few specialty items, and even a choice of green salads. You can afford to bring the family, as the kid’s menu offers grilled cheese, hot dogs or chicken tenders for as little $1.99. A panini sandwich with fries goes for $7.95. A quarter-pound cheeseburger, a la carte, is $3.39.
We were offered cups with ice and lemon slices to accompany our cans of diet Coke, and the food was delivered to our table within a few minutes. Mom eyed her fish and chips ($8.99) approvingly, and dug in. The batter on the fish was just thin enough, she said, and the two pieces of cod were crisp and tasty. The salty french fries still had their skins on but didn’t need that to remind you they were made there from fresh potatoes. She recommended this meal highly.
“Is your soup homemade?” I asked, when I ordered the cup of soup and half panini sandwich ($5.99). The girl at the counter hesitated, and replied: “No, but it’s very good.” She was right. You could have fooled me, because the tomato basil soup tasted fresh, with its abundance of tomato chunks and bits of basil. I marveled at the package of saltine crackers, the first intact ones I’ve had in recent memory.
Our food came in cardboard boats on sheets of translucent paper, and as I lifted up my sandwich half, the paper was no longer committed to the boat. After trying to reconcile them, I tossed the paper out and was able to focus on the sandwich.
The grill is hot, the sandwich is packed with meat and melty stuff, and it’s probably not the thing to do, but every panini sandwich I’ve ever had would be improved if both sides were slathered in butter before they hit the pan.
This one was a bit dry, and came undone, two problems that could have been avoided had there been another slice of cheese or two. The ham was tasty, and the sandwich was satisfying, so I’m not complaining, because at the price it was a good meal.
One of the girls came by to see that everything was to our liking when a family with two small children came into the restaurant. “Ooh,” said the mom, “This is nice.” Other couples were there for food, not miniature golf, as far as I could tell, and ice-cream lovers kept the business at the windows brisk on that warm evening.
While Mom enjoyed a medium-sized soft ice cream twist cone ($2.84 plus tax) I finished off the french fries. You should know that the cones are generously proportioned, so order a size smaller than you want: Mom estimated her cone weighed almost a pound. Despite her protests, she polished it off without any trouble because, as she said, it was so good.
As we wandered outside to the car, we admired the neatly trimmed grass and bright annuals, and the pleasant seating area near the restaurant where adults can supervise their offspring from a safe distance in a comfortable chair. We concluded that, for many reasons, Pirate’s Hide-Out is really a nice place to find yourself on a warm summer evening in upstate New York.
The tab for our meal came to $21.74.